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Top 20 Searches for 2013 Include '404' and 'Fail'

November 20, 2013

The Star

typing word searches
The top 20 Internet word searches for 2013 included

The web has been a negative place over the past year. According to research from The Global Language Monitor (GLM), the most commonly used word across the whole of the web this year was 404, which refers to an online technical error code.

The word "fail" came in second place and was followed by words including "surveillance", "drone" and "deficit".

Texas-based GLM's Word of the Year rankings are based on how many times certain words, phrases and names were used online throughout English-speaking countries. To make the list, a word had to have been used a minimum of 25 000 times, appeared in various forms of media, and not be specific to a particular country, profession or social group.

Its NarrativeTracker technology scans blogs, social media and news sites from the leading 275 000 print and electronic worldwide magazines and newspapers.

In the 14th annual global survey, GLM listed the error code "404" as the top word. This number appears when a user clicks a link or tries to access a site that is not available. It can appear when a story is taken down or if a page can't load. This was often used in conjunction with second-place word "fail".

The rest of the top 20 list was dominated by tech-based words including "hashtag" and "@pontifex"- the Twitter handle for the Pope.

The pope was also the most commonly used name across the web in the past year.

Other common tech words included "nano", referring to nanotechnology, or technology that works with items on an atomic and molecular level, and "meme" relating to internet memes.

The top phrase this year was "Toxic Politics" - a term used for political campaigns that attempt to "scorch and burn" the opponents.

"404 has gained enormous attention across the world this year as systems in place since World War II, which many see as the beginning of the contemporary era, are in distress or even failure," said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of the Global Language Monitor.

"The recent ObamaCare launch debacle in the US is only a representative example of a much wider system fail, from the political deadlock in the US government to the decline of the dollar, to the global web of intrigue and surveillance by the NSA, to the uncertainty regarding the European Union, and the on-going integration of China and other rising powers such as India and Brazil into the global economic system.

"Our top words, phrases and names this year represent some five continents, which continues to confirm the ever-expanding nature of the English language."

GLM also looked at the top words of the decade, these came out as "global warming", "9/11", "evacuee" , "derivative", "google", "surge", "chinglish" and "tsunami".

"Climate change" was top phrase while "Heroes" was the top name. - Daily Mail


1. 404

2. Fail

3. Hashtag

4. @Pontifex

5. The Optic

6. Surveillance

7. Drones

8. Deficit

9. Sequestration

10. Emancipate

11. Filibuster

12. Nano

13. Twerking

14. Deadlock

15. Franken

16. Meme

17. Stalemate

18. The Cloud

19. Phony

20. Comet


1. Toxic politics

2. Federal shutdown

3. Global warming/ climate change

4. Federal deficit

5. Tread lightly

6. Boston strong

7. Marathon bombing

8. Chemical weapons

9. All time high

10. Rogue nukes

11. Near-Earth asteroid

12. Arab Spring

13. Solar max

14. Big data

15. ethical/sustainable


1. Pope Francis

2. ObamaCare

3. NSA - The National Security Agency

4. Ed Snowden

5. Kate Middleton

6. IRS, the Internal Revenue Service in US

7. Ted Cruz, Tea Party supporter and Texas senator

8. Chris Christie, the Governor of New Jersey

9. Tea Party

10. Marathon Bombers

11. Malala Yousafzai - The Pakistani girl shot by terrorists

12. Xi Jinping, China's leader

13. President Obama

14. Hassan Rouhani, the newly elected president of Iran.

15. Sochi Olympics - |The Olympic Winter Games taking place in February 2014, in Sochi, Russia.

The Star

(c) 2013 Independent Newspapers (Pty) Limited. All rights strictly reserved. Provided by an company

Original headline: The top 20 words of 2013

For more stories covering the world of technology, please see HispanicBusiness' Tech Channel

Source: (c) 2013 Independent Newspapers (Pty) Limited. All rights strictly reserved. Provided by an company

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