‘Spillcam,’ ’vuvuzela’ declared top words of 2010


Reuters | Nov 15, 2010 | 7:54am IST

"Spillcam" and "vuvuzela" were the top words of 2010, reflecting the global impact of the months-long oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the noisy South African horns at the World Cup soccer tournament, according to a survey released on Sunday. "Refudiate — a word coined by U.S. politician Sarah Palin in a cross between refute and repudiate — also made the top 10, according to the annual Global Language Monitor survey.

vuvuzela1The Texas-based survey uses a math formula to track the frequency of words and phrases in the English-speaking world of more than 1.58 billion people.

It declared that President Hu Jintao of China and Apple’s new iPad were the two top names of the year on a list that also featured "Chilean Coal Miners", reflecting the worldwide fascination with televised rescue in October of 33 men trapped deep in a mine. "Anger and rage" among political voters from the United States to Greece was deemed the most popular phrase of 2010. "Obamania", one of the biggest phrases of the past two years, ranked in 10th place.

"Our top words this year come from an environmental disaster, the World Cup, political malapropisms, news sense to ancient words, a booming economic colossus and a heroic rescue that captivated the world for days on end," said Paul JJ Payack, president of Global Language Monitor.

Spillcam became a household phrase describing the live video of the ruptured sea well in the Gulf Of Mexico that earlier this year led to the world’s biggest offshore oil spill. Vuvuzela — the bright colored plastic horns with a monotonous droning sound became the hallmark of the World Cup soccer tournament in South Africa. They were later banned from European soccer competitions like the UEFA Champions League.

In politics, Tea Party — the U.S. grass-roots political movement — made both the 2010 top phrases and top names list, while "Man up!" — a signature retort from U.S. political women to their male opponents, made its first entry. Pop singer Lady Gaga, 3D (as in movies), the "great recession," MTV reality show "Jersey Shore" and its Italian-American young Guidos and Guidettes also made the 2010 list.

Last year’s top words were Twitter, Obama and the flu virus H1N1.

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