The top phrase in 2008 was "financial tsunami," says Paul J.J. Payack, president of The Global Language Monitor, an Austin, Texas, company that uses a proprietary algorithm to track words and phrases in the media and on the Internet. The words, Payack says, are tracked in relation to frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media outlets, factoring in long-term trends, short-term changes, momentum and velocity.
Using those standards, the U.S. presidential election, the global financial crisis and the Beijing Olympics were the drivers behind most of the top words, phrases and names this year.
Other word in the top 10 list included "bailout," "Obamamania," "greenwashing," "surge," "derivative" and "subprime," while other names on the list included George W. Bush, Michael Phelps, Hilary Clinton, Vladimir Putin, Bono, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Sarah Palin.
The Global Language Monitor says other top phrases included "global warming, "yes we can," "lame duck," "working class whites," "it is what it is" and "lip syncing."