The organization, which analyzes language trends online and in periodicals, said its 13th annual global survey of the English language resulted in "apocalypse" being dubbed the year's top word, followed by "deficit," "Olympiad," "bak'tun" -- a cycle of 144,000 days in the ancient Mayan calendar -- and "meme," a word meaning a repeated idea, usually applying to online humor.
"Apocalypse (Armageddon, and similar terms) reflects a growing fascination with various 'end-of-the-world' scenarios, or at least the end of life as we know it. This year the Mayan Apocalypse was well noted, but some eight of the top (20) words and phrases were directly related to a sense of impending doom." said Paul JJ Payack, president of the Global Language Monitor.
The top phrases of the year, the organization's analysis indicated, were "Gangnam Style," a song by South Korean artist PSY that became YouTube's most-watched video; "global warming," which had the No. 1 spot for the first decade of the century; "fiscal cliff," referring to tax increases and spending cuts some fear will throw the Unites States back into economic recession; "the deficit," referring to the difference between the money the government makes and the cash it brings in; and "God particle," the Higgs-Boson scientists have been seeking that could provide compelling evidence for string theory.
The Word of the Year rankings are based on usage, requiring at least 25,000 citations and appearances in various types of media around the world.