It turns out that the most popular word of 2014 wasn’t actually a word at all.
According to a new list by the Global Language Monitor, the heart emoji was the most commonly used word in the English language this year.
GLM analysed social media, blogs, and 275,000 print and electronic publications to determine its ranking.
Words had to be used at least 25,000 times globally to qualify for the list. They also had to be used across industries and in several different forms of media.
The heart emoji was used billions of times a day around the globe. It was the first time in the ranking’s 15-year history that a symbol earned the top honours.
“Hashtag” came in second, and “vape” was third.
Of course, words like “the” were used way more frequently than some of the words on the list, but Paul JJ Payack, the founder of GLM, told Business Insider last year that GLM’s rankings “distilled words that impact language in the news and global discussion.”
Last’s year’s top word was also not technically a word; it was 404″ — as in the error message that appears when a web page can’t load.
The Top Words of 2014
1. The Heart ♥ Emoji (for love) — People usually use the heart emoji to express love or warm feelings.
— A repurposed pound sign, still powerful thanks to Twitter and Instagram.
3. Vape — Short for vaporize, or vaping, the act of smoking an electronic or e-cigarette.
4. Blood Moon — Four total eclipses of the moon in an eighteen-month span. Some Christians see it as presaging a lunar apocalypse.
5. Nano — From Greek for dwarf, small; now 1 billionth of a meter. It’s used in any number of words surrounding nano technology.
6. Photobomb — Breaking into a photograph without permission.
7. Caliphate — A land ruled by an Islamic Caliph, typically governed under Sharia Law.
8. Privilege — The alleged advantages of having lighter coloured skin in a diverse society.
9. Bae — A millennial’s term of endearment.
10. “Bash” Tag — Co-opting a brand’s hashtag to undermine it.
11. Transparency — A state of openness, usually used in reference to the government.
12. Sustainable — Environmentally conscious lifestyle choices.
13. Clickbait — A link structured so that you just have to click on it.
14. Quindecennial — Fifteen-year anniversary of an event.
15. Comet — Comet 67p had a visitor from the Rosetta Spacecraft this fall.
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