Top-searched words in 2009 at

Drumroll, please…  We still have no idea what the difference is between “affect” and “effect.”  Seriously!  According to, the top 10 most-searched words in 2009 were:

1. Affect

2. Ubiquitous

3. Irony

4. Socialism

5. Effect

6. Melancholy

7. Love

8. Integrity

9. Nostalgic

10. Pedantic

I will be the first to admit to having had a lively discussion in our own newsroom about affect/effect.  We’ve all fallen victim to that one once or twice.

The only real interesting reflection of our culture in 2009 has to be #4.  Apparently we were all looking that one up to see if others were using it properly?  What term in 2009 was thrown around more casually than “socialism?” There had to be a few looking it up just to see if it fit their rhetoric.  And so, 2009 was the year we learned the definition of socialism.  Or tried to, anyway.

On that note, the top decliners of 2009 were:

1. Bush

2. Maverick

3. Solace

4. Liberal

5. Obsequious

6. Rhetoric

7. Superfluous

8. Condescending

9. Cynical

10. Ostentatious

Apparently the abuse of “maverick” stopped in 2009.  I think we all know who we can credit that too…and she was probably responsible for putting “socialism” at #4 in the first list.  So what did we want more of in 2009?  Greed! users needed a new word for it, and “esurient” was the one. Twitter made it in at #10 on the list of 2009 gainers in an obvious nod to the growth of the social networking site.  I honestly have no idea how “namaste” made it onto the list unless yoga had a boom in popularity this year too.

Top Gainers of 2009:

1. Esurient

2. Impeded

3. Shuddering

4. Fugacious

5. Suffering

6. Negative

7. Namaste

8. Adjuvant

9. Callipygian

10. Twitter

I am surprised to see that words like “furlough” and “bailout” didn’t make the list.  But most of us know the meaning of those all too well.

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