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World gets techie: Web 2.0 crowned 1 millionth English word

Other tech words -- including cloud computing, defriending and noob -- just miss the honor

June 10, 2009 04:35 PM ET

Computerworld - There are a lot of really great words in the English language. Meaningful words. Age-old words. And some words that are just fun to say.

Quotidian. Fandango. Lugubrious. And of course... chocolate.

And with all these great words, who would have suspected that the one millionth word or phrase to be added to the language that has more words than any other would be ... Web 2.0?

But it's true. According to Global Language Monitor, an Austin, Texas-based global language tracker, Web 2.0 today became the one millionth word or phrase in the English language. In a statement on its Web site, Global Language Monitor said that the term Web 2.0 has crossed from from technical jargon to everyday usage over the past six months.

Web 2.0, as techies know, is a term generally considered to mean the second-generation of the Web - a more social, user-centric Web made up of wikiis, blogs, photo sharing sites and social networks.

And now, as social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter gain mainstream momentum and capture well-known users like actor Ashton Kusher, media phenom Oprah Winfrey and even President Barack Obama, it seems the term Web 2.0 has gone mainstream as well.

Global Language Monitor reports that the English language generates a new word every 98 minutes, or 14.7 new words a day.

And it looks like words from the tech world are increasingly added to the list.

Other words that were just added to the list but just missed becoming the official one millionth word include: noob, which means a newbie in the gaming community; defriending, which means to cut off a social networking friend; sexting, which means sending email or texts with sexual content; and cloud computing, where users access services over the Internet.

All of these words met Global Language Monitor's criteria of a "minimum of 25,000 citations with the necessary breadth of geographic distribution, and depth of citations".

"As expected, English crossed the 1,000,000 word threshold on June 10, 2009 at 10:22 am GMT," said Paul Payack, president and chief word analyst of the Global Language Monitor, in a statement. "However, some 400 years after the death of the Bard, the words and phrases were coined far from Stratford-Upon-Avon, emerging instead from Silicon Valley, India, China, and Poland, as well as Australia, Canada, the U.S. and the UK. English has become a universal means of communication; never before have so many people been able to communicate so easily with so many others."

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