Top Ten Words List, 2010

Thoughts on What the Top Ten Words List will be for 2011

Top ten lists of this that and the other dominate the airwaves as fast, interesting reading material, but have you ever heard of the Top Ten Words List?  Have you ever wondered what the top ten list of words looked up in a dictionary might be?  The dictionary legends at Merriam-Webster, Inc. make a list every year of the Top Ten Words of the Year.  These were the words moTop Ten Words Listst searched for in the dictionary.  Examining the list provides interesting food for thought.  The Top Ten Words list  tells a tale of what is on the minds of those perusing the reference pages.  Perhaps a way exists to use this popular list for a unique New Year’s Eve party.  Note that the Top Ten Words lists come out after December to denote a calendar year.  Therefore the most current Top Ten Words  list is that for 2010.

The Top Ten Words of the Year for 2010

Here are the words at a glance:

  1. austerity
  2. pragmatic
  3. moratorium
  4. socialism
  5. bigot
  6. Doppelganger
  7. shellacking
  8. ebullient
  9. dissident
  10. furtive

Pondering the Top Ten Words List

Austerity: Think about 2010 with the myriad of declining economic conditions.  The top search word, austerity, can mean living basically and without luxuries.   Enough said on that one!  Clearly the list provides a spotlight into things of importance to people in current events.
Pragmatic:  The word pragmatic refers to that person or idea concerned with practical and not intellectual or artistic matters.  Wow, has the economy taught many pragmatism indeed.
Moratorium:  Moratorium tells of a waiting period or period of suspension of activity set by an authority. Budgets and constraints certainly have called for a moratorium on a few things.
Socialism:  Think to all the talks in 2010 and 2011 of health care and government controls.  This one references various economic and political theories that purport government ownership and control on production and distribution of goods.   Well, each person will have to make their own mind up on where that one fits in the news.
Bigot:  A bigot is a person who is intolerant of others, particularly but not limited towards certain racial or ethnic groups.  This person typically will not listen to any opinions that differ from his or her own. This is a sad one, albeit in the news in some forms often.
Doppelganger: A person with the same name as another is a doppelgänger.  Another reference is to the ghostly counterpart of a living person. 
Shellacking:  This Top Ten List word refers to severe defeat such as in a sporting game.  I will bet that search followed  a few sports turnovers!  Note that of course, this word can also refer to coating an object with the paint-like substance, shellac. 
Ebullient:  This lively word can go several ways. The word references something or someone who is boiling mad or agitated.  On a positive note, the word can also be used to denote liveliness and enthusiasm.  I would say daily news has a bit of focus on both forms of that word.
Dissident:  This serious word denotes disagreeing with an opinion or a group. Protesters in the news continue to tell that story.
Furtive:   When something transpires in a sneaky or underhanded way, this word fits the bill for use.  I wouldn’t touch that one with a ten foot pole as the cliché would say!

Way to Use the Top Ten Words, 2010  List

Complete lists of the Top Ten List for every year are found online.  Will not it be interesting to see what the Top Ten Words for 2011 give as a continued ‘show and tell’ of the year 2011 in review?  Speaking of 2011, New Year’s Eve will be here before we know it!  A fun activity or two could be at hand using these words.  A suggestion is to do the activities early on before libations take center stage!

Activity Suggestions for Top Ten Words List 2010

  1. Give each participant a list of the Top Ten Words list along with their definitions.  Then, in pairs or small teams, act out a word of choice as a game of charades.   What a way to usher out 2011 and welcome in 2012!  How much would you want to bet that  the folks there look up the 2012 list when available?
  2. Give each participant a list of the words and their definitions and let them look at them for just a few minutes.  Take the lists back up.  With a large chart tablet or chalkboard, play a game of Hangman.  Play in two teams and call it ‘Hang it up, 2010!’ The team first identifying the word each time gets a point.  Play through all ten words.  Party goers will leave a bit smarter than they arrived!
  3. Give each participant a list of the words and their definitions and let them look at them for just a few minutes.  Take the lists back up.  Make a list of the words on separate pieces of paper, but with the words scrambled and in a different order from the list with the definitions included.  Participants can work in pairs or small groups.  Give prizes for the first teams to get all the words  back into their correct spelling.

    OK, enough of the brainy games, let the libations begin at that New Year’s Eve party, and make use of the Top Ten Word List!  Goodbye 2010 words and hello 2011 words!  Goodbye 2011 and welcome 2012!