The Washington Times - November 6, 2013, 09:39AM

The Global Language Monitor has declared that “404” is their official “Word of the Year.” The Austin-based research group determined the winner based on frequency of actual usage, using computer-aided tracking of some 275,000 print, electronic and social media sources.

Yes well. The numbers-only designation appeared a lot recently at the Obamacare website, but we already know all that.


“404 is the near-universal numeric code for failure on the global Internet, augmenting its original use as ‘page not found’ ” explains chief analyst Paul JJ Payack. “The recent ObamaCare launch debacle in the US is only a representative example of a much wider system fail.”

And rounding out the top-five words of the year after 404, in second place, it’s “fail”, a single word often used as a complete sentence (Fail!) to signify failure of an effort, project, or endeavor”, Mr. Payack says.

“Hashtag” is third, designating the number or pound sign reborn as the all-powerful Twitter hashtag.

In fourth place, speaking of hashtags, is @Pontifex, the actual hashtag of the ever-more popular Pope Francis. And in fifth place, it’s “optic”, which the analyst says is threatening to overtake the “narrative” - just as the narrative overtook the phrase rational discourse.

“This does not bode well for an informed political discussion,” Mr. Payack says.

Interestingly enough, “toxic politics” was the phrase of the year, while Pope Francis was the name of the year.