The Words We Speak – Power Rankings Week 1

Basic grammatical structures claim 3 spots; Fascism and Racism mar the list

It’s here! Whether you like it or not, want it or not, care about it or not, the 2020 Presidential Campaign has unofficially kicked off this season of Words. That means it is also time for us to unveil our Top 25 Words Rankings for Week 1 which are driving the national and international narrative.

Our rankings are sourced from the top 25 words of the week as of 18 June, 2019 on the Unabridged Merriam Webster’s Online Dictionary.

There is no question that we will experience a wild season of Words thanks to the even wilder happenings of the world around us. What are people pining to find in the dictionary? We think each and every Word Rankings will be telling of what people are thinking and talking about.

Here’s a quick look at the top 25:

1. noun
2. adjective
3. culture
4. existential
5. communication
6. sedulous
7. faraway
8. auspice
9. waltz
10. convoke
11. peruse
12. fascism
13. cadence
14. verb
15. absolve
16. socialism
17. father
18. love
19. science
20. rape
21. family
22. transitive
23. physical education
24. racism
25. ethic

Let’s break them down:

1 Noun

Leading the pre-season power rankings is a word that itself describes other types of words. Noun has a strong advantage over other top 25 words since it accounts for up to 700,000 words in the English language. One can’t help wonder why or how this veteran class of words can be leading the charts at such a late stage in its own existence. Noun’s strong presence in the charts may be attributed to the weakening of grammar skills across the country.

2 Adjective

Like Noun, we are impressed with Adjective’s high ranking in the pre-season poll. Often confused with long-time rival Adverb, Adjective certainly can produce a colourful array of descriptions for itself, making it one of the strongest-willed contenders this year. We again wonder how this wonderful, aged, and versatile class of words ranks so high.

3 Culture

Culture can thank the divisive nature of its iterations across the world for its number three ranking. Whether social and political agents are “losing the culture” or “changing the culture” in their respective competitive fields across the world, Culture can rest confidently knowing that its success this season will be in part propelled by a volatile arena.

4 Existential

Riding the coattails, both figuratively and in this poll, of Culture is Existential. Ironically, Existential had to question its own existence in the rankings a few years ago before various factors out of its control put this word back, in due time, in place on the charts. If it can continue to capitalize on its intrusive play in constitutional discussions, Existential is here to stay for a long, long, long time.

5 Communication

Communication quietly made its way to number 5 in the rankings without a peep, and we can’t figure out how or why. What may be helping Communication is its favourable position for SEO-hungry, and literally hungry, bloggers looking to make a quick buck on ad revenue by with posts such as “5 Ways to Improve Communication with Your Estranged Spouse.”

6 Sedulous

What can we say about Sedulous? The mysterious word kept its nose to the grinder and pursued a steady and consistent work habit to reach where it is today. Will it remain in the top 10 this season? Hard to tell, but it certainly has the mindset to do so, even if the casual fan has not heard of it.

7 Faraway

No one saw this coming, and if you say you did, you’re lying. Faraway reaches the top 10 thanks to the perfect storm the release of a new hit single named after it in the past week. Don’t expect for Faraway to stay anywhere near the top of the polls, even if at all, in the future.

8 Auspice

Keep your eyes out on this one: Auspice may prove to be a contender this season. It has smartly positioned itself in talks between distrusting world powers and abusive dyads across the world. If it can continue to play this kind of game, Auspice can threaten as a dark horse to poll leaders.

9 Waltz

Holy Shostakovich! Waltz has swept its way into the top 10! We have been seeing some clever play as of late from Waltz’s deep line-up of famous German actor surnames and majestic come-from-behind sports victory verbiage. A continual favourite from the Classical Dances Conference, Waltz can step in-tune with the best words in this list.

10 Convoke

Another surprising entry in this week’s poll, Convoke has found itself at the caboose of the top 10. We will have to see how Convoke competes later in the season. Until then, we will adjourn our speculation until further notice.

11 Peruse

We had to search long and hard to find out how Peruse made the list, especially at just a nudge outside the top 10. We gathered that Peruse’s use per most travel and shopping websites provided the word with an impressive opening position.

12 Fascism

We thought Fascism’s time to even sniff the top 25 was long over, but it can’t seem to be put down. Whether for purposes of historical studies or for wildly overvalued, overused insult, Fascism will be sticking its nose in the competition this season, we suspect.

13 Cadence

Timing is everything. Cadence earns a respectable number 13 position with the announcement of a popular video game franchise crossing over with another popular franchise. Well played. However, we are afraid Cadence won’t be able to maintain the rhythm to stay in the conversation.

14 Verb

Three contenders from the class of words in the top 25 is either impressive on behalf of its members, or is further evidence that society’s overall grip on language of any kind is waning. Either way, Verb did well to act on the moment to enter the top 25.

15 Absolve

A solid player from the legal terms world, Absolve is justified to be in this Week 1 list because of its positioning behind bringing-news-cycles-to-a-grinding-halt investigations on reports and other worldwide legal rulings. We think Absolve will be a nuisance to other words at the onset of the season.

16 Socialism

Socialism is a crafty player. It also owns some of the best PR management in the dictionary. We expect Socialism to start off strong as it does on every new cycle, but it will ultimately run out of steam and get bogged down by its inability to shed its ties with Communism or its misunderstood relations with Democratic. As the pundit Dennis Miller says: “Socialism is like a nude beach – it’s a great idea until you get there.”

17 Father

We respect this word and all that it has done for humankind across the globe. However, we know that Father’s surge into the poll is a result of the celebration of its own holiday. Question is: why are people looking up Father in the dictionary, instead of looking up to their own fathers?

18 Love

Who does not want Love in their life? Or in this list? It is refreshing to see this passionate and heart-warming word make it into the Week 1 rankings, but we would argue that one would be better off finding the meaning of Love in The Good Book.

19 Science

A perpetual threat to Faith, Religion, and deniers of Climate, Science is versatile enough to merit a position in the top 25. It can now play in tandem with unranked words such as Facts, Climate, and Gender.

20 Rape

Every word has its day. Rape snuck into the top 25 when it became an international spotlight during certain countries’ inabilities to properly prosecute or convict those who put this word to task. Rape also somehow manage to stay relevant after the flurry of big and silver screen persons were blamed for it in recent years. It’s a shame, really; we sincerely hope Rape won’t have to be in the conversation for much longer.

21 Family

Dependable, strong, and at times dysfunctional, Family just missed the top 20 but did enough to be in the Week 1 top 25. Like with Love, it’s nice to see Family have an impact in the national conversation again.

22 Transitive

Those looking to get behind Verb may have come across this word as well. Transitive did well to act on a number of other words classified as objects. Transitive is a constant force in the world of language, but perhaps not for long in the rankings.

23 Physical Education

Two for the price of one! Physical Education exerted just enough effort to be classified as a Week 1 top 25. Known better as PE, we are hopeful for this form of education to make a lasting impact in the world even if it can’t remain in the rankings.

24 Racism

The phoenix of –isms scrapes near the bottom of the top 25 to kick off the season. It’s ugly, but it somehow manages to stay alive time and time again.

25 Ethic

Claiming the final spot in the list is Ethic, a word we would like to see higher up in the list in the near future. That is, of course, for the right reasons. It may be that Ethic is on the list at all because it has been buddied up with negative and sinister adjectives rather than righteous or religious ones.

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