Believe it or not, Twitter, the global phenomenon of social networking in just 140 words, has been voted the top English word this year.

And, the word was more popular than Obama and H1N1 — the scientific name for the latest swine flu strain sweeping the globe. Other words to enter common currency reflect the global economic crisis such as “stimulus” and “deficit“.

Of the top 15 words, a further six are linked to the downturn such as “outrage” to denote feelings generated by bankers bonuses in bailed out companies, “bonus”, “unemployed”, and “foreclosure” when mortgage defaulters are evicted.

What’s surprising is that Hadron, the ephemeral particles subject to collision in the Large Hadron Collider as part of the giant experiment into the origins of the universe, has also made it to the list.

The top words and phrases were compiled by Texas-based Global Language Monitor, which monitors the Internet, the media and an electronic database to estimate how many times certain topics are brought up.

Founder Paul Payack was quoted by The Daily Telegraph as saying, “In a year dominated by world-shaking political events, a pandemic, and the after effects of a financial tsunami and the death of a revered pop icon, the word Twitter stands above all the other words.

“Twitter represents a new form of social interaction, where all communication is reduced to 140 characters. Being limited to strict formats did wonders for the sonnet and haiku. One wonders where this highly impractical word limit will lead as the future unfolds.”

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