Collins Dictionary ‘12 Words of 2012’ List Includes ‘Gangnam Style’ and ‘Fiscal Cliff’

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Based on the trends and pop culture events of 2012, Collins presents its top 12 monthly words submitted to this year.

Choosing just one word for 2012 didn’t match the pace at which our language is changing, so we selected one popular word to represent each month from the whole range of those submitted

Earlier this year, leading publisher Collins opened its online dictionary,, to public submissions, recognizing how language is constantly evolving through pop culture, events and trends.

Celebrating our rapidly changing language, Collins has chosen one word for each month of 2012 based on the top news stories and trends of the year, with events such as the Olympics, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the U.S. election represented.

Each word has been submitted to the online dictionary at Some are “published” already as a reflection of their frequency, breadth and period of use. “Candidates” will be added to the online dictionary in the next site update. Others are “under review,” meaning that evidence of use is continuing to grow and be collected, while others still have been “rejected” based on the dictionary’s criteria for inclusion.

Not all of these words will have the longevity to be accepted for the Collins print dictionary, but their submission to shows how the site has become a forum to discuss the new words we use to describe current events and trends.

“Since we launched the submission feature on, we have been astounded by how quickly new language trends are formed,” said Ian Brookes, Consulting Editor at Collins. “Choosing just one word for 2012 didn’t match the pace at which our language is changing, so we selected one popular word to represent each month from the whole range of those submitted.”

The “Words of the Year” are:

  • January: Broga– January brought the launch of a new form of yoga tailored distinctly to men. The word “broga” comes from the combination of “bro” and yoga. [Current status: published]
  • February: Legbomb– During the Oscars, actress Angelina Jolie posed with her right leg jutting out of her high-slit dress. The unusual pose prompted a new word, “legbomb,” and led to many parody images being created. [Current status: under review]
  • March: Eurogeddon– In 2012, Europe was abuzz with the threat of “Eurogeddon” as the economic situation in the Euro zone worsened. A second bailout package was announced for Greece in March, which fuelled fears and debate across the region. [Current status: candidate]
  • April: Mummy Porn– With the launch of the “50 Shades of Grey” book series in April, erotic fiction was given a new name. [Current status: published]
  • May: Zuckered– In May, Facebook launched its initial public offering (IPO), and its share plummeted almost immediately after hitting the public market. This failure led to the word “zuckered,” named after Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. [Current status: rejected]
  • June: Jubilympics– The summer of 2012 was filled with exciting events in the UK. In June, Brits were preparing to host the London Olympics and celebrated the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. [Current status: under review]
  • July: Romneyshambles– When U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney travelled to London, his serial gaffes led to a new word, “Romneyshambles.” [Current status: rejected]
  • August: Games Makers– London’s vast team of Olympics volunteers were dubbed “Games Makers.” [Current status: under review]
  • September: 47 percent– Romney was secretly taped at a private fundraiser saying that 47 percent of Americans would vote for Obama no matter what because they are dependent on the government. The video and phrase spread virally and “47 percent” became a key phrase of the election. [Current status: under review]
  • October: Superstorm– In late October 2012, Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc in portions of the Caribbean, the Mid-Atlantic and the northeastern United States. [Current status: candidate]
  • November: Gangnam Style– South Korean musician PSY’s catchy song became the most viewed video on YouTube in November with close to a billion views. It has since spawned many spoofs in countries across the globe. [Current status: candidate]
  • December: Fiscal cliff– As 2012 draws to a close, the U.S. government faces a “fiscal cliff,” or a sharp decrease in the government spending and an increase in taxes that could throw the economy back into recession. [Current status: candidate]

The list of 2012 words is also available at,62,hcb.html. To learn more about new word submissions, visit

About Collins
Collins, an imprint of HarperCollins UK, is one of the world’s leading dictionary and language learning publishers. Founded in 1819 on the principle of “creating knowledge for all” Collins continues to offer an exceptionally wide choice for all language needs.

With almost 200 years of dictionary publishing experience, Collins is one of the world’s most authoritative language publishers. By pioneering new approaches to publishing Collins will always provide people with the most up-to-date and accessible dictionaries and language learning products available.
Collins’ publishing continues to grow, with over 60 eBooks and hundreds of apps now available, as well as, the most comprehensive authoritative online dictionary.

Collins - Pioneers in Dictionary publishing since 1819

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