Television can do strange things to our speech. After watching Game of Thrones, for example, it’s hard not to talk about people in the fashion of creator George R.R. Martin. “Please meet my co-worker. This is Jim of House Finklestein, keeper of accounts, slayer of budget discrepancies, wielder of the office stapler.” In the wake of the Emmys, a media analytics company has helped quantify how popular programs and personalities are shaping our language—with a list of this year’s Top 10 television buzzwords.
The Global Language Monitor ranks the “telewords” based on their usage in social media, the news media and elsewhere on the Interwebs. Here are the results:
These initials are taken from comedian Louis C.K.’s eponymous FX show. “C.K.” has become a label for melancholy comedies like his that straddle the line between hilarious and tragic. (See also: dramedy.)
A jubilee is traditionally the fiftieth anniversary of an event. This year is the sixtieth that Queen Elizabeth has sat upon the throne; the Brits’ year-long celebration of that achievement is referred to as a diamond jubilee.
#8: fourth screen
The traditional three screens are the television, computer and smart phone. But there is now a fourth class that we’re using to get our boob-tubery: tablets, such as the iPad…and things that aren’t the iPad.
As in Kate Middleton. She is the flame; the world is the moth.
It really says something about the pervasiveness of reality TV when we have to specify that shows are “scripted,” as in traditional, straight-up fictional entertainment.
#5. La Toti
This is a nickname for actress Sofia Vergara, whose success as an endearingly squawky, sexy Latina character on sitcom Modern Family has made her ubiquitous. La Toti is loosely translated as “the be all and end all,” according to GLM.
This is a made-up language—and a group of people—in HBO fantasy Game of Thrones. The Dothraki people are proud horse-lord types who wear bells in their hair and sack cities like they’re potatoes.
Homeland is Showtime’s newly minted Best Drama, and its main character is a bipolar CIA agent played by Claire Danes. The actress often speaks out about playing a character with the condition, which she has described as isolating and “pernicious.”
#2. shell shock
This warfare term comes courtesy of everyone’s favorite tea-sipping, ennui-laden crew: the English gentry of Downton Abbey, who were still recovering from the shocks of World War I when viewers last left them.
Shows such as Big Bang Theory, New Girl and Modern Family thrive on the adorkable—people or habits that are both adorable and dorky, like 10-year-olds who worry endlessly about pant pleats.