Vuvuzelas take center stage
The 3-ft.-long plastic horns burst onto the world scene during this summer's World Cup soccer games in South Africa. They distracted players and drove up sales of ear plugs. The horn's sound has also been immortalized in app form and in pirated copies of the game Michael Jackson: The Experience for Nintendo DS.
SILLY BANDZ SENSATION
From the nation's schoolyards to Hollywood, these multi-colored rubber bracelets became a must-have accessory-even on the wrists of celebs like Mary-Kate Olsen
and Jake Gyllenhaal
Whenever a major scandal breaks, chances are Asia-based company Next Media Animation will develop a video recreation of it within days. They mocked everything from Lindsay Lohan
's legal woes to JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater's infamous departure from his job (above).
THE FLOCK ROCKS
The year's game obsession-in which players pelt green pigs with various feathered friends-is one of the most successful mobile games in history with more than 12 million smartphone apps sold.
THE NEWS GETS A VOCAL TWIST
During an interview with a local TV station about his sister's assault in their Huntsville, Ala., home, Antoine Dodson lambasted the perpetrator-and his outburst went viral. Enter the Gregory Brothers of Auto-Tune the News, who remixed Dodson's tirade-"Hide your kids, hide your wife and hide your husband"-into "Bed Intruder Song" and made him a folk hero. The Brothers also hit it big by manipulating soundbites from newsmakers like Newt Gingrich and Hillary Clinton.
From N.Y.C.'s Lincoln Center to the Las Vegas Strip, the blood-sucking critters had a boom year. Their numbers grew so vast, they prompted the first North American Bedbug Summit, where experts shared tips on fumigation techniques and other ways to eradicate the insects.
Slurpees make a comeback
After President Obama joked about hosting a "Slurpee summit" with the incoming Republican leaders in Congress, the frozen drink's creators made the most of the marketing opportunity. They launched a 14-city "Slurpee Unity Tour" and introduced a new, nonpartisan flavor, Purple for the People, more commonly known as grape.
HOT WORDS OF 2010
The underwater camera that streamed video of the environmentally devastated Gulf of Mexico after the BP oil-rig explosion.
The term used to describe epic snowstorms-like the Feb. 6 blizzard that dumped some 30 inches of snow on Washington, D.C.
GUIDO & GUIDETTE
Jersey Shore star Snooki's preferred monikers for the stereotypically Italian-American men and women featured in the MTV reality show.
The word widely used to describe how horribly the Democrats fared in the 2010 midterm elections.
"Got to celebrate it!" said Sarah Palin after being mocked for her tweeted malapropism-a combination of the words "refute" and "repudiate."
Source: The Global Language Monitor
Part jeans, part leggings, these pants became a sartorial obsession with celebs like Heidi Klum
, Lauren Conrad
and Jennifer Hudson
. Regular folks also took a liking to them, boosting sales for the fashion must-have to nearly $180 million.
GOOGLE STREET-VIEW MANIA
The good, the bad and the naked! The global mapping system in the news
After Street View launched in Germany, the nation was fixated by the shot of a seemingly naked man in a car trunk. The image has since been removed.
The NYPD made an arrest with the help of the search engine's cameras, which caught a trio of men allegedly dealing drugs in Brooklyn.
"Horrified" at seeing his rotund frame on Street View, 50-something Brit Bob Mewse was inspired to shed a third of his 300 lbs.