Synchronous words

Since 1994 I’ve been keeping a list of what I’ve called ‘synchronous words’. I’m thinking a word and you say it; that’s a synchronous word. The word I’m reading in a book is the same word the radio announcer has just spoken; that’s a synchronous word. The resulting yearly lists are a tally of preoccupations and accidental collisions. 

There are further, subsidiary, lists divided into categories. For example, there are three machines, fourteen towns or cities, one continent, forty-four adjectives, three plant names, two diseases, one year (1930). The word that recurs most is ‘the’, followed by the number ‘4’ and ‘father’.



2021
coastal
followed
that’s that
restaurant
anywhere
border
yesterday
back, baby
this week
ride
pandemic
35
fix
the beach
good
deal/Deal

2020
latest
country
river
someone
momentum
elderly 
quarantine 
coronavirus
I wonder
safe
no
good news 
disinfectant 
significantly 
possible 
pay the price
hitting 
plate 
left foot 
pandemic 
glory

2019
George
party
referendum
published
deep
careful
return
podcast 
his
service 
Mike
fold
voted
reverse
world cup
an email

2018
eu
conference call
hoping 
human rights 
scored three
actually 
pavilion
pitch 
best
happening
four
work
accept
2
today 
missed
Atlanta 
Sandwich 
snooker 
global
now
EU
appointment
Brexit
kick off
today
world

2017
police
Emmy
Oscars
fight
players
Cook
insulting
last night 
Usain Bolt
effect
debut
prime minister 

2016
shadow 
Robert 
vision 
offensive 
do 
Milwaukee 
gulag 
tool 
stupid 
EU 
better 
Germany 
the case 
mandate 
fabulous 
Bolton 
bring 
touched the ball 
categories 
telegraph 
serious 
number

2015
flight 
days 
too late 
support 
United States 
win 
reduce 
fascinating 
curated 
career 
carpet 
breeze 
private 
watch 
Happy New Year 
fell 
Ben 

2014
shelter 
goal 
sport 
studio 
blues 
the game 
coach 
year 
Foley 
Mets 
Cornwall 
remote 
Glazer 
love so bad 
arbitrary 
sandwich 

twitter 
World Cup 
morning

2012
criminal 
jokes 
space 
status 
thinking 
died 
people 
doing 
better 
Wednesday 
poetry 
time 
Johnson 
find out 
books 
score 

close 
nice 
sleep 
play 
seaman 
deal 
so often 
normal 
crazy 
love 
top stories 
OK 
play 

yes 
remember (x2) 

2011

rose 
young 
curry 
Gary 
say 
green 
Paul 
secret 
amazon 
without 
make sure 
police 
straight 
table 
like 
played 
bay 
Georgia 
poor 
dissent 
check 
New York 
Kent 
chance 
Tom 

2010
jingle 
need 
favourite 
opera 
talk to me 
out 
check (x2) 
open 
lost 
painful 
OK 
Africa 
Australia 
out 
not 
weight 
OK 
young 
here 
roll 
reputation 
brother 
he was 
34 

Aston Villa 
Julius 
Zambia


2009
17 
force 
mysterious 
dog 
so much 
South Africa 
girl 
for us 
Beatles 
Oxford 
accept 
airport 
in the river 
radio 
holiday 
Johnson 
close 

beautiful 
players 

day 
hand 
Thomas Cromwell 
Monte Carlo 
Joe 
welcome 
another 
show (x2) 
last night 
movies 
fuck 
premier league 
away 
call (x2) 


2008
time 
that’s fine 
will 
sugar 
salt 
Ian 
website 
with 
understandable 
titan 
call 
Leon 
message 
here I come 
world 
heads 
I understand 
down 
harm 
deal 
Kate 
Daniel 
pick 
photo 
away 
Notting hill 
time 
streams 

excellent 
Alexandria 
will 
20 
in the last year 

2007
Santa Fe 
London 
job 

check 

playing 
surprise 
connecting 
dream 
hit the ground 
alive 


2006
woman 
Marquis 
I do 
check 
Charles 
live 
ground 
games 
Dave 
possibly 
you 
worked 
Mike 
line 
delete 
hospital 
down 
history 
shirt 
now 
place 

2005
risks 
40 
time 
Manchester 
man 
life 
practice 
the corner 
finish 
hair 
hair 
you suspect 
controlled explosions 
conflict 
aurora 
quarter 
Africa 
waiting 
4 (x2) 
perfect 
father 
shoulders 
much 
words 
come 

2004
touch 
the table 

fraud 
National Health Service 
wire 
September 
Al Qaeda 
Santa Fe 
player 
street 
New York 
Manchesterster United 
wine 
Winston 

2003
called 
back 
thrill 
midfield 
soul 
bus 
die 
destruction 
voice 
favourite 
39 
Oscar 
3 weeks 
net 
fame 

2002
the case 
Philadelphia 
girl 
swift 
stick 
yes 
short 
passion 
everybody 
change 
house 
done 
tea 
double 
exclusive 
tonight 
read 
my wife 
Central London 
3 percent 
heard 
send 
no 
book(s) 
own 
confirm(ed) 
at the moment 
practical 
scored 
game 
of course 
Spice Girls 
confrontation 
erotic 

2001
father 
Manchester United 
match 
lover 
write 
all the hallmarks 
one 
question 
work 
father 
recently 
league 
winner 
story 

2000
common 
write 
live 
yes 
out 
standing 
song 
each other 
up 
changed 
look 
hallucinations 
cover 
why 
beans 
hear 
ball 
word 
question 
wife 
phoenix 
baby 
this 
I’ve got work to do 
best 
given 
sense 
hi! 


1999
come 
taught 
the line 
words 

here 
beer 
still 
corner 
behind 
question 
smiled 
new 
man 
camp 
Richard 
women 
voice x2 
also 
passport 
of State 
close(d) 
tragedy 
shirts 
Kosovo 
fight 
refugee 
octopus 
performance 
fun 
designer 
died 
mother of two 
delighted 
Cox 
mother 
far 
yes 

1998
you 
dancing 
family 
well 
pianist 
jail 
when 
looks 
My name is 
performance 
something 
play 
Sally 
why 
control 
New York 
oil 
this 
good old-fashioned 
frank 
we 

342 
forgotten 
no 
restore 
alternative 
different 
enough 
professional 
report 
luck 
turtle 
lover 
more 
everyone 
not 
ring 
a word 
money 
eight 
concentration 
cure (x2) 
find 
love 
Australia 
through 
old 
and now 
home 
sleep 
up front 
pyjamas 
church 
computer 
one 
security 
look 
idea
Dominican Republic 

1997
music 
lost 
difference 
blood 
dons 
suddenly 
Pole 
forget 
friends 
very 
lost 
New Hampshire 
bad 
Thomas 
please 
illuminate 
go 
England 
home 
fault 
Tuesday 
three 
helping 
advice 
book 
Chelsea 
down 
injuries 
knock 
door 
point 
London 
violent 
runs 
cancel 
fries 
Regan 
blue 
father 
self 
women 

1996
yes 
update 
relationship 
Polish 
mobile 
time 
game 
comes 
last 
weather 
Gloria 
Chopin 
young 
Charlie 
family 
time (x2) 
musician 
look 
eight 
the man 
the grotesque 
now 
England coach 
fell in love with 
trip 
Norman 
Mendels(s)ohn 
story 
hand 
this world 
generation 
chuck 
remarkable 
wearing 
bubbles 
melted 
department 
run 
ten 
before 
war 

1995
It is 
bring 
disappointment 
yes 
1930 
forever 
mud 
five 
me 
image 
arm 
forward 
slip 
merit 
live 
now 
home 
children 
the story of my life 
I love you 
list 
David 
rain 
Schubert 
daffodil 
cannabis 
say anything more 
two 

1994
Tennessee 
mother 
computer 
batteries 
London 
down 
lady 
tip 
women 
smallpox 
forensic 
Christopher Martin-Jenkins 
growth 
television 
sick 
Poland 
back 
duel 
Alice 
every 
Hollywood 
rolling 
large 
mother 
tv 
diamonds 
Burton 
database 
university 

categories

first names, male —David, Christopher, Martin, Norman, Charles, Charlie, Thomas, Richard, Oscar, Winston, Mike, Dave, Leon, Ian, Joe, Julius, Paul, Gary, Hector, Ben, Robert, Mike, George, Usain
first names, female — Alice, Gloria, Regan, Sally, Aurora, Chelsea, Kate, Georgia, Emmy 
surnames — Schubert, Martin-Jenkins, Burton, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Cox, Cromwell, Johnson, Seaman, Morgan, Glazer, Foley, Bolt
verbs — run/runs, melted, chuck, wearing, live, bring, slip, love, say, war, rolling, duel, bubbles, is, merit, trip, fell, look, comes, come, update, cancel, point, knock, helping, go, illuminate, please, lost, forget, dons, sleep, find, love, cure, forgotten, restore, control, oil, play, dancing, died, fight, close(d), camp, smiled, corner, sense, given, hear, cover, changed, standing, write, match, scored, confirm(ed), send, heard, read, done, change, die, thrill, called, touch, waiting, suspect, finish, delete, worked, call, fuck, show, accept, force,was, roll, talk, need, played, like, remember, score, find out, doing, thinking, reports, troubles, bet, select, break, control, wrong, fell, win, reduce, support, bring 
adjectives— remarkable, forensic, large, melted, grotesque, young, last, mobile, Polish, blue, violent, bad, lost, old, professional, different, alternative, frank, good old-fashioned, well, far, delighted, new, common, united, erotic, practical, own, central, short, swift, favourite, perfect, understandable, last, beautiful, painful, poor, secret, young, top, crazy, normal, nice, criminal, tidy, fabulous, serious 
adverbs — suddenly, recently, back, soon 
nouns — world, department, mud, image, home, children, arm, story, life, list, daffodil, cannabis, smallpox, computer, batteries, television, tv, tip, women, duel, mother, diamonds, database, university, generation, duel, war, time, run/runs, slip, bubbles, growth, yes, hand, story, trip, coach, grotesque, man, look, musician, family, weather, game, mobile, relationship, update, women, father, self, fries, point, knock, door, book, advice, helping, fault, friends, Pole, dons, blood, difference, music, computer, sleep, find, love, cure, concentration, word, money, ring, everyone, lover, turtle, luck, report, professional, control, oil, play, something, performance, name, jail, pianist, designer, performance, fun, octopus, refugee, fight, shirts, tragedy, State, passport, voice, camp, question, corner, words, line, taught, sense, given, phoenix, baby, wife, ball, beans, cover, hallucinations, other, song, out, winner, league, work, match, Manchester United, confrontation, spice, girls, course, moment, tea, house, change, passion, everybody, swift, stick, case, fame, weeks, midfield, thrill, destruction, street, player, table, touch, shoulders, Africa, quarter, conflict, aurora, controlled explosions, hair (x2; sequential), finish, practice, place, history, hospital, ground, website, sugar, salt, fuck, show, night, day, holiday, river, airport, us, force, brother, weight, opera, need, dissent, amazon. rose, stories, seaman, books, poetry, status, criminal, jokes, space, party, country, troubles, reports, bet, championship, money, break, cinema, win, flight, support, days, categories, number 
qualifiers — very, enough, best, better, too late, last
cities and towns — London, New York, Kosovo, Manchester, Philadelphia, Santa Fe, Alexandria, Monte Carlo, Oxford, Bolton, Milwaukee, Atlanta, Sandwich, Deal 
buildings –– university, jail, camp, house, hospital, airport 
universities –– MIT 
countries — Poland, England, Australia, Dominican Republic, Morocco, South Africa, Zambia, United States, Germany 
continents — Africa 
political federations — EU x 3
districts — Hollywood, Chelsea, Central London 
US states — New Hampshire, Tennessee, Georgia, Milwaukee 
English counties — Kent, Cornwall 
expressions of size and measurement and quantity— large, short, much, quarter 
nationalities — Pole 
diseases — smallpox, coronavirus 
drugs — cannabis 
animals— octopus, turtle, dog 
mythical creatures— phoenix 
plants — daffodil, cannabis, rose 
years — 1930 
days — Tuesday, Wednesday 
duration — 3 weeks 
precious stones — diamonds 
machines — television, tv, computer 
baseball teams — Mets 
football teams — Chelsea, Manchester United, Aston Villa 
footballers — Seaman 
groups — Spice Girls, Beatles 
composers — Schubert, Mendelssohn, Chopin 
domestic— children, mother, family, father, wife, baby 
occupations — coach, musician, dons, prime minister, pianist, designer, seaman 
food — fries, beans, sugar, salt, curry, sandwich 
drinks — tea, wine 
elements — rain, mud, bubbles, weather, time 
colours — blue, green 
emotions — disappointment, love, sick, passion, conflict, troubles 
terrorist organisations— Al Qaeda 
Tudor politicians –– Thomas Cromwell 
cricket commentators — Christopher Martin-Jenkins 
body parts — arm, hand, blood, back, shoulders, hair 
numbers — 10, 1930, 2 (x2), 5, 8, 3,1, 342, 4, 2, 3, 39, 40, 20, 9, 17, 34, 7, 9, 35 
directions — forward, back, down, behind, out 
prepositions — before, this, of, more, every, with, in, through, when, behind, at, for 
articles — the 
time/order — forever, now, before, last, moment, tonight, day 
pronouns — I, me, you, it, we, my, he 
affirmatives — yes 
negatives — not, no 
questions — why 
greetings — hi! 
whole or partial phrases — the story of my life, say anything more, I love you, this world, It is, fell in love with, England coach, the grotesque, the man, and now, a word, good old-fashioned, My name is, mother of two, of State, the line, I’ve got work to do, each other, all the hallmarks, of course, at the moment, Central London, my wife, the case, 3 weeks, controlled explosions, you suspect, the corner, in the last year, I understand, that’s fine, premier league, last night, in the river, for us, so much, he was, talk to me, make sure, top stories, so often, find out, love so bad, the game, Happy New Year, too late, touched the ball, human rights, scored three, conference call, world cup, an email, the beach, left foot, pay the price, good news, back, baby, that’s that