Ever 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, nine cities, one continent, forty-four adjectives, three plant names, one year (1930). The word that recurs most is ‘the’, followed by the number ‘4’ and ‘father’.


synchronous words 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


synchronous words 2015

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

synchronous words 2014
shelter
goal
sport
studio
blues
the game
coach
year
Foley
Mets
Cornwall
remote
Glazer
love so bad
arbitrary
sandwich
7
twitter
World Cup
morning


synchronous words 2013
season
right
strange
mind
bet
select
Hector
championship
money
break
9
control
cinema
wrong
party
country
soon
reports
troubles
MIT
concentration
tidy
Morgan
luck
risk
look
understand

synchronous words 2012

criminal
jokes
space
status
thinking
died
people
doing
better
Wednesday
poetry
time
Johnson
find out
books
score
2
close
nice
sleep
play
seaman
deal
so often
normal
crazy
love
top stories
OK
play
7
yes
remember (x2)

synchronous words 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

synchronous words 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
2
Aston Villa
Julius
Zambia

synchronous words 2009

17
force
mysterious
dog
so much
South Africa
girl
for us
Beatles
Oxford
accept
airport
in the river
radio
holiday
Johnson
close
5
beautiful
players
9
day
hand
Thomas Cromwell
Monte Carlo
Joe
welcome
another
show (x2)
last night
movies
fuck
premier league
away
call (x2)

synchronous words 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
3
excellent
Alexandria
will
20
in the last year

synchronous words 2007
Santa Fe
London
job
5
check
1
playing
surprise
connecting
dream
hit the ground
alive
s
ynchronous words 2006
woman
Marquis
I do
check
Charles
live
ground
games
Dave
possibly
you
worked
Mike
line
delete
hospital
down
history
shirt
now
place

synchronous words 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

synchronous words 2004

touch
the table
4
fraud
National Health Service
wire
September
Al Qaeda
Santa Fe
player
street
New York
Manchesterster United
wine
Winston

synchronous words 2003

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

synchronous words 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

synchronous words 2001

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

synchronous words 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!
Morocco


synchronous words 1999
come
taught
the line
words
3
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

synchronous words 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
4
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

synchronous words 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

synchronous words 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

synchronous words 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

synchronous words 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: Δ

first names, male —David, Christopher, Martin, Norman, Charles, Charlie, Thomas, Richard, Oscar, Winston, Mike, Dave, Leon, Ian, Joe, Julius, Paul, Gary, Hector, Ben, Robert
first names, female — Alice, Gloria, Regan, Sally, Aurora, Chelsea, Kate, Georgia
surnames — Schubert, Martin-Jenkins, Burton, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Cox, Cromwell, Johnson, Seaman, Morgan, Glazer, Foley
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
cities — London, New York, Kosovo, Manchester, Philadelphia, Santa Fe, Alexandria, Monte Carlo, Oxford, Bolton
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
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
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, 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, 5, 8, 3,1, 342, 4, 2, 3, 39, 40, 20, 9, 17, 34, 7, 9
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