This word transcended mere buzzword. It came to represent both the basic political reality of 2008 that whatever the election's outcome, the country would have a President not named Bush or Clinton for the first time since 1988 and the great hope of 2009: that new leadership might bring an end to recession and war. For many fans of President-elect Barack Obama, "change" became synonymous with his candidacy, so much so that conservatives began mocking the word with slogans like the one on this T-shirt: "CHANGE IS ALL YOU WILL HAVE LEFT IF HE IS ELECTED." By fall, the overused word was ripe for a sarcastic treatment.
TIME parses the top buzzwords of 2008: