Fame versus everyday words

How famous do you need to be in order to beat an everyday word at a Google search? What I’m looking for is the first page about the person or the common word. That page is almost always the Wikipedia entry.

Note: these are all done from the UK with Google’s UK domain. This will influence some results.


The university takes the top spot, while the colour’s Wikipedia page beats that of the university. Our former Prime Minister takes fourth spot; he isn’t famous enough.


The former Prime Minister is the clear winner. The profession isn’t very commonly referred to: it isn’t a common enough word, so maybe I shouldn’t have included this.


The band actually wins against the former US presidents. The type of woody plant is nowhere to be seen.


The great man is utterly swamped by the search for positions of regular employment. How cruel.


Well this is an interesting one. For me, most of the first page was taken up by ads, a news result and Twitter. When I finally arrived at the standard results, I found companies selling wooden gates took first, second and third places. Fourth is a car dealer, then finally at fifth place we have William Henry Gates III.


Insurance, followed by the Wikipedia disambiguation page, and then Alexander Graham Bell.


A games website, King’s College London, the chess piece, Martin Luther King, Steven King and King’s College Cambridge. Wikipedia deals with male monarchs on a page titled ‘Monarch’ rather than a specific page for kings. Probably due of this, there is nothing about monarchs on the first page of Google results.


Frozen food just beats James Cook for the top spot. The plain form of cook does not do very well, but ‘cooking’ fairs better: the Wikipedia page on cooking is there, but it’s still one behind Jamie Oliver.

So who is the winner?

I don’t think that even makes sense. You could say Baroness Thatcher, but I think ‘thatcher’ is hardly ‘everyday’ enough to count. My vote goes to James Cook for being so close to the top for a very common word.