American Dialect Society selects “Occupy” as it’s “2011 Word of The Year”

Occupy is more than a movement!   The word “Occupy” has beaten out “FOMO”, “the 99 percent,” and “humblebrag”  as the Word of the Year selection at the annual meeting of the Linguistic Society of America hosted by The American Dialect Society.

from The American Dialect Society……..

In its 22nd annual words of the year vote, with record attendance, the American Dialect Society voted “occupy” (verb, noun, and combining form referring to the Occupy protest movement) as the word of the year for 2011.

continued from The America Dialect Society……..

Presiding at the Jan. 6 voting session were ADS Executive Secretary Allan Metcalf of MacMurray College, and Ben Zimmer, chair of the New Words Committee of the American Dialect Society and executive producer of the Visual Thesaurus and Vocabulary.com. Zimmer is also a language columnist for theBoston Globe.

“It’s a very old word, but over the course of just a few months it took on another life and moved in new and unexpected directions, thanks to a national and global movement,” Zimmer said. “The movement itself was powered by the word.”

Word of the Year is interpreted in its broader sense as “vocabulary item”-not just words but phrases. The words or phrases do not have to be brand-new, but they have to be newly prominent or notable in the past year. The vote is the longest-running such vote anywhere, the only one not tied to commercial interests, and the word-of-the-year event up to which all others lead. It is fully informed by the members’ expertise in the study of words, but it is far from a solemn occasion. Members in the 122-year-old organization include linguists, lexicographers, etymologists, grammarians, historians, researchers, writers, authors, editors, professors, university students, and independent scholars. In conducting the vote, they act in fun and do not pretend to be officially inducting words into the English language. Instead they are highlighting that language change is normal, ongoing, and entertaining.

In a companion vote, sibling organization the American Name Society voted “Arab Spring” as Name of the Year for 2011 in its eighth annual name-of-the-year contest. It refers to popular political uprisings in Middle Eastern countries.

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