‘Occupy’ Named As Word Of The 2011 Year, Linguists Say

According to a research, the linguists have found out the most used word in 2011. No wonder, this time it is ‘occupy’.

The Occupy Wall Street movement started in September in Lower Manhattan, after that it had spread around the country and the world as a call to action against unequal distribution of wealth and other issues. Photo: Kevin James/Flickr

As CNN reports, the American Dialect Society came out in record numbers to vote Friday at the organization’s annual conference, which this year was held in Portland, Oregon.

‘Occupy’ won having got the majority of votes, and eclipsing ‘FOMO’ (an acronym for ‘Fear of Missing Out,’ describing anxiety over being inundated by the information on social media) and ‘the 99%,’ (those held to be at a financial or political disadvantage to the top moneymakers, the one-percenters).

‘Occupy’ has joined the list of the champions of previous years are ‘app,’ ‘tweet,’ and ‘bailout.’

“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,” Ben Zimmer, chair of the New Words Committee for the American Dialect Society, said told reporters.

The American Dialect Society founded in 1889, is a learned society “dedicated to the study of the English language in North America, and of other languages, or dialects of other languages, influencing it or influenced by it.”

As Grant Barrett, the society’s vice president, mentioned, the organization is made up of ‘academics, linguists, anyone involved in the specialization of language.’

Mr. Barrett, who also co-hosts “A Way with Words,” a public radio program about language, said the annual conference is held for linguistics professionals and graduate students who can share information and research.

As a rule, nominees for the word of the year are offered by society members in attendance at the annual conference, but can also be submitted by the community at large.

Although ‘occupy’ had achieved the first place, several other words and phrases had also received recognition.

For example, ‘Mellencamp,’ a woman who has aged out of being a ‘cougar’ (after John Cougar Mellencamp), and ‘kardash,’ a unit of measurement consisting of 72 days, after the short marriage of the celebrity Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries, got in the category ‘Most Creative.’

The Society’s representative said that many of the nominated words that have significance now likely are not stand the test of time.

For instance, ‘Tebowing’ and ‘9-9-9’ were quite popular in 2011, but Barrett doubts whether they’ll last very long.

On the other hand, some words are just outright unnecessary – like Charlie Sheen’s ‘bi-winning,’ a term he used to describe himself, dismissing accusations of being bipolar, and ‘amazeballs,’ a slang form of amazing.

So, here is the rest of list of the nominations and winners, as the Common Curator revealed:

Most Useful:

  • humblebrag – expression of false humility, especially by celebrities on Twitter.

Most Outrageous:

  • assholocracy – rule by obnoxious multi-millionaires.

Most Euphemistic:

  • job creator – a member of the top one-percent of moneymakers.

Most Likely to Succeed:

  • cloud – online space for the large-scale processing and storage of data.

Least Likely to Succeed:

  • brony – adult male fan of the ‘My Little Pony’ cartoon franchise.

Although all this is tend to be good fun and a chance for ‘good-natured intelligent people to let their hair down,’ Mr. Barrett wants people to understand two important messages: “Language change is normal. Language change is interesting.”

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