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'Occupy' Named Word Of The Year For 2011 By American Dialect Society

Occupy Word Of The Year

First Posted: 01/10/12 05:12 PM ET Updated: 01/11/12 12:12 AM ET

TIME magazine named "the protester" as their Person of the Year for 2011 and now "occupy" has been named 2011 word of the year by the American Dialect Society.

In making the announcement this month, the organization's Executive Secretary Allan Metcalf said the social meda-charged movement owes part of its success to the term itself.

"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 American Dialect Society's New Words Committee, said. "The movement itself was powered by the word."

Occupy beat out second place finisher "FOMO" (meaning Fear of Missing Out) and another Occupy-linked phrase, "99 percenters," was third among the top finishers.

According to their website, the American Dialect Society is comprised of "linguists, lexicographers, etymologists, grammarians, historians, researchers, writers, authors, editors, professors, university students, and independent scholars."

For those who may not agree with their decision, the organization says their selection is not meant to be binding.

"In conducting the vote, [members] act in fun and do not pretend to be officially inducting words into the English language," the society wrote in announcing the selection. "Instead they are highlighting that language change is normal, ongoing, and entertaining."

So what's next for the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2012? Among other things, a march on Washington D.C. for Martin Luther King's birthday.

For more on the movement, including how it started and where it's going, check out The Huffington Post's new eBook.

CORRECTION: In an earlier version of this story, complete attribution was not given to the quote by Ben Zimmer. We regret the error.
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Filed by Simon McCormack  |