Early this year, the American Dialect Society voted on the 2011 Word of the Year. Glance back through the list to see what has stayed with us and what turned out to be a passing trend. And I wonder what word will occupy us this year?
Source: Erin Brenner and Copyediting.
And the 2011 Word of the Year Is …
Yesterday, members of the American Dialect Society (ADS) voted occupy as the 2011 Word of the Year at their annual conference in Portland, Oregon. Of all the Word of the Year contests, the ADS’s is not only the oldest but also the most influential. Each year for 22 years, members of the society devoted to the study of language have been choosing the Word of the Year at their annual meeting.
Occupy, as a verb, noun, and combining form, refers to the recent Occupy protest movement. “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,” said Ben Zimmer, chair of ADS’s New Words Committee and executive producer of the Visual Thesaurus and Vocabulary.com. “The movement itself was powered by the word.”
Nominations for Word of the Year are accepted all year by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Nominations can be single words or phrases. They do not have to be new, either, but they do have to be “newly prominent or notable in the past year,” according to the ADS website.
The Word of the Year contest has grown over the years and now includes subcategories. This year’s subcategory winners are:
humblebrag: expression of false humility, especially by celebrities on Twitter.
Mellencamp: a woman who has aged out of being a cougar (after John Cougar Mellencamp).
bi-winning: term used by Charlie Sheen to describe himself pridefully, dismissing accusations of being bipolar.
MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED
cloud: online space for the large-scale processing and storage of data.
OCCUPY WORDS (new category)
Past Word of the Year winners can be found on the ADS website.
Thoughts on this list? Nominations for this year? Comments always welcome!