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The American Dialect Society has voted and the results are in for the annual ”Word of the Year” for 2011.  The organization has been conducting the vote for 122 years now, and there have been some surprising and sometimes comical winners. The ADS is comprised of linguists, lexicographers, etymologists, grammarians, historians, researchers, writers, authors, editors, professors, university students, and independent scholars. The members stress that the voting is mostly for ”fun” and have no intention of trying to officially introduce new words or phrases into the English language. However, past winners have indeed made their way into everyday usage. Ok folks. Without further ado … the Word of the Year for 2011 is …

OCCUPY

Yes, I know what you are thinking, that word has been around forever, but according to the voters at the ADS it has taken on new meaning. Ben Zimmer, Chairman of the New Words Committee of The American Dialect Society says – ”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. The movement itself was powered by the word.”

Other nominees included:

FOMO – acronym for “Fear of Missing Out,” describing anxiety over being inundated by information on social media.

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

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

the 99%, 99 percenters– those held to be at a financial or political disadvantage to the top moneymakers, the one-percenters.

The man who became a word

The word occupy has also revived the legend of Guy Fawkes, the man who was tried and executed for high treason in 1606 after his Gunpowder Plot and failed attempt to assassinate King James I and blow up the British Parliament.

These days you can see masks depicting Guy Fawkes’ face anywhere where the word occupy is cried out. And did you know that the word guy is derived from Mr. Fawkes? The word “guy” started off as meaning “one man” but has grown quite a bit – “you guys” know what I mean? The man who once was singled out as a lone traitor now represents 99 percent of us. Go figure.

Want to occupy some extra time? Why not try making a “vendetta mask” in origami. All you need is a square of origami paper, about 15 minutes and a healthy dollop of patience.