Geoffrey Nunberg nunberg at ISCHOOL.BERKELEY.EDU
Sat Oct 15 05:32:53 UTC 2011

This is pretty definitive, Ben. The only thing I would add -- though perhaps not on public radio -- is that inasmuch as the OED notes that 'occupy' was used up to the 18th c. to mean "To have sexual intercourse or relations with," it seems fair to conclude that Dr. Johnson would have heard "Occupy Wall Street" as a euphemistic way of saying "Fuck 'em."


> From: Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU>
> Date: October 13, 2011 9:48:56 PM PDT
> Subject: Re: WOTY
> On Tue, Oct 11, 2011 at 7:49 PM, Victor Steinbok wrote:
>> On 10/11/2011 7:35 PM, Victor Steinbok wrote:
>>> Really? Why not just "occupy"--we now have "Occupy Wall Street" (OWS),
>>> "Occupy [city]", "Occupy Capitol", and, last, but not least
>>> (obviously), "Occupy Everything". And it's got perfect timing for WOTY
>>> voting.
>> And we are now supposed to call them "occupy activists" or "occupy
>> protestors". I'm waiting for a Nunberg piece on the subject... (or
>> Zimmer ... or Zwicky--I don't want to discriminate, but they come later
>> in the alphabet ;-)  )
> While we wait for the definitive Nunbergian take, here's mine:
> http://www.visualthesaurus.com/cm/wordroutes/3001/
> --bgz
> --
> Ben Zimmer
> http://benzimmer.com/

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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