Hashtags helped cement 'occupy' and 'winning' as memorable words of 2011


Linguist Ben Zimmer tells NPR's Renee Montagne that Twitter has helped elevate some of the contenders for word of the year, such as "winning" and "occupy," which is likely to be the choice of the American Dialect Society. "These single words can often get a special power on Twitter by being used as hashtags ... These hashtags actually end up having the power of slogans or mantras, and really help to spread words and phrases." One of Zimmer's favorites, "humblebrag," has become a common Twitter hashtag after comedian Harris Wittels coined the term. || Earlier: 'App' was 2010's word of the year (Associated Press)

  • Steve Myers

    Steve Myers was the managing editor of Poynter.org until August 2012, when he became the deputy managing editor and senior staff writer for The Lens, a nonprofit investigative news site in New Orleans.


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