In yet another of his fine Chronicle of Higher Education blog posts, this one on the ADS Word of the Year balloting, Geoff Pullum dismisses the choice of occupy:
Overall winner as Word of the Year, with twice as many votes as its nearest rival, was occupy. Rather disappointing, I thought: the Mitt Romney of the field of candidates. Just an ordinary and rather moderate verb, not a neologism. But its profile rose so much during the tent-city protests of 2011 that it seemed a true representative of the zeitgeist. It was unstoppable. New Words Committee Chair Ben Zimmer had predicted its win six weeks ago, and he was right.
I thought occupy had more going for it when I made it my WOTY choice in a Fresh Air piece a few weeks ago, though I didn't mention one feature that ought to recommend it to a syntactician, even an English one: its serendipitously symbolic syntactic versatility. In a brief time it went from transitive verb to intransitive verb to adjective ("the occupy movement") to noun*, a demonstration that in America, words don't have to live out their lives as the part of speech they were born as.
*As in Occupy Oakland, which if you think about it is most plausibly analyzed as a noun-noun compound like Macy's San Francisco.