Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s New Words Go Green


The Merriam-Webster dictionary continues to expand.  This morning I heard on the radio that the word ‘earmark’ has been added.  When I did a search for other new words I found that the dictionary also has added some ‘green’ words lately.

It should be noted that the years listed behind the word below is when they were first sourced in an English-language publication.

If the words we add to our dictionaries serve as a cultural barometer, this year’s additions to Merriam-Webster show that green is becoming further entrenched in our lexicon. Here are the green words added to its latest edition:

Carbon footprint (1999): the negative impact that something (as a person or business) has on the environment; specifically: the amount of carbon emitted by something during a given period.

Green-collar (1990): of, relating to, or involving actions for protecting the natural environment. <green-collar jobs>.

Locavore (2005): one who eats foods grown locally whenever possible.

Staycation (2005): a vacation spent at home or nearby.

Merriam-Webster trails behind the Oxford English Dictionary, which added “staycation” last year, and named “locavore” its word of the year in 2007. We’ll see what green words will come next. Perhaps “smart grid”, “freegan” or “cap-and-trade”?

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