The New Oxford American Dictionary Announces the Word of the Year: 'Carbon Neutral'

Nov 13, 2006, 00:00 ET from Oxford University Press

    NEW YORK, Nov. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- What do Al Gore, Rupert Murdoch, and
 the Rolling Stones have in common? They are all advocates of being "carbon
 neutral," the New Oxford American Dictionary's Word of the Year for 2006.
     Being carbon neutral involves calculating your total climate-damaging
 carbon emissions (your "carbon footprint"), reducing them where possible,
 and then balancing your remaining emissions, often by purchasing a carbon
 offset: paying to plant new trees or investing in "green" technologies such
 as solar and wind power.
     The rise of carbon neutral reflects the growing importance of the green
 movement in the United States. It's more than a trend, it's a movement,
 which is why the editors of the New Oxford American Dictionary have
 declared carbon neutral the word of the year for 2006. It will be added to
 the next update of the dictionary, due in early 2007.
     Runners-up for the 2006 Word of the Year include:
     CSA (community-supported agriculture): a system where individual
 consumers purchase a season's worth of agricultural products grown on a
 small, usually family-owned farm.
     DRM (digital rights management): hardware or software that controls
 access and use of digital data, access and uses that may be disapproved of
 by rights owners, but that are not necessarily illegal.
     dwarf planet: a new designation for planetlike objects [such as Pluto]
 that are round and orbit the sun, but have not cleared other objects from
 their orbits.
     elbow bump: a greeting in which two people touch elbows, recommended by
 the World Health Organization as an alternative to the handshake in order
 to reduce the spread of germs.
     Fishapod: a humorous name for a newly discovered fossil [Tiktaalik
 roseae] that has features of both fish and land mammals and as such is
 considered an evolutionary link between the two.
     Funner: an informal/nonstandard comparative of fun.
     Ghostriding: the practice of exiting a moving vehicle and dancing
 either beside it, or on the hood or roof, while the vehicle is in motion.
     Islamofascism: a controversial term equating some modern Islamic
 movements with the European fascist movements of the early twentieth
     Pregaming: consuming alcoholic beverages before attending a sporting
 event or party, especially one where alcohol may be limited or banned.
     Erin McKean, editor in chief of the New Oxford American Dictionary,
 said "The increasing use of the word carbon neutral reflects not just the
 greening of our culture, but the greening of our language. When you see
 first graders trying to make their classrooms carbon neutral, you know the
 word has become mainstream."

SOURCE Oxford University Press