The Oxford University Press has chosen “carbon neutral” as its word(s) of the year.
To win this honor, carbon neutral had to beat out a long list of worthies, including elbow bump (a maneuver the World Health Organization is advocating as a safe alternative to shaking hands) and fishapod (the sleek new sonic range finder from Apple).
Sayeth the fine lexicographers over at OUP:
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.
As an aside, the term “carbon neutral” has actually been trademarked by, who else, the CarbonNeutral Company. That trademark is looking increasingly indefensible, but in any case, TerraPass has an ace in its sleeve: we recently patented the concept of global warming.