The Word of the Year is carbon neutral, according to the New Oxford American Dictionary, which announced its 2006 pick today.
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.
Not that NOAD gets the last word -- or the first word, or the only word. The Word of the Year parade started in early October, when the Oxford English Dictionary chose bovvered, from a catchphrase on Catherine Tate's BBC comedy show. ("Am I bovvered?" means "Am I bothered? Do I look like I care?" See it in action here.)
Next, on Nov. 1, Webster's New World chose Crackberry -- a play on the addictive properties of the BlackBerry PDA -- as its 2006 WOTY. (But the WNW word squad, like NOAD's, was thinking globally; one of its runners-up was carbon footprint. Will it be a green year in the WOTY world?)
These are just for starters; dozens of WOTYs will be proposed in coming weeks, and the season won't end till the American Dialect Society votes on its list in January. We'll be back for more.
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