9 new words in Collins Dictionary, February 2022

Not for the first time, concerns about our climate and environment are writ large in a batch of additions to Collins English Dictionary online. We find sets of parallel terms: ‘green hydrogen’ is produced without emissions of carbon dioxide, and one of its counterparts, ‘blue hydrogen’, is produced with relatively low emissions. A ‘hard plastic’ is a plastic, such as PVC, that can’t be easily dented or pierced; a ‘soft plastic’, on the other hand, is a crushable material of the kind used in much food packaging. While a relative lack of recycling facilities unites the two, the ideal remains ‘zero waste’: a situation where every product or by-product of an activity can be reused in some way. Meanwhile, indigenous and poorer communities continue to bear the brunt of climate change and calls for ‘climate justice’ persist.

Sports and pastimes always provide another rich seam of vocabulary, and this is borne out by the inclusion of ‘wild swimming’ and ‘mulligan’. The latter has moved beyond its golfing sense to refer to any opportunity to try again. Still sporting in theme, but less so in attitude, we have ‘sportswashing’, where involvement in an event is used to deflect attention from less palatable activity.

blue hydrogen  noun  hydrogen that is commercially produced using a process that creates low emissions of carbon dioxide. Compare green hydrogen

climate justice  noun  the formulation of policies to combat climate change that do not place an unfair burden on poorer and indigenous communities

green hydrogen  noun  hydrogen that is commercially produced using a process that creates no emissions of carbon dioxide. Compare blue hydrogen

hard plastic  noun  any plastic that cannot be easily dented, crushed, or pierced

mulligan  (ˈmʌlɪɡən)  noun, informal 
a golf an opportunity to replay a poorly executed shot without incurring a penalty  
b any opportunity to start again after an initial failure.
Word origin:  C20: perhaps from the surname

soft plastic  noun  any plastic that can be easily dented, crushed, or pierced

sportswash (ˈspɔːtsˌwɒʃ)  verb, informal to sponsor or promote sporting events in order to distract attention from (a controversial activity or reputation)   > ˈsportsˌwashing  noun

wild swimming  noun  the activity of swimming in a naturally occurring body of water   > wild swimmer  noun

zero waste  noun  a a situation in which people’s activities produce nothing that cannot be reused, repurposed, or recycled  b  (as modifier): a zero-waste economy

Written by Mary O’Neill, managing editor.

All opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of Collins, or its parent company, HarperCollins.

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