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The verbing of "Green" - Nothing to See Here

Sep. 11th, 2008

11:24 am - The verbing of "Green"

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It frustrates me greatly that people have started to use green as a verb, as in:

As if it wasn't sufficiently lazy (albeit perfectly ok; I don't have a problem with it) to shorten "We're making CompanyName environmentally friendly" to "We're making CompanyName green" ... now it has to ratchet up the laziness and be written as "We're greening CompanyName"?

One of the first times I saw this was at my company, but I think that was about the same time that the buzzword had been on the cover of every business magazine and so on. Since then, I've seen it many times. All of this seems to have started within the past 6 months (perhaps 4 or 5).

Ugh. This seems to me as bad as "u" and "r" for "you" and "are" and so on, as originally used by many in instant messages and SMS messages and now in practically every other medium.

Seriously?

Seriously?!

Current Mood: aggravatedaggravated
Current Music: "Tom Cruise Crazy" - Jonathan Coulton

Comments:

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From:kreggan
Date:September 11th, 2008 06:39 pm (UTC)
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Verbing weirds language. :>
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From:mavjop
Date:September 11th, 2008 06:40 pm (UTC)
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Verbing angries me! Sometimes.
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From:kreggan
Date:September 11th, 2008 06:45 pm (UTC)
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From:maeglin73
Date:September 11th, 2008 06:44 pm (UTC)
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Appropriate music for that post :-)
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From:mavjop
Date:September 11th, 2008 06:57 pm (UTC)
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Just a little. Not entirely on-topic, but feeling-wise, not too far off. :)
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From:(Anonymous)
Date:September 11th, 2008 06:50 pm (UTC)
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The concept of "greening" has been around for decades. The past 10 years have seen an enormous uptick in interest in the concept in the construction industry, in particular, coinciding with the rise of LEED and the US Green Building Council.

It's a very concise way of expressing a complicated concept, which is that you intend to make your company more environmentally sensitive, and adopt technology towards that end.
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From:mavjop
Date:September 11th, 2008 06:56 pm (UTC)
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The concept isn't the issue.

The wording is.

The concept of making a company environmentally friendly, or of making it green (a synonym), has existed for ages.

I am pretty sure it is doublethink that "greening" has existed for decades just because it maps to a concept which has existed for decades.

Can you point me to a single usage of "green[ing]" as a verb for making environmentally friendly in a publication greater than a year old?

[Edit] BTW, "US Green Building Concept" is an appropriate adjectival usage of the word green, not proof of its use as a verb.

Edited at 2008-09-11 06:58 pm (UTC)
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From:scrump
Date:September 11th, 2008 07:35 pm (UTC)
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http://www.pennsylvaniahorticulturalsociety.org/garden/pgpubs.html

There's at least one use from 2003, in http://www.pennsylvaniahorticulturalsociety.org/phlgreen/ui_planning_openspace.html, but the Society itself dates back to 1974.

Page 57 (among many, many others) of Business and the Environment, published in 1996, and viewable at http://books.google.com/books?id=i7UDHlOGfPEC.

"The Greening of Accountancy: The Profession After Pearce", published in 1990.

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From:mavjop
Date:September 11th, 2008 09:31 pm (UTC)
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I stand corrected on it not existing before a year ago, then!

I still think it sucks, and it has apparently become popular very recently.

It doesn't seem to me like it communicates more to use it as a verb than to use it as an adjective.
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From:lyssabits
Date:September 11th, 2008 07:51 pm (UTC)
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Well I can say with authority that the use of green as a verb has in fact existed for decades... within the botany community. ;) My post-doc when I worked with arabidopsis used to use "greening" all the time when describing the phenotypes of the plant. "Arabidopsis with X gene will begin greening after x days in x wavelength of light.."
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From:mavjop
Date:September 11th, 2008 09:32 pm (UTC)
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Weird! =) It seems so ... casual to say "greening" rather than "development of chlorophyl" or something!
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From:lyssabits
Date:September 11th, 2008 09:40 pm (UTC)
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The latter isn't accurate though. You don't *know* there's chlorophyll development -- you know the leaves are green. ;) It was mostly an informal term to describe a certain color of green that indicated a certain state of development. Scientists don't walk around talking like their publications all the time, after all. Just conferences and talks. ;)
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From:mavjop
Date:September 11th, 2008 09:42 pm (UTC)
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Good points. :)
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From:lyssabits
Date:September 11th, 2008 09:48 pm (UTC)
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Actually upon reading the paper she published on the work I did for her.. she ACTUALLY uses greening to describe a developmental step in the paper too, so it may be less informal than I thought.
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From:mavjop
Date:September 11th, 2008 09:52 pm (UTC)
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Huh. :)
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From:loosestrife
Date:September 12th, 2008 12:19 am (UTC)
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The word grabbed a lot of attention when Charles Reich's The Greening of America was published. (I just looked it up -- 1970. Huh. I thought it was later than that.) The title didn't refer specifically to environmental concern, but to the whole counterculture.

I think it's occasionally popped up since then, but the exclusively environmental meaning is relatively recent and has been all the hell over the place lately.

You know what I hate even more than that? When people talk about "growing" a company. Urgh. You develop or maybe even nurture a company. You grow tomatoes.

Which I guess is green, though most tomatoes are red.
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From:mavjop
Date:September 12th, 2008 03:29 am (UTC)
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Intriguing!

I guess there's been usage out there that I haven't been aware of, but it's become obvious lately with the fact that, as you so eloquently put it, "the exclusively environmental meaning ... has been all the hell over the place lately."
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