Oxford Dictionary Word of the Year for 2008: Hypermiling

This is not hypermiling.

This is not hypermiling.

Did you know that “Carbon Neutral” was word of the year at Oxford in 2006.

This year, the honour goes to Hypermiling, which has been picked as “word of the year” for 2008 by the New Oxford American Dictionary.

Hypermiling” or “to hypermile” is to attempt to reduce a vehicles fuel consumption by making adjustments to one’s car and one’s driving techniques.

Rather than aiming for good mileage or even great mileage, hypermilers seek to push their gas tanks to the limit and achieve hypermileage, exceeding the manufacturers published ratings for miles per gallon.

Hypermilers adopt all sorts of techniques to squeeze every last mile out of each gallon/litre of petrol. From trying to anticipate when lights are going to change from red to green (so that you don’t have to stop) to keeping the tyres pumped up to the recommended pressure. More tips on hypermiling can be found all over the Internet.

Other words that have been added to the dictionary this year, but didn’t win the award include:

frugalista – person who leads a frugal lifestyle, but stays fashionable and healthy by swapping clothes, buying second-hand, growing own produce, etc.

CarrotMob, carrot mob – a flashmob type of gathering, in which people are invited via the Net to all support and reward a local small ethical business such as a shop or café by all patronizing it at the same time. Also as noun, carrotmobbing.

ecohacking (also known as geoengineering) – the use of science in very large-scale projects to change the environment for the better/stop global warming (e.g. by using mirrors in space to deflect sunlight away from Earth).

rewilding – the process of returning an area to its original wild state/flora/fauna etc.

It’s pretty cool that so many words that are related to environmental activism and concern for our environment are entering into the public consciousness. Of course, you could always forget hypermiling and just get the bike out and join our go one better campaign!

I have to admit, thought, that I’d never heard of a moofer.

Check out the rest of the finalists and short lists on the Oxford University Press (America) Blog.

via Treehugger. Image via:  Dr. Keats


Ben is our resident marketing monkey, and spends an unhealthy amount of time obsessing about keywords, ranking and other marketing voodoo.

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