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Articles by Mark Peters

Mark Peters has published language-related articles in Chicago Magazine, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Columbia Journalism Review, Esquire, Mental Floss, Nerve, New Scientist, and Psychology Today. He writes the Jabberwocky column for Babble and the blog Wordlustitude. His book Yada Yada Doh! 111 of the Most Successful Television Words is forthcoming from Marion Street Press in 2008.

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With apologies to “green” and “enviro,” there’s no doubt “eco” is the supreme prefix of the environmental movement.

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According to the Oxford English Dictionary — the Bible of the English language, only with fewer lepers and begettings — “eco” detached from “ecology” as early as 1969, when examples of “eco-activist,” “eco-catastrophe,” and “ecocide” can be found. The OED also has subentries for “eco-art,” “ecodoom,” “ecofreak,” “eco-label,” “eco-nut,” “eco-raider,” “eco-terrorism,” and “eco-warrior,” but of course, these are just the tip of the eco-berg. Grist has been the home of many others, including “eco-troubadour,” “eco-spasm,” “eco-sin,” “mega-eco-economics,” and “not-so-eco-doodad.”

Mostly, the proliferation of these words can be considered a good thing. If people weren’t increasingly eco-friendly, they wouldn’t dream up eco-museum... Read more

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