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Cropchoice Opinion...
It's Official: Frankenfood is a Word

(11 August - Cropchoice Opinion) - It's official. The high and mighty lords of the English language have given the thumbs up to frankenfood.

But pro-GMO forces better not get too excited. No, literature professors have not come out in favor of biotech. Instead, the Editors of the Oxford English Dictionary have decided to include the word "frankenfood" in their latest edition.

Students everywhere can now write "frankenfood" in their essays without shame or fear of their teacher's red pens. Pretty soon, frankenfood might be in Microsoft's spell-checker right out of the box.

Frankenfoods are, as you would expect, defined as food items containing genetically modified ingredients.

To be fair, there's not a lot of practical impact on the GMO debate to have frankenfood as an official word. The term is definitely emotional, not scientific. The editors of the Oxford dictionary focus mainly on the UK. And they aren't really lords, although their important and influential dictionary is often called the "bible" of English language.

Nor do the Oxford editors have say over which words are used in daily conversation. Says a senior editor, "our primary aim is one of description rather than prescription." The Oxford folks decide what terms to include by deciding if new words are likely to "stand the test of time" and through "primary research covering hundreds of publications and electronic databases from around the world".

Looks like they found frankenfood in a lot of databases. No word on whether or not they're considering "tree hugger"; but frankenfood's inclusion is a clear sign that popular consciouness of biotech food appears here to stay.

SOURCE: Reuters, OED.com