[Ads-l] Early WOTY Contender: Snow Farm

Mon Mar 2 00:45:16 UTC 2015

If the 2015 word of the year vote were held tomorrow, "snow farm" would probably be a strong contender, although no doubt it will be forgotten by January 2016, unless that is a similarly snowy winter.  The term apparently originates in the Boston area and refers to a lot where snow from highways, etc., is stored until it melts, whether through natural processes or artificial means.  

The earliest example I see is from the Channel 2 News on WESH-TV (NBC) in, implausibly, Orlando, Florida, Jan. 1, 2011 (via NewsBank):  "In Boston, open lots and park spacer are now designated snow farm.  We have a lot of snow we have to put it some place.  We are fortunate enough to identify some lots of land that we can put it in."

The term seems to have first become popular in 2011, for some value of popular; NewsBank has 20 references to "snow farm" from February 2011, all in or in reference to Massachusetts.  Of course, there are far more 2015 references.  A 2/26/2015 story in the Christian Science Monitor discusses the term and concludes that it is appropriate, noting that "farm" originally meant a solid business arrangement and only later came to mean something growing out of the earth.

John Baker

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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