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At least the definition of 'fracking' won't be the subject of debate

May 20, 2014

Hydraulic fracturing may always be a controversial mining process, but at least everyone can now agree on a definition for “fracking,” the word that has become the most typically used in discussions about it.

Fracking joined more than 100 other words added to “Miriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary” for its 2014 edition as the dictionary’s editors update the publication to keep up with the ever-evolving English language.

Most of the attention for this year’s additions focused on those focused on social networking — such as “selfie” and “hashtag” and, for that matter, the phrase “social networking” itself.

Fracking is now officially defined as: “The injection of fluid into shale beds at high pressure in order to free up petroleum resources (such as oil or natural gas).” The process has been behind a massive increase in oil and gas production in North America, used in shale field production in North Dakota, Texas and the new region falling into the states of Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

And, by the way, in the new edition, fracking will come right after the definition for “fracas: a noisy argument or fight,” which somehow seems appropriate.