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greenwashing, n.

Brit. Hear pronunciation/ˈɡriːnwɒʃɪŋ/
U.S. Hear pronunciation/ˈɡrinˌwɔʃɪŋ/
Hear pronunciation/ˈɡrinˌwɑʃɪŋ/
Frequency (in current use):  Show frequency band information
Origin: Formed within English, by derivation. Etymons: greenwash v., -ing suffix1.
Etymology: < greenwash v. + -ing suffix1. Compare earlier greenwash n.

  The creation or propagation of an unfounded or misleading environmentalist image. Cf. greenwash v.

1990   Orange County (Calif.) Register (Nexis) 5 Apr. a10   The activists will keep a booth outside the fair and continue to fight what the group calls ‘greenwashing’ by large corporations who tell the public they are working for the environment while continuing to pollute.
1991   Garbage Jan. 57/1   Others dismiss the company's environmental efforts as ‘greenwashing’.
1997   Sierra Apr. 21/1   Until a green tag on new carpeting represents more than greenwashing, consumers should stick with natural fibers.
2001   Dollars & Sense (Electronic ed.) Jan.   Given the history of industry hostility to emission controls, changed public statements can easily be dismissed as cynical posturing or ‘greenwashing’.

1990—2001(Hide quotations)


This entry has been updated (OED Third Edition, June 2011; most recently modified version published online December 2022).