News - December 21, 2016

Choose the WUR Term of the Year

Lieke de Kwant

Mars gardener, walk alarm, diet potato, meat roof or hemp chewing gum. Which of these five new WUR terms sounds most imaginative and best sums up the hot topics in Wageningen in 2016? Vote for your favourite Wageningen neologism!

photo: Shutterstock/Vincent Koperdraat

It’s not always possible to capture new phenomena using existing words, so language is constantly evolving with dozens of new terms appearing every year. Today, the Dutch Van Dale dictionary chose treitervlogger (a harassing vlogger) as the new Dutch Word of 2016, while Britain’s Oxford Dictionaries recently selected post-truth as the best new English word of the year.

New words and terms appear every year at Wageningen University & Research too. That is why Resource has decided to organize a competition this year for the first time for the WUR Term of the Year. The editors have gone through every issue of the magazine in 2016 and browsed in order to track down all the novel terms that appeared. That resulted in a list of ten lexicological innovations in English, including fruit juice fraud (cheap juice masquerading as the expensive stuff), varroa killer (bacterium that students converted to kill varroa mites), to WUR (to say ‘WUR’), flex student (student who is allowed to pay tuition fees based on ECTS credits because of special circumstances) and bio-informer (a plant or animal that betrays the presence of a poison, for instance).

Resource’s editors selected five terms from this list that we feel are creative and appealing as well as giving a good impression of the issues that have been occupying WUR students and staff (see the list of nominated terms).

Readers have until Friday 6 January to vote for their favourite term on the shortlist (use the poll on the English homepage).

We will reveal the winning neologism on Thursday 12 January.


Diet potato: Spud that is more difficult to digest, potentially making it a good option for people trying to lose weight.

Hemp chewing gum: Chewing gum containing cannamidiol (CBD), which might benefit people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Meat roof: An idea proposed by students for small-scale livestock farming in cities.

Mars gardener: Researcher Wieger Wamelink, who is growing edible vegetables in imitation Mars soil. This won him the Klokhuis Science Prize.

Walk alarm: New name that HR consultant Cor Meurs and Hermien Miltenburg from Communication Services gave to the monthly midday siren in an attempt to encourage people to go for a walk at lunchtime.