Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Wind Farm Terminology

Wind farms seem to be making the headlines on a regular basis these days. There was an article in the June issue of Fast Company Magazine about a Texas tycoon named T. Boone Pickens who is building the "worlds largest wind farm," and there have also been numerous specials on television recently spotlighting wind farms.

I think that harnessing the power of the wind is a wonderful thing and a big positive for the environment. However, I can't seem to get over my problem with the term wind farm. I have always thought of farms as places where things are grown or raised. Wind can not be grown or raised; it is a product of nature. At any rate, I decided to look up the definition of the noun farm and the listing that was most applicable to the term wind farm was the seventh out of seven listings at Merriam-Webster OnLine:

An area containing a number of similar structures or objects (as radio antennas or storage tanks).

Reading this definition I can somewhat understand why the term was coined as a wind farm does have many similar structures - the turbines. However, with this in mind, I still find the term wind farm problematic. In my opinion, a better and more semantically accurate name for this "area containing a number of similar structures or objects" would be a turbine farm.

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