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Welcome to the Human Nature Dictionary!

Browse the definitions here

The Human Nature Dictionary is an inclusive, open-content, creative project to which all are welcome to contribute words, images, and definitions that describe how human activity and nature unintentionally intersect, interact, or merge. The Dictionary is part of an on-going effort to catalyze a reconsideration of humans’ relationship to the natural world.

These new words describe mundane entities, extreme occurrences, unusual phenomena, and actions and descriptives of all kinds. An every-day example is “root-kilter”, a term we coined to describe the way a tree root slowly pushes up a slab of sidewalk. Another example is “act of man”, a phrase Canadian scientist David Suzuki has used to describe a human-triggered weather catastrophe. We are coining these new words to emphasize that language and culture are collectively created and held. This work is also a counter-measure to the removal of nature-oriented words from the established cannon, described by Robert Macfarlane in his article Landspeak. Prompted by this shift, the Human Nature Dictionary proposes not simply to reintroduce words about nature, but to create new language that shows that humans and nature are part of the same pan-natural system, and that our fates are inextricably merged.

Feel free to contribute words, definitions, or images! Anything from the funny to the sublime is welcome, from contributors of all ages. Browse the definitions for inspiration! You can email us your idea for posting, or, if you'd like to add to the wiki, we can give you a user account. If you have a word but no definition, send that! Or if you have a definition or image that needs word coining, send it in! We’ll be happy to post your contribution and attribute it as you prefer. As with Wikipedia, your contributed content to the Human Nature Dictionary becomes part of a creative commons.

We also welcome discussion about the project itself, it's efficacy and implications, historical and cultural referents, and possible directions it may take. Feel free to join in there as well.

Thanks for visiting the Human Nature Dictionary and participating in re-shaping our culture through re-shaping language.

Freedom Baird, Project Coordinator