[ green-wosh, -wawsh ]

verb (used with object)
  1. to disingenuously incorporate into (a brand, campaign, mission, etc.) a position or agenda that promotes environmentalism, as a ploy to divert attention from policies and activities that are in fact antienvironmentalist: Energy lobbyists are attempting to greenwash the industry’s environmental impact while laying out a propolluter policy agenda.

  2. to deceive (a consumer) by presenting a product, practice, or policy as more environmentally friendly than it is: Young people care about the environmental impact of tourism, and the cruise line hasn’t been able to greenwash these potential customers.

  1. greenwashing: We’ve ranked the climate policies and fossil fuel divestment of the largest “sustainable” funds to help you cut through the greenwash with your investments.

Origin of greenwash

First recorded in 1985–90; green (in the sense “environmentally beneficial”) + (brain)wash or (white)wash

Words Nearby greenwash Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

British Dictionary definitions for greenwash


/ (ˈɡriːnˌwɒʃ) /

  1. a superficial or insincere display of concern for the environment that is shown by an organization

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012