The Christmas season isn’t the only thing arriving earlier every year.

This year, the Oxford University Press apprently decided to get a jump on its “Word of the Year” competitors by designating “Locavore” as the 2007 word of the year — despite the fact 2007’s not over yet.

What’s a locavore?

The word locavore shows how food-lovers can enjoy what they eat while still appreciating the impact they have on the environment, said Ben Zimmer, editor for American dictionaries at Oxford University Press.

Its significant in that it brings together eating and ecology in a new way. Locavore was coined two years ago by a group of four women in San Francisco who proposed that local residents should try to eat only food grown or produced within a 100-mile radius.

Some of the more memorable runnersup included:

bacn: email notifications, such as news alerts and social networking updates, that are considered more desirable than unwanted “spam” (coined at PodCamp Pittsburgh in Aug. 2007 and popularized in the blogging community)

cougar: an older woman who romantically pursues younger men

mumblecore: an independent film movement featuring low-budget production, non-professional actors, and largely improvised dialogue

social graph: the network of one’s friends and connections on social websites such as Facebook and Myspace

With several “Word of the Year” competitions still to be decided, I’m holding out hope for “snaprage” — a word I coined to describe the moment you reach your breaking point when navigating a Web page befouled with those irritating Snap Preview links.

The Underground waits with bated breath. Keep writing, Tom Chandler.

p.s. — The American Dialect Society is still accepting nominations for their 2007 Word of the Year.