Is it greenlighted or greenlit? Is there a correct one or are both acceptable?

  • I've seen "greenlighted". Don't recall seeing "greenlit" (which might be confused for "green literature"). – Hot Licks Sep 19 '19 at 22:14
  • When an irregular noun or verb is reified into a fixed phrase or compound, it becomes regular. It's the Toronto Maple Leafs, for instance, not *Maple Leaves; the name has nothing to do with leaves. As for greenlight, it's a new word, so it'll take a century or so to settle down. But whatever the past tense winds up as, does anybody think the past participle can be greenlit? E.g, *He has greenlit more movies than anybody else – John Lawler Sep 19 '19 at 23:51
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    I would say "greenlighted" personally. The term seems to be derived from traffic lights or indicator lights and "greenlit" sounds more like "illuminated with green light" than "showed the green light" which, I believe to be the intention. – BoldBen Sep 20 '19 at 0:41
  • Probably related to this answer (about another compound of ‘lit’/‘lighted’). My impression was that ‘-lighted’ was more of a US form, and ‘-lit’ was more common here in the UK — but the figures don't seem to bear that out. – gidds Sep 20 '19 at 8:20

Both are in use, with greenlit being slightly more common than greenlighted according to COCA (32 vs 21 hits).

See for yourself by searching for greenli*.


Probably is "Greenlighted"

reference: So far three directors have greenlighted the project.

This meaning is based on one submitted to the Open Dictionary by: Boris Marchenko from Russian Federation on 30/08/2015

  • Can you provide a link? – jimm101 Sep 19 '19 at 23:13

Either use is acceptable: TFD

tr.v. greenlighted or greenlit

As in:

"[He] commissioned the pilot that became 'Captain Kangaroo' and greenlighted the series" (Variety).


1992 Premiere Feb. 47/2 There he green-lit both The Silence of the Lambs and The Addams Family.


According to Wiktionary, both are acceptable: greenlight.

Google n-grams shows that by 2008 (when the data ends), greenlighted was used about 2.3 times as often as greenlit.

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