Archive for the ‘Verbing’ Category

Verbing the Second Amendment

December 31, 2014

On ADS-L, a report from Wilson Gray of a headline

Gun-Nut 2nd-Amendments Wife to Death

(The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is the “right to bear arms” amendment.)

I didn’t find Wilson’s source, but I did find something similar (by searching under “gun-nut second-amendments”), in this comment from John Clifford on Facebook about a story “One Policeman Dead, One Injured In Barracks Shooting”, here:

I get the whole laughing when a douchebag gun nut second amendments himself but a person being murdered while trying to do their job to protect us is never funny.

Meanwhile, Ben Zimmer linked on ADS-L to Nancy Friedman’s nominations for the ADS 2014 Words of the Year, with two more cites.

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Verbing awry

December 12, 2014

(Warning: sexually explicit language. Not for kids or the modest.)

Passed on by Robert Coren, this message from the South Dakota Office of Highway Safety:

Looks like they were aiming for the verbing jerk ‘be a jerk, be an obnoxious person’, but missed the potential ambiguity with the jerk of the sexual idiom jerk off ‘jack off, masturbate’.

[Correction: it seems I was wrong about the SDOHS’s intentions, though the ambiguity problem remains. Reader isotopeblue writes:

Actually, if you go to http://www.drivesafesd.com/, it appears they’re concerned with jerking the wheel, not verbing the noun “jerk” for an aggressive driver.]

[Further developments: Chris Ambidge on Facebook reports that they’ve pulled the ad.”Officials have admitted that the double entendre was intentional”, with this news report:

public safety campaign in South Dakota backfired when officials heard its “Don’t Jerk and Drive” push and forced them to pull the ad.
Officials admitted the double entendre was intentional, the Sioux Falls Argus-Leader reported in its story.
The campaign was based on raising awareness of jerking the steering wheel on icy roads. But, “jerk” also has other sexual meanings.
Department of Public Safety Secretary Trevor Jones said in a statement that he pulled the ad. “This is an important safety message, and I don’t want this innuendo to distract from our goal to save lives on the road.”

Several readers have noted that the story is a lot less fun if the double entendre was intentional.]

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Word play, some of it uncomfortable

December 4, 2014

The “Back Talk: A Conversation About Words” column (by Ralph Keyes) in the American Scholar for Autumn 2014 takes up two topics: “E pluribus unum”, on invented portmanteaus submitted by readers (one of which is a bit uncomfortable for me); and “The -ize have it”, on verbing via -ize, with an invitation to readers to submit their own inventions.

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Leslie Feinberg, verbing, and pronouns

November 19, 2014

From The Advocate website on the 17th, this death notice:

Transgender Pioneer and Stone Butch Blues [1993] Author Leslie Feinberg Has Died

She was a pioneer in trans and lesbian issues, workers rights, and intersectionality long before anyone could define the phrase. Her partner [of 22 years], Minnie Bruce Pratt, and [her] family [of choice] offered us this obituary:

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Language nerd

November 6, 2014

The xkcd, Language Nerd, for the 5th:

A little festival of part-of-speech conversion, with adverbing, verbing, and adjectiving. The verbs to adverb, to verb, and to adjective are, of course, themselves all verbings of nouns.

(The mouseover text introduces still another grammatical topic: “Not to go all sentence fragment on you…”)

Then there’s the construction in go (all) X (on s.o.), where X is a nominal — here, a N + N compound (language nerd, sentence fragment) — converted to an adverbial in construction with the verb go.

There I am, going (all) linguist (on you).

Verbing the bumpkin

November 4, 2014

From the NYT Magazine on Sunday the 2nd, a piece, “The Bumpkinification of the Midterm Election” by Mark Leibovich, in which bumpkin ‘an awkward fellow, a clown’ is verbed, by -ify in the title, by -ize in the body of the piece, and by zero conversion (or direct verbing) as well. The piece is also intriguing for its reporting on the rhetoric of politics.

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Morphology Friday 3: the verbing screen-shot

October 3, 2014

From Dennis Preston yesterday, a report from the Twitterverse on Wednsday (10/1), in which:

Apparently a Grand Jury member in the Ferguson [MO] shooting put up a message which suggested outside contact and immediately took it down. But not before somebody “screenshotted” it.

From @ShaunKing:

Within seconds of posting this, her friends told her to delete it and she did. It was screenshotted first.

Start with the N + N compound screenshot. Then verb it (convert it directly to a verb), to get to screenshot, which will then be inflected regularly, to give PST/PSP screenshotted.

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to shallow

September 16, 2014

From the 9/6 New Scientist, in a letter from Bruce Denness (p. 28):

The tank shallowed towards one corner so that deep-water waves … began to break as they approached the shallow corner.

That’s the inchoative verb to shallow ‘to become, get shallow(er)’ — a direct verbing (or zero conversion) of the adjective shallow. I’m not agin verbings (unlike a number of peevers, who are driven into rages by them), and this one serves a real purpose, but it was new to me. It’s also venerable, and has even made it into NOAD2.

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Ruthie verbs away

July 1, 2014

A recent One Big Happy:

Ruthie is verbing names of locations: shed, porch. Granting that she’s a cartoon character, we can nevertheless speculate that she’d heard the verb shed and connected it to the familiar noun shed. Then porch by analogy.

Three more diverse

May 24, 2014

Three recent cartoons on divergent subjects: a Bizarro with language play turning on ambiguity; a Scenes From a Multiverse with metacommentary by the characters; and another classic Watergate Doonesbury, from 1974, with the denominal verb to stonewall.

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