Short shot #29: a big give

More on the nouning front, continuing the theme from recent postings on the nouns open (as in “a cold open”, here) and quit (as in “your next quit”, here) and harking back to a Language Log posting from last year on the noun ask (as in “a big ask”): the noun give, which got some press last year thanks to Oprah Winfrey’s (short-lived) reality series Big Give, in which contestants (supplied with a considerable amount of money) vied for the title of America’s greatest unknown philanthropist.

There are quite a few sites devoted to giving challenges and reports of gifts and using expressions like “a big give” and “a huge give”, as in these comments here:

Giving gifts instead of receiving gifts for your birthday … someone else on here said they started doing that, and I think it is an awesome idea.
It’s cool that you got a huge give from a stranger …

simply wonderful!!! what a good man and a loving give to a stranger.

super birthday present and give!

Some of these sites use all three of the nouns gift, give, and giving, and sometimes present orĀ contribution as well. These might be subtly different in meaning.

(OED2 has a noun give, but in the sense ‘a yielding, giving way’, a nouning of the verb give ‘yield, give way’.)

5 Responses to “Short shot #29: a big give”

  1. John Cowan Says:

    The earlier give is nicely illustrated here: “There’s no give in this nut.” “That’s because it’s ceramic, shithead. Finger-tighten only!”

  2. mollymooly Says:

    Gift has already been verbed. I would have thought the nouning of give might complete the division of labour between the words, but I’m not sure how noun-give differs from noun-gift. I suppose when I encounter it more often I’ll work it out.

  3. The Ridger Says:

    It seems to me that the noun “give” has more emphasis on the process than “gift” which is more the thing being given. “The Big Give” was all about the givers giving, as opposed to the things they gave…

  4. arnoldzwicky Says:

    To The Ridger: yes, something like this distinction (process/action vs. the result/product) was what first occurred to me; this would represent an incredibly widespread set of alternative interpretations for abstract nominals of all kinds. But I don’t use the expressions myself and have little feel for the conveyed subtleties, so I didn’t speculate. But it would be worth looking at.

  5. Postings on nounings « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] AZBlog, 12/14/09: A big give (link) […]

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