The Zits-bath

A weekend cartoon: Jeremy, over in Zits, accuses his mother of having given his iPhone a spit bath:

but he does it with a direct verbing, of the compound noun spit(-)bath ‘a bath using spit’, rather than using the noun-noun compound as an object in a ditransitive construction (“give my iPhone a spit-bath”, “give a spit-bath to my iPhone”). As usual, the verbing is shorter and more direct.

An entertaining cite of the verbing from the web:

”The best thing about being a Melbourne girl is coming to a function like this and ending up covered with a face full of red lipstick kisses,” Gabby said as she attempted to spit-bath her kiss off me. (link)

3 Responses to “The Zits-bath”

  1. Jonathan Lundell Says:

    I’d have thought “spit-bathe”.

    [(amz) Another live option, using the “morphologically” derived verb bathe rather than the direct, or zero-derived, causative. But bathe has become significantly detached from actual baths (as in sunbathe and bathing suit) and in any case has diverged semantically from ‘give a bath to’ (bathing an iPhone in spit is not at all the same as giving a bath in spit to an iPhone), once we get away from bathing babies.

  2. Jonathan Lundell Says:

    My sense (no research) is that ‘bathe’ is live enough to block the verbing of ‘bath’ on its own; the verbing of ‘spit-bath’ comes more naturally.

  3. Cyanide and Happiness roundup | Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] of the compound peer pressure. Some other verbings of compound nouns on this blog: spit-bath (here), catwalk (here), guinea pig […]

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