Annals of regularization: deepfreezed

On ADS-L on Sunday, Wilson Gray posted about an occurrence of PSP deepfreezed, adding that it was kind of like frigidaired or refrigeratored. The history turns out to be complex.

Point 1: the noun deep-freeze / deep freeze / deepfreeze was originally a trade name (like Frigidaire); from OED2:

(Written Deep-freeze.) The registered American trade-name of a type of refrigerator capable of rapid freezing. Hence, a refrigerator or process in which food can be quickly frozen and stored almost indefinitely at a very low temperature. Also attrib.

[first cite] 1941   Official Gaz. (U.S. Patent Office) 8 July 260/2   Deepfreeze. For Refrigerating Apparatus and Parts Thereof.

Point 2: the noun was quickly (by 1951) genericized (and lower-cased), and also extended:

‘Cold storage’; suspension of activity; suspended animation. Also attrib. [1949 on]

Point 3: the noun was soon verbed:

trans. To subject to a deep-freeze process; to refrigerate; also transf. and fig.

Now, you’d expect that since the noun was originally a proper name, it would be treated as a unit and would take regular inflection: PST Deepfreezed, PSP Deepfreezed.  But genericization seems to have happened so quickly that the OED‘s first cite for the verb (1957) already treats it as a compound V with freeze as its head, so it inherits the inflectional morphology of freeze (PST deepfroze, PSP deepfrozen):

If the cook deep-froze the body, he knew about the murder.

Point 4, a side note: Frigidaire has also been genericized, and (but very infrequently) verbed:

Across, I sat me down and felt my feet were frigidaired.
And blue-blushed hands reminded me my gloves were pocket-snared. [poem] (link)

it’s freezing but I refuse to admit it’s still winter, thus my poor fingers are frigidaired into clumsiness (link)

Point 5: there are examples, in scientific writing, of the V deepfreeze ‘put in a deep freeze’ with regularized inflection:

Musculus quadriceps fexoris of C57BL/6 mice were deepfreezed by placing liquid nitrogen and transferred into -70℃ refrigerator until determination. (link)

I don’t know anything about the language background of the writer here, but most of the literal instances are probably from non-native speakers — from French, Hungarian, German, Chinese, and Japanese sources.

There’s also some regularization for clearly metaphorical uses (compare mouse, pl. mice, with the metaphorical computer mouse, which often has the regularized pl. mouses):

Action was moved indoors to the St. James Courts in St. Charles County. The indoor climate failed to warm up the Riverwomen, though, as they were deepfreezed by the visiting NEMO squad eight matches to one. (link)

Point 6: and then there are regularized examples (a substantial number of them) in a computer context, like this one:

This works great on staff machines, and public machines are deepfreezed so it is not a worry. (link)

However, this turns out not to be simple regularization, but inflection on a proper name (which would be expected to be regular), as in:

We can’t install or download anything period, and they are DeepFreezed, so they go back to whatever state they want nightly. (link)

but we are putting Deepfreeze this time on them, and i want to know if its possible to enforce network saving some how. i’ve seen it done at our collage where all the machines are DeepFreezed, even though they are allowed to download to the local machine, it threw up a notice saying that all locally saved files would be deleted on reboot. (link)

These are references to Deep Freeze software:

Deep Freeze provides the ultimate workstation protection by creating a “frozen” snapshot of a workstation’s configuration and settings.

Each time you restart your machine, Deep Freeze restores your computer to this desired “frozen” state. (link)

Point 7, another side matter: refrigerator has been verbed (as ‘put in(to) a refrigerator’), and its PST/PSP forms are of course refrigeratored. There are many examples, some close to refrigerated:

Why does pork sausage need to be refrigeratored for 12 hours? (link)

some further away:

No. The first episode of Supernatural cannot end with Sam’s girlfriend dying in the same manner as his mother, motivating him to join Dean.

I cannot allow that to be true.

I can maybe deal with one refrigeratored woman in an episode. But two? (link)

Summary:  The proper names Deepfreeze (for a refrigerator of 1940s vintage) and Deep Freeze (for software of much more recent vintage) have both been verbed. The first verb has only occasionally been regularized, but the second appears to be usually regularized.


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: