The inevitable verbing

On ADS-L on the 8th, Garson O’Toole reported two instances of a new verb drone ‘attack with a drone, kill by a drone’. The verbing was inevitable, given the current controversy over drone attacks, especially on US citizens abroad.

Garson’s examples, both from titles (where brevity is important, so verbing is a useful tool). First, from a article:

How Obama Transformed an Old Military Concept So He Can Drone Americans [by Spencer Ackerman, 2/5/13]

Then from the Washington Examiner:

Mark Tapscott: Would Lincoln have droned Robert E. Lee? [2/7/13]

A few more examples, again in contexts where brevity is favored. Two from the Twitterverse:

@sibzianna: ‪@AJEnglish ‪@AlJazeeraCafe HELL NO! He promised us he would END ALL THE WARS and HES STARTED MORE AND DRONED AMERICANS TO DEATH! (link)

@pessoptimistic: West would be rightly outraged had Putin droned #Russia-n citizens outside of Russia. Obama has droned US citizens #pussyriot (link)

And one from a forum (in a passive):

Get ready to be droned, US citizens. (link)

Plus multiple uses in a longer text, from Allan Levene, Republican candidate for Congress in Georgia’s 11th district, 2/6/13:

If you’re thinking that I approve of our current policy of droning suspected militants or terrorists in houses where our government claims that only militants are killed, and no innocent people are, I don’t.

I don’t approve of our administration claiming that every person killed is by definition a militant or terrorist so that the use of those Hellfire missiles is reasonable. I know that it’s easy to play drone video games over here and not risk any of our people, but this indiscriminate use of drones is unconscionable.

I know that the administration can now and in the future, kill U.S. citizens overseas by claiming that it’s legal. It is becoming the new normal. Our government droned al-Awlaki’s 16 year old Colorado born son, two weeks after droning his father. It’s like a fox guarding the hen-house and saying that it is authorized to eat the chickens by waiving [sic] a piece of paper written by another fox.




One Response to “The inevitable verbing”

  1. On Politics and Language Says:

    Reblogged this on On Politics and Language.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: