Annals of verbing: to long-press

Benjamin Barrett, back on the 21st, posting to ADS-L:

Apple has just released iOS 9.3, which includes the verb to long-press:

Show thumbnails instead of large images and attachments by long-pressing on any image or attachment in a note

Long-press on an Evernote Export file to import its contents into Notes

We first get the nominal long press as a specialized technical term in the mobile phone industry; there’s evidence (see below) that this goes back at least to 2004. I don’t follow this literature, but Barrett’s is the first report of a verbing so far.

Earlier on this blog: a 8/30/12 posting “to long grass”, where I note verbings of multi-word expressions: multi-word proper names; many compound nouns; and a few Adj + N composites:

From my files: double whammy, open source, social network, and instant hold. And now long grass. [later: Second Anendment]

Now there is a Page listing postings on this blog about verbings. Just my postimgs, on some examples that in some way caught my attention.

Back to ADS-L. Following up on Ben Barrett’s posting, a poster using just the name Hugo wrote yesrerday:

Long-press as a verb has been mobile industry jargon for some time.

He gives two exanples from a 2004 memorandum from Christian Lindholm, director of user interfaces at Nokia from 1995 to 2005. But these turn out to be nominals, not verbs. The first is in a header, which is clearly written in headlinese, with articles suppressed:

Long press on right softkey enables voice commands

That is: ‘A long press on the right softkeye enables voice commands’.

The other is from the body of text, and has an article:

A long press on number keys 0-9 in alpha mode creates a number entry without changing the input mode.

Nice evidence for technical uses of the nominal back in 2004 at least, but no evidence here about the verbing. Not that the verbing would be any surprise: people verb away happily all the time, and in this case the verbing makes sense:  to long-press is more compact than an alternative with a nominal, along the lines of to use a long press.


2 Responses to “Annals of verbing: to long-press”

  1. Éamonn McManus Says:

    By searching for “long press the” I found plenty of old examples, for example this from 2006:
    “Long press” means to press and hold a button

    Long press the small, flat, textured On/Off button…

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