Daily prompt: Monologuing on the subject of verbing

Daily Prompt
Play Lexicographer
Create a new word and explain its meaning and etymology.

Geez, I don’t know. I have enough trouble keeping up with the words that already exist, without inventing new ones. And besides, new ones get thrown into the language every day with no effort on my part. Ah me! Life is a constant learning curve! Which is good, really. Keeps the language alive, and keeps us on our toes in our old age.

But there are some words I absolutely and categorically refuse to accept and will continue to reject however widespread they become: the ones invented by pollies, businesspeople and the like, to make them sound frightfully smart, literate and 21st century (they think), when really, they just underline what pompous, pretentious, self-important twats their users really are.

Most of these words fall into the category of verbing – which is itself one of them: the craze for turning poor, inoffensive nouns into verbs. And yes, I know this has been going on forever. Access, for example, started life as a noun, but using it as a verb as well was valid, because no other single word existed to cover gaining access to. And workshopping popped up to describe a newly-common practice. But dialoguing? Conferencing, securitising, transitioning, trending, concretising, gifting? And as for medalling
Commentator: And Cheranity Bloggs has medalled in the 100 metres freestyle!
Listener: How can you meddle in an Olympic race? Nobble the opposition?

Or what about this:
Me: Would you signature (or even signaturise) my copy of ‘Great Expectation’ please Mr Dickens?
Dickens: (Long pause.) What?

But there’s one example of ‘verbing’ that will linger in Australian hearts forever, as the most appalling, outrageous, obnoxious, ill-judged and altogether cringe-worthy representative of the species ever dredged up from the sludgy depths of the pollie mind: our current PM’s announced intention ‘to shirtfront Vladimir Putin.’

What can I say?


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14 Responses to Daily prompt: Monologuing on the subject of verbing

  1. bkpyett says:

    Well done, I love the way you can think of so many ways the language has been vandalised.
    As for Abbott, in the paper today they referred to him,… ‘former boxer can do little more than, as he himself put it, “cop it on the chin”.’ He at least won’t last as leader. I’m waiting for him to be shirtfronted!

  2. Fran Macilvey says:

    LOL! Great stuff, Helen! 😀 xxx

  3. Bravo, Helen! I despise this current phase in the devolution of our beautiful language. Favorite bit of this post? Dickens’ “long pause.” I love it when you get fired up!!

  4. Noah Weiss says:

    That is funny, because it is somewhat salient to me. On a review of a paper, I had essentially turned the numerical reference of a paper into a noun. It’s a little bit different from changing a noun to a verb, but it’s the same idea.

    Politicians and sportscasters say the darnedest things.

  5. The Scribe says:

    Forget nouns or verbs. Here’s one I thought was laughable. Clearly ‘New Age’ and all that rubbish but really?
    Obesenogenic – describing the lifestyle of people with obese tendencies.

  6. Shirt front? As in … to grab by the front of the shirt?

    We all have a particular un-favorite. Garry’s is the substitution of “get” for all other verbs.

    Mine is “prioritize.” I set my OWN priorities, thank you very much.

    • I’ve probably got far too many un-favourites – the indescriminate use of ‘just’ is another one – but sadly, I think we’re a dying race in the ‘anything goes’ society.
      And yes, that ‘shirtfront’. Hoots of derision still echo, but the man is totally insulated in impenetrable layes of self-righteous arrogance.

  7. Aunt Beulah says:

    You’ve said enough and said it well. I would like to add incentivize as in The coach does a good job of incentiving his players. What happened to motivate?

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