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?