The process of using a noun as if it were a verb. One of the most common examples is accessing. Very common in press releases from companies like Apple and Microsoft, where everything is leveraged all over the place in order to grow units.

As Calvin said: "Verbing weirds language"

The process of using a noun in such a way that it becomes a verb. Ironically, the phrase "verbing nouns" itself contains a verbed form of the noun "verb". The following phrases also contain verbed nouns:

One frequently verbed noun which really bugs me is leverage.
"We need to leverage this situation" The verb should be lever, the associated noun is leverage. This has been hijacked by the PHBs of the IT industry..

An example from Scottish dialect could be chum.
"Jimmy, will you chum us to the station?"

"Verbing a word": the practice of changing an ordinary word into an action word. Can be especially confusing to English teachers.

One of my favorite examples comes from my second year lab. I asked someone to mass something for me. Strange thing is, he understood completely. I needed its mass, not its weight (weight being a measure of the force of gravity upon an object).

You can verb practically any word. I have a friend that contests that you cannot verb the word "verb", but I have verbed it many, many times in this node alone. Some difficult-to-verb words: toilet, shirt, Coca-cola, etc. There are some very fun words to verb as well - mass being one, CD, notebook, etc. There are many others.

Verbing words is common practice in the hard sciences, where we aren't forced to speak REAL English very often, because it's just not adequate in any case.

Verbing is also a theatrical technique for actors. It involves reading through a script and applying a verb to each sentence or section of the play.

So each sentence of a paragraph might have a different verbage under this system. The beginning sentence might be "to hook", while another further in might be "to anger" or "to inspire", etc. It helps the actor formulate how they're reacting or pushing at various points in the script.

There's actually a linguistic term that describes this, and it's called zero derivation. We can get away with verbing (well, sorta) in English because we've lost most of our inflection: instead of determining word class from some modification of a root, we usually infer it from word order, particles, prepositions, and auxilliary verbs. This makes English an analytic language as opposed to a primarily synthetic language such as German or Russian.

In linguistics, derivational morphology is the study of how inflections change word class, e.g., adding -ish to create an adjective from a noun. (The study of how words change to reflect number, tense, possession, etc., but retain the same word class is called inflectional morphology). Thus, zero derivation means that a word has changed class without any morphological change.

As an aside, zero derivation also permits us to noun verbs, but no one gets bent out of shape by this.

Here are some words I'd like to verb, and some sentences to illustrate their necessity.

Religion should be verbed.

    "Please stop religioning me."

Bible should be verbed.
    "But to be saved you must be Bibled!"

Oatmeal should be verbed.
Satan should be verbed.
    "If you don't get saved, you'll be Sataned!"

Anvil should be verbed.
    "If you don't get out of my house, I'm going to anvil your head."

Literature should be verbed.
    "Okay, if you're not receptive at the moment, at least let me literature you. Please read this tract at your convenience."

Landfill should be verbed.
    "Sure, you can just put it on the table with the week-old newspapers. I'll landfill it later."

Heaven and Hell should be verbed.
    "Aren't you a little closed-minded when we're talking about something as important as getting Heavened or Helled?"

Buddha should be verbed.
    "Well, I already have a religion, maybe we could discuss. May I Buddha you first?"

Jesus Christ should be verbed.
    "Certainly not! I came here to Jesus Christ you, not to listen to talk of false gods!"

Door should be verbed.
    "In that case, you are no longer welcome. Don't let your ass get doored on the way out!"

Disclaimer: I am not Buddhist or Christian, though Jesus Christers have attempted to save me from being Sataned on numerous occasions . . .

Verbing nouns has become something of an epidemic in North America over the past decade. It is indicative of the generally pitiful state of the English language in our societies, and I think it high time to start pointing fingers.

The popular media do nothing to help promulgate proper English (be it either spoken or written), and academics have done more than their fare share to worsen the situation. However, IMHO the single worst offenders are the technocrats: those who either produce and/or profit from technology in general, and more specifically computers. In keeping pace with the ever mounting workload and the loss of time, technocrats have taken it upon themselves to speed up communication by mangling the language. Here are some common examples:

  • As wonko points out, input is not a verb, but is often used as one.
  • Access is not a verb; it is a noun, as in something one has. One does not access a database; one has access to said database.
  • Webify. Dear *od people, that's not even comprehensible!
  • Obsoleted, as in "OSS has been obsoleted as a sound standard." This usage has the added problem of being in the passive voice. In all cases, something has become obsolete.
It's common mistakes like these that have driven many an English professor to drink or opium. In fact, my first-year writing and logic professor would literally tremble at the thought of having to perform what she politely called "missionary work": her class with the engineering undergrads.
And for those who feel inclined to soft-link this to the grammar nazi node, don't bother. I've done it myself.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.