It’s easy to blame Google for our tendency to turn nouns into verbs. We all say, “Just Google it,” instead of “Search it on Google.” This inclination, however, goes back a long way.
The word “rain” was verbified before the 12th century, according to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. Long before Google became a verb, someone had coined “gerrymander” back in 1812, also according to the dictionary. The word came from Massachusetts Gov. Elbridge Gerry, who made famous the process of drawing electoral districts in a way that gives a political party an advantage.
Whether we like it or not, verbing or verbification is here to stay. Let’s take a look at some of the common words.
- Blog (write for a blog)
- Bookmark (create a shortcut to a Web site)
- Email (send an email message)
- Friend or Unfriend (from Facebook)
- Google (search on Google)
- Message (send an instant message)
- Skype (send a message on Skype)
- Text (send a text over the phone)
- Tweet (post a message on Twitter)
- Conference (to confer or talk in a conference, especially over the phone or the Internet)
- Gift (to give a gift)
- Greenlight (to approve)
- Impact (to have an impact on)
- Incentivize (to give incentives like bonuses or gifts)
- Spotlight, Highlight (to call attention to)
- Transition (to change into a new role)
- Workshop (to bring an idea for discussion in a workshop)
When used as verbs, these words refer to playing the game or performing an activity:
Related to Things:
- Film (to make a movie)
- Lased (to emit light, from the word laser)
- Microwave (to cook or heat food using a microwave oven)
- Radio (to send a message by radio)
- Tased (to shoot with a Taser gun)
- Videotape (to make a videotape)
Image above: “Bicycling,” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library.
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