Mutant Verbs

What verb describes the act of creating a new verb from another part of speech? Verbify, of course — or, simply, verb. Both of these words are autological — that is, they exemplify what they describe. (Other examples of autological words: pentasyllabicadjectival,nominalization.)

Any noun can be verbed. So can many adjectives: we prettify a room,neaten our desk and brown a piece of meat. As Calvin succinctly explains to Hobbes, “Verbing weirds language.”

Like mutants in nature, most newly minted verbs — Mondayize,speechifyCalifornicate — will live for only a short while and perish without progeny. A recent example is the verb Eastwood, which went viral on Twitter and YouTube in the days following Clint Eastwood’s speech to the 2012 Republican National Convention. Within weeks, the fad for Eastwooding — talking to an empty chair — had already petered out.

Mutant Verbs

7 thoughts on “Mutant Verbs

  1. When I initially left a comment I seem to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I receive 4 emails with the same comment. There has to be a means you are able to remove me from that service? Kudos!

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