Verbing words

The word ‘verbing’ is new to our English language, thanks to the comic Calvin and Hobbes, and the Urban Dictionary which introduces not only slang, but the words created by messaging and network media.

The act of turning a noun into a verb. Verbing results in verbation. Although in a sense it is the inverse of a gerund, a word that has been verbed can actually be turned back into a noun as a gerund. Hence verbing is the gerund form of the verbed noun “verb.”

In considering this unusual word crafting, I asked my eleven year old son what he thought his name would mean if it was a verb. His answer? “Probably something silly”. No, he didn’t mean the concept was silly, he meant his name would mean something silly, because he prides himself on his Stooge humor.

I thought of my own name, Sharon, and considered my own views on what a verb based on my personality would mean to the world. My sister suggested it means ‘immature’. A friend suggested ‘intelligent’, while my own insecurities bubbled up and surmised ‘creative but full of self doubt’.

My dog, Pepper, means ‘hyper and crazy’, while my cat boasts the opposite. To ‘Max’ means to be very laid back, you’re almost comatose.

It’s a fun game to play, and opens a crazy sense of creativity. Try it and see what your name means if it means a verb.


2 Replies to “Verbing words”

  1. I have to confess that I verb nouns all the time – though I didn’t know that’s what I was doing. I tell my 3 year old all the time that we’re “Cinderelling it” when we spend the day cleaning, and I’ve been known to describe mountains as coney. When my hubby gives me shit about it, I’m quick to point out that it’s my literary right to make up words and Shakespeare did it all the time. He’s just as quick to reply that I’m no Shakespeare.


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