When verbs attack

Sometimes it seems like verbs are taking over the world—or at least, overunning the noun category. I’m creating a list of nouns that have been verbed, for better or worse. What are your favorites (and least favorites)?

The Good: Bookended, headquartered, googled, waffled, texted

The Bad: Incentivized, guested, friended, gifted, conferenced, dialogued, leveraged, tasked

The Ugly: Incested, usagized, sunsetted, podiumed, actioned, impacted, boilerplated

9 Replies to “When verbs attack”

  1. I think we’ve lost the battle on “to contact” and “to access” – people that insist on “to get in contact” and “to have access” are starting to answer to the name “Miss Thistlebottom” – however, I think “to task (with)” still can and should be averted.

  2. I also despise “to office.” During expert witness testimony, I was once asked “Where do you office?” by the opposing counsel. Although I refrained from responding with “Huh?” I’m sure my expression combined horror and confusion.

    “To google” is a slightly different case because it also entails the transformation of a corporate mark which, if people start using it to refer to looking things up using other search engines, will also be en route to generic status. I don’t know whether Google is defending its mark.

  3. Being one who has yet to learn half of these words, I can’t quite decide on a least favorite. “To incest” is definitely up there, though.

    As for a favorite, I can’t decide between “To Google”, for obvious reasons, or “To waffle”, merely because, when I first saw “Waffled” listed here, I didn’t know it meant to “not make up one’s mind”, but instead thought it might be a verb formed from the delicious dough-based cake. And anything related to those tend to be amazing.

    1. Waffling is indeed an amazing thing. I especially like the way high schoolers are starting to use it: “Dude, I’m waffled!” “This homework is waffling me!”

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