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Jul 31, 2017
This week’s theme
Places that became verbs

This week’s words
birminghamize
barbados
solecize
locarnize
debunk

Artificial tutors with human capabilities
Artificial tutors with human capabilities from the University of Birmingham (permalink)

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

In the late 19th century, men were often kidnapped to work on ships. Google hadn’t been born yet, so the innovation of paying attractive wages and onsite massages was still in the future. That left drugging and kidnapping as the most common HR technique for acquiring talent on a ship.

Since China was often the destination for these ships, Shanghai became a verb, meaning to recruit forcibly. (The name Shanghai literally means upon-the-sea). Shanghai may be the best-known example of a place name turning into a verb, but there are many such words in the English language.

A few weeks back, we met people who became verbs in the English language. This week, let’s visit places that became verbs.

If your city, village, state, or country were to become a verb, how would you define it? Share it below or email us at words@wordsmith.org.

birminghamize

PRONUNCIATION:
(BUHR-ming-ham-aiz)

MEANING:
verb tr.: To render artificial.

ETYMOLOGY:
After Birmingham, UK, where counterfeit coins were produced in the 17th century. Another word with a similar sense has formed from the corruption of the name Birmingham: brummagem. Earliest documented use: 1856.

NOTES:
True to their name, in Birmingham, they have artificial grass, artificial body parts, artificial collections, and even colleges offering degrees in artificial intelligence.

USAGE:
“The manners and customs of society are artificial -- made-up men with made-up manners -- and thus the whole is Birminghamized.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson; English Traits; 1856.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends. -J.K. Rowling, author (b. 31 Jul 1965)

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