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Mar 31, 2024
This week’s theme
Verbing the noun, nouning the verb

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AWADmail Issue 1135

A Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Other Tidbits about Words and Language

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From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Words have you used in different parts of speech than the usual

I asked our readers, “Ever verbed a noun or mounted a verb?” Here’s a selection from the responses.

When talking about a demotion, I’ve been known to say someone has been Plutoed.
-Tom Barnum, Mequon, Wisconsin (nosheetsherlock yahoo.com)

I use the verb to vultch, from vulture, when a person is waiting closely for something to happen. Examples:
The kids gathered in the kitchen vultching in anticipation of dinner. The dog was vultching under the dining room table waiting for something to fall from above.
The buzzards continued to vultch in the trees waiting for the lion to finish feeding.
-Joel Pond, Chicago, Illinois (joelpond hotmail.com)

“The verb god isn’t known widely.” Yet a domineering boss can lord over us.
-David D. Jones, St. Paul, Minnesota (DaveJones39 hotmail.com)

35% of America has godded Trump.
-Michael Barrie, Los Angeles, California (mikebarrie2.0 gmail.com)

I frequently verbify the word grocery. Example: I spent all day grocerying, but I never found any good chocolate.
-Duncan Chesley, Durham, Maine (duncan.chesley gmail.com)

I like using “twin” as a verb, as in David Whyte in his lovely poem “My Daughter Asleep”
  My prayer tonight is for the great and hidden symmetries of life to reward this faith I have
  And twin her passages of loneliness with friendship
  Her exiles with homecoming
  Her first awkward steps with promised onward leaps.
-Jon Howe, Friday Harbor, Washington (jonthowe gmail.com)

We speak of adulting to describe being disciplined about tasks that need doing, especially tasks (like doing our taxes) that we would rather not do at all. There comes a time when we realize we are just going to have to adult this thing, if it’s going to get done.
-John Brownson, Albany, California (jhb johnbrownson.net)

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In the 1920s, this verbing of nouns was much-used slang; we often hear it in movies set in that time. “Chair me.” “Cigarette me.” In Antony and Cleopatra (Shakespeare’s), near the end, after Octavius has defeated both A & C, there is a scene in which Octavius promises Cleopatra respectful and honorable treatment of her when back in Rome. Cleo knows that this is all lies. After Octavius leaves, she says to her ladies-in-waiting, “He words me, girls, he words me.”
The verbing of nouns can often make statements/comments more incisive, stronger, more pointed.
-Richard Block, Santa Fe, New Mexico (rablock cybermesa.com)

I am wondering if I truly erred in using the word braille as a verb. My daughter chastised me for doing so, as she had been chastised by her peers at college when she did it, having learned it from me. I could never find support for my usage, but it still makes perfect sense to me that if I am in total darkness, I must rely heavily on my sense of touch to find my way.
-Laurie O’Rourke, Friday Harbor, Washington (magkelor mac.com)

Although it’s been over 50 years since I read it, I’m sure one of William Peter Blatty’s characters in “Twinkle, Twinkle, Killer Kane!” grouchoed across a room. That is, a low-slung walk that Groucho Marx used to do.
-Michael Green, Carlisle, UK (mwgreen hotmail.co.uk)

My husband took note when I said I would zoom a friend soon. Zoom got verbed!
-Daphne Harwood, Vancouver, Canada (daphwood gmail.com)

A footballer who is given a warning is shown a yellow card. Newspaper reports now refer to a player being “yellow carded”.
-Neil Corre, London, UK (neil corre.co.uk)

A noun that I frequently use as a verb is the word grief as in “Please don’t grief me.”
-Richard Rodzinski, Lake Placid, New York (richardrodzinski intermezzo-productions.com)

When our son was very small, the best way to get him to go to sleep was to lay him on his stomach and tell him we would “pat your bum”. When he learned to talk, he would ask us to “patchabum me please”.
-Alec Bamford, Bangkok, Thailand (chanida.alec gmail.com)

Every night my mother is supposed to check in with me before 10. Usually, if she forgets it’s because she’s gotten caught up in a British murder mystery. Last night she hadn’t texted, I sent her a “?” and received the reply, “Sorry, I was Marpling!”
-Laura Peebles, Arlington, Virginia (lhpeebles aol.com)

Once, in a failed attempt at ironic humor, I described an act of reduction as smallened.
-Milo Grika, St. Paul, Minnesota (milo grika.com)

We use Frankenstein to describe novice skiers who awkwardly careen downhill, arms out in front, as in, “Oh dear, I hope the Frankenstein skier doesn’t hit a tree!” Also it is used as a verb for skiers completely out of control; for example, “I was Frank’n out after I hit that mogul & nearly wiped out!”
-Nancy Kopp, Neillsville, Wisconsin (porchprincess yahoo.com)

Bucky knew this.
-Sheila Garl, Mesa, Arizona (sheila.garl gmail.com)

In our family we solution a problem and then consider it solutioned.
-Terry Joshi, Yonkers, New York (mommylooloo hotmail.com)

I have verbed molehill, i.e., to make light of, minimize, or ignore an otherwise momentous (mountainous) achievement.
Usage: The novelist broke new ground with his sci-fi thriller which remained #1 on the NYT bestseller list for over three years, but it was molehilled by the literary establishment.
-Brenda J. Gannam, Brooklyn, New York (gannamconsulting earthlink.net)

In my book Father Feelings I flipped “child” into a verb to describe the counterpart to the common use of “parenting”. I was noting that each of our kids “childs” me in a different way, and that our kids’ “childing” is a major factor in the dynamics of how a family works.
-Eliot Daley, Prineton, New Jersey (eliot eliotdaley.com)

If it is a beverage, then I shall bever it! More often, when going to the bar I tell my friends I shall beverate myself.
-Gražina Strolia, Highland Park, New Jersey (grazina.strolia marlabs.com)

Three of my friends have served recently as interim directors of important organizations here in Kalamazoo while the search was on for a new director. So I have asked them periodically “Are you still interim-ing?”
-Lauri Holmes, Kalamazoo, Michigan (lauriholmes gmail.com)

We were discussing child car seats with family members who became parents within the last year or so. What to do when taking babies on a bike: A child seat behind the pedaler or a child trailer? The oldest suggested: Just Mitt Romney the baby onto the roof.
-Nina Cohen, Salem, Massachusetts (ninavcohen gmail.com)

A word I keep hoping to see appear in the “nouns as verbs” category is “bird”. I went to graduate school to study ornithology because I became interested in birds in college and went on to work at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology for 33 years. From about that time, I learned that people who enjoy tracking down and searching for birds, identifying them, recording their numbers, and perhaps even enjoying competition about who has seen more birds in a given place or duration, are “birders” (not birdwatchers) who spend their time birding. My husband (a more avid birder than I am) spends some time each day birding -- whether traveling to a location, or just walking up our street to see what’s in our neighborhood cattail marsh. As for me, it seems that the only time these days that I get a chance to bird is when I am with him.
-Diane L Tessaglia-Hymes, Etna, New York (dianeth cornell.edu)

From: Katie Chamberlain Kritikos (kchambs gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--whelm

I am so happy to know that whelm is a real word! Brings to mind my favorite scene in 10 Things I Hate About You (1999):
“I know you can be underwhelmed and you can be overwhelmed, but can you ever just be whelmed?”
“I think you can in Europe.”

This retelling of The Taming of the Shrew is worth it for the 90s fashion alone. RIP Heath Ledger.

Katie Kritikos, Champaign, Illinois

From: Sue Boettger (sue_boettger yahoo.com)
Subject: whelm

I was a big fan of the Green Bay Packers football team growing up in northeast Wisconsin. In 1958, the team finished with a 1-10-1 record. In the immortal words of New York sportswriter and Green Bay native Red Smith, “They overwhelmed one opponent, underwhelmed ten, and whelmed one.” Vince Lombardi was hired as head coach the following season.

Sue Boettger, Syracuse, New York

From: Fióna Bolger (adjidaumo gmail.com)
Subject: Kneecap

In Belfast and up north in general the meaning of kneecap is even more violent I think. They would shoot out the kneecap from behind which I believe causes more and irreparable damage.

I remember hearing that the top kneecap reconstruction surgeons in the world were in Belfast.

Fióna Bolger, Dublin, Ireland

Kneecap pastry in Wisconsin
From: Jody Johnson (jodyjo0603 icloud.com)
Subject: Another Kneecap

Here in Wisconsin a kneecap is a puff pastry filled with whipped cream and sprinkled with powdered sugar. In other words, yum!

Jody Johnson, Green Bay, Wisconsin

From: David Warner (illahabadi hotmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--T-bone

Among brass players, T-bone has been used as slang for the trombone. I played the instrument for nearly 60 years. Other terms we used were swish-stick, slush-pump, or even back-row-blaster.

David Warner, Beaverton, Oregon

From: Craig Good (clgood me.com)
Subject: Verb me a noun

There is a lot of fun verbing of nouns in the lyrics to the song “Peel Me a Grape”. I particularly enjoy Diana Krall’s version.

Craig Good, Vallejo, California

Whelmed by the Realm
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: whelm and gegg

One of the more memorable moments in the film Amadeus was when Mozart finished playing a new piano composition for Emperor Joseph II, feeling quite pleased with his creation. The emperor essentially liked the piece, but with the caveat that there were “too many notes.”. Mozart was quick to counter with, “Just as many as necessary, Your Majesty!” Mozart’s arch-rival, Antonio Salieri, sided with the emperor, only adding fuel to an already fiery relationship between the two composers.

The Joker's Wild
DC Comics’ Joker, the arch-nemesis of Batman, has been portrayed as the quintessential criminal mastermind, a psychopath and homicidal maniac, with a sadistic sense of humor. In the ’50s, when censors were coming down hard on the glorification of gore and violence, Joker was depicted, up till the ’70s, as still malevolent, but more of a zany practical joker. Still, not a fun guy to mess with.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California


This week’s theme: Verbing the noun, nouning the verb
1. Whelm
2. Kneecap
3. Gegg
4. T-bone
5. Manicure
= 1. Submerge
2. Thin bone known when aging; get revenge
3. Chum’s trick (hee-hee)
4. To bump
5. Nail event
= 1. Being overcome - then he wept
2. Hammer genu, hobble, wing, venge
3. Trick
4. Steak
5. Unguent ‘n shine
-Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com) -Julian Lofts, Auckland, New Zealand (jalofts xtra.co.nz)
Make your own anagrams and animations.



When whelms of mosquitoes descend,
Your campout should probably end.
Just find a hotel,
Where you can sleep well --
There’s a Hilton that I’d recommend.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Captain Nemo, commanding the helm,
Said, “The Nautilus, boys, let us whelm!
We’ll go thousands of leagues
Till we find Cheryl Tiegs
Splashing ‘round in this watery realm!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


“Your opponent is fearfully large --
Try to kneecap the brute on the charge.
Once he’s down, you can pounce
And, with luck, you will trounce --
“Yes, I’ve got it, no need to enlarge.”
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes54 outlook.com)

I am often reminded by Stella
That her boyfriend’s a really smart fella.
He’s very well-read;
I think he’s pre-med,
For his kneecap he calls a patella.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

“Me ‘usband I might ‘ave to kneecap,”
Said Fiona; “’e won’t use ‘is CPAP”.
Answered Katie, “Och aye!
What I do with my guy
For his snorin’ is give ‘im a wee slap.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


My uncle, who loved a good gegg,
Was yet again pulling my leg.
With his practical jokes
And each day a new hoax --
“Enough with this nonsense!” I’d beg.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Have you ever been gegged? I admit
I’ve been victimized often by it!
I’m a patsy, no question
At the slightest suggestion
I fall for it -- what a dimwit!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

A practical joker named Greg,
Had wanted to pull an egg gegg.
But it was no joke,
For he slipped on a yolk,
And Greg wound up breaking his leg.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“This verdict is some kind of gegg;
I would have to steal, borrow, or beg,”
Donald said with a jeer.
“To appeal I’ll use beer;
I’ll buy Brett Kavanaugh a whole keg.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


A car on the road ran amok;
I heard that it T-boned a truck.
That was early today,
But I’m sorry to say
That still in the traffic I’m stuck.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

New car gizmos may offer protection
And give help to determine direction
But it sure didn’t work
For the skunk-drunk old jεrk
Who T-boned me at that intersection!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

“I was loyal,” said Michael D. Cohen,
“But Donald I now will T-bone.
I’m no longer uncouth;
I’ll tell only the truth,
For he under the bus had me thrown.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


I’m the perfectly manicured male.
Eve’ry lovingly buffed fingernail
Tells the world, “Guy’s aware
Of the need to take care
Of himself in the smallest detail.”
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes54 outlook.com)

My neighbor’s been mowing since dawn.
He’s proud of his manicured lawn.
While I in my yard
Am not working hard --
My get-up-and-go has all gone.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Cleopatra was getting a manicure;
By her side sat her handmaidens, fanning her.
“And my lover is near,”
She thought, “Marc’s such a dear;
He will never let anything bad occur.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


“Whelm-ah!” Fred Flintstone would bellow whenever he and Barney got into some trouble.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“Well, whelm-y pretty, I’ve got you now, and your little dog, too,” cackled the wicked witch.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“Hon-kneecap the soda bottle if you don’t want to lose carbonation,” his wife instructed her husband during the after-party clean up.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“How dare you s-kneecap-ples off my branches!” shouted the tree at Dorothy.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“Biden is a schme-gegg-y, whatever that means!” Donald implored the Jews.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“If you are going to join me at High T-bone up on your etiquette,” her Great Aunt Alice advised her.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“What an itty-bit-T-Bone-us this year,” complained one of Donald’s employees. “Are you in some kind of trouble?”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“Manicure for baldness would be hair-raising,” he quipped.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“Don’t take the meds. When you’re not manicure not funny, Robin,” advised the bipolar comedian’s manager.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Mazel "Tough"
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Mazel “Tough”

The highest-ranking Jewish politician in American history, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, accused Israeli president Bibi Netanyahu of allowing “his political survival to take precedence over the best interest of Israel”, calling for new elections to hopefully replace Netanyahu and his radical right-wing/ultra-orthodox coalition. As MSNBC’s Matthew Brzezinski opined, “Israel is no longer seen by the world as David fighting Goliath; it has become Goliath.”

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

Perfect love is rare indeed - for to be a lover will require that you continually have the subtlety of the very wise, the flexibility of the child, the sensitivity of the artist, the understanding of the philosopher, the acceptance of the saint, the tolerance of the scholar and the fortitude of the certain. -Leo Buscaglia, author, speaker and professor (31 Mar 1924-1998)

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