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Jun 20, 2022
This week’s theme
Autological words

This week’s words
verbify
proparoxytone
abstruse
grandiloquent
sesquipedalianism

Previous week’s theme
Eponyms
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

The word pentasyllabic actually has five syllables. The term seventeen-lettered actually has 17 letters. TLA (Three-Letter Abbreviation) has three letters.

These are autological words -- words that exhibit the property they describe. The word “short” is short. The word “noun” is a noun. This week we’ll feature five more autological words.

What autological words can you think of? Share below or email us at words@wordsmith.org. As always, include your location (city, state).

PS: The opposite of autological is heterological, words that don’t apply to themselves. Example: the word “long” is not long. Most words fit this category so it’s not very interesting. But is “heterological” heterological?

verbify

PRONUNCIATION:
(VUHR-buh-fy)

MEANING:
verb tr.: To convert into a verb.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin verbum (word, verb). Earliest documented use: 1820.

NOTES:
We wanted to define today’s word simply as “To verb” but we’ve resisted the temptation. It’s important to note that the word reverberate does not mean to convert to verb again (example: the noun “act” to the verb “act” to the noun “action” to the verb “action”). Those who object to verbifying (or verbing) of words should note that the word “object” was initially a noun that got verbified. Turning one part of speech to another happens all the time (see here). We do not believe that verbing weirds language because we are not Calvinist (or Hobbesian).

USAGE:
“But Israelis freely verbify foreign words too.... In the wake of Condoleezza Rice’s shuttle diplomacy last year, Israeli officials reportedly coined lecondel, meaning to go back and forth repeatedly to no effect.”
Lush Life; The Economist (London, UK); Apr 4, 2008.

See more usage examples of verbify in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
People change and forget to tell each other. -Lillian Hellman, playwright (20 Jun 1905-1984)

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