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Article
March 5, 1973

Verbing and Nouning

JAMA. 1973;223(10):1156. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03220100050016

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Abstract

Deploring the verbing of nouns ("the ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus has been lesioned"), H. Straus comments ("Virtuous Nouns Verbed," Science 177:1154, 1972): "Whoever allowed a previously respectable noun to be verbed should be violenced.... Good nouns are hard to keep virtuous, and their prostitution should be crimed." But, conceding that the verdict need not always be so harsh, he continues, "In his defense, whoever is responsible might claim that he should not be clubbed, axed, or gunned, as usage has justified similar seductions."

Does usage justify similar seductions when the dilemma is not that of verbed nouns, but of nouned verbs, with which we are currently inundated? No longer an occasional trickle, but a volcanic erupt, the nounized verbs overwhelm us with the energy charge of the verbs of their derive. Their impress is stronger than an impression, their assert is more emphatic than an assertion and their behold

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