Friday, August 21, 2015

The Verbing of Adjectives: Will the Coining Never Stop?


The nouning of verbs and the verbing of nouns have both been covered in these pages, mostly in terms of their popularity as business jargon. Sad enough, but there have recently been credible reports of the verbing of adjectives.

The one I heard about was robusting. A PR professional who reads this blog called it to my attention and I assumed it had been uttered in a meeting, but she sent me the following graphic:

                           

This is from a systems security industry trade rag called Information Security Buzz, and one must assume that the editor rather liked this particular usage mangle. I rather don't and I am gratified to have found out from another reader that the street has beaten Information Security Buzz on this particular case of adjectival verbing, this from UrbanDictionary.com:

You'll notice this interpretation of the term "robusting" has garnered just five votes with only two of them positive (one of which is mine); nonetheless it is the top answer at Urban Dictionary for that word. My guess is that the author of the definition was attempting to write "act" rather than "art," but it more or less works either way.

Disgusting though it may be, I prefer this definition to the business definition, "to make robust," as it contains some component of comedy and mischief, whereas the business editor's linguistic laceration suffers from both its self-importance and its misplaced sense of cool.

Let me know if you find any other verbed adjectives.