More Verbifications

It’s been a while, hasn’t it?  Two years, in fact.  Rest assured, readers, the passage of time has not diminished in any way The Curmudgeon’s disdain for verbifications:  the act of transforming a noun into a verb because the writer is either lazy or wants to sound, you should pardon the expression, cool.  The Curmudgeon continues to collect new specimens and is now adding some new ones to past specimens you can find here,hereherehere, and here.

A Business Insider article that outlined the minor impact that increasing worker wages would have on McDonalds’ profitability required a correction by the author, who noted that “…employee costs are about 24% of revenue, not 17%. So if the company doubled wages, its operating income would likely drop a bit more than I ballparked above.”

Yes, he ballparked those estimates.

A brief New Yorker piece chronicled an encounter between two nitwits:  a “writer and social critic” and an actor whose fame is based on nothing to do with her acting skills.  Some social critic:  she’s not even familiar with The Good Wife, so the actor attempts to enlighten her:  “It’s a show that problematizes that thing of standing by your man.”

That’s right:  it problematizes.


In a Philadelphia magazine piece about a company that plans to launch the next failed local news web site by glomming off the work product of others while producing little actual journalism of its own, the article noted the impact of a free site featuring content from the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News on the efforts of those papers to sell electronic subscriptions:  “The Inquirer and Daily News still upload their content for free on the ghastly, a practice that undermines the papers’ paywalled stand-alone web sites.”

Those stand-alone web sites have what are known as paywalls – not a term The Curmudgeon likes to begin with – so they are therefore paywalled.  Ugh.

Newspaper columnists don’t report the news; they share their views – their opinions. They are not, as a New Yorker book reviewer noted, opinionating. (Which reminds The Curmudgeon of the theme song to the old television series Blossom that offers another interesting variation on “opinion.” See it here.)

An American Prospect magazine article about Rand Paul described some of the Kentucky senator’s political views, noting that “In the past, he expressed support for voucherizing Medicare, and privatizing Social Security…”  “Privatizing” has, unfortunately, become one of those verbifications that has so completely permeated the culture that even The Curmudgeon can no longer muster any serious energy for complaining about it, but voucherizing? Never!!!

The restaurant critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer gives restaurants “bells” instead of stars – it’s a Philadelphia/Liberty Bell thing.  He recently reviewed a restaurant a few days after the owner of that restaurant took to the Huffington Post to criticize restaurant critics.  The review was generally favorable, but when one of the comments on the newspaper’s web site suggested the review was mild because the reviewer was cowed, one of the newspaper’s editors felt compelled to respond, writing that “The review was written, belled, edited, photographed and even laid out before the HuffPo article.”

That’s right:  it was “belled.”

Coca-Cola is looking to branch out into beverages that aren’t terrible for you, and high on its list of candidates is milk – yes, milk, which isn’t exactly good for most people but is a whole lot better than carbonated water filled with high fructose corn syrup.  But Coke doesn’t want to sell just any old milk: it wants to sell what it’s calling a “premium milk,” with premium, in this case, referring to less sugar and more protein.  (It also wants to sell this premium milk at twice the price of the perfectly good stuff you get at the corner market.)

So how does Coke describe what it’s doing?

According to an Associated Press report published in the Philadelphia Inquirer,

“It’s basically the premiumization of milk,” Sandy Douglas, president of Coca-Cola North America, said at an analyst conference in November.”

That’s right, readers:  Sandy called it a “premiumization.”

New Yorker article about books about corporate management described what used to be the gold standard in corporate management – the manner in which General Motors was run – to what appears to be the gold standard today:  how Google is run. The reviewer, though, questioned the degree to which some of the successful techniques employed by some companies can be adopted by others and at one point noted that “That’s the logic under which Google’s success is generalizable.”


As in Generalizable George Patton? Generalizissimo Francisco Franco?

The New Yorker ran an interesting article about the commercial emergence of paperback books in the years before, during, and after World War II.  Sadly, in describing books that had been released in hardcover form and then converted into paperbacks, the article noted that this was especially common for mystery novels and that “Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett were paperbacked, of course…”

Then, just to make sure readers knew that this particular writer is especially resourceful when it comes to verbification, he referred to “mass-market paperbacking.”

A double threat, this guy!

New Yorker article about Bob Dylan described a period in his life during which he retreated to work on some new music, stating that “Dylan was woodshedding with musicians he had known mostly onstage…” That’s right:  he was woodshedding.

In an article about how a tough-talking Marine became a champion of the environment, Mother Jones magazine tell us that as commander of the military response to Hurricane Katrina, the marine “…was choppered back to his floating headquarters about the USS Bataan…”  Ugh.

Pennsylvania’s state legislature was considering a proposal to turn over to state control any local school in the state that persistently under-performed based on the results of standard tests administered to their students.  Many of those failing schools are located in Philadelphia, and a state senator from Philadelphia, fearing that the proposal was little more than an attempt to turn more public schools into charter schools, told the Philadelphia Inquirer that “…on its face, it sounds like a backdoor move to charterize schools.”

It sounds as if this state senator might be a product of one of those schools that might be a candidate for…charterization.

The Curmudgeon ran across something as rare as hint of personality in Harrison Ford:  an interesting article in the publication Fortune, which has to be the most boring magazine ever to hit a newsstand.  The article was about Ikea and how the company has succeeded and grown over the years.  At one point the writer is visiting the company’s design department, where all the new products are developed, and observes that “…one of the four 3-D printers was outputting a toilet brush.”

Outputting a toilet brush.  How…off-putting.

In a “Dear Abby-style Sunday feature, a New York Times advice columnist was trying to counsel a woman to let her teenaged daughter try navigating a tricky social situation on her own, warning that “I get your instinct to Mama Bear her.”

Mama Bear” – now a verb.  What’s the world coming to?

New Yorker magazine article about how investing in energy efficient technology – things like solar panels and batteries – is becoming more economically feasible and the challenges this presents for power utilities told the tale of one town that has been especially enthusiastic about embracing such technology.  “In July,” the article declared, “when the site flickers on the city will be the most solarized in northern New England.”


In a Mother Jones article about Republicans’ insistence on pushing bans on abortions even in the face of growing evidence that the public doesn’t support such bans, a Democratic political strategist noted that some Republicans stress abortion in their primary campaigns because they don’t want to get outflanked on the right by a primary opponent.  “Does pushing [the ban] help some individual Republicans in conservative states who don’t want to get primaried?  Yes.”

Well, that’s a good thing; primaried sounds like it could be painful.

You have a public school and it undergoes a process to become a charter school.  According to a Washington Monthly article, that process is “chartering.”  Now The Curmudgeon knows you can charter a bus and charter a boat, but can you charter a school?  He thinks not.

The subject of a letter to Carolyn Hax, the advice columnist who, unlike Dear Abby, isn’t an idiot, was from a couple that had chosen someone to care for their children if something should happen to them, but since making that decision their daughter developed a severe allergy to dogs and the would-be caretakers have two dogs they love.  What to do?  Well, forget about the advice:  The Curmudgeon is more interested in the column’s headline:  “Tell Me About It: Rehome dogs for allergic orphan niece?”

That’s right:  rehome.

While checking on the acceptable sizes of liquid containers on airplanes, The Curmudgeon visited the web site of the Transportation Safety Administration and came upon this:  “Any liquid, aerosol, gel, cream or paste that alarms during screening will require additional screening.”

Now we know “alarm” can be a verb, but not THIS verb.

Let’s hope they protect better than they write.

An article in the Columbia Journalism Review lamented the failure of those who run newspapers to comprehend the changes the internet is bringing to their industry. Sadly, though, the article states that “They were also so tunnel-visioned, lazy, stupid and greedy that they missed every chance to make the winning moves.”

The Curmudgeon has a lot more of these and intends to empty his archive by year’s end, so…stay tuned.

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  • Barbara Snyder  On October 30, 2018 at 10:45 am

    LOL I don’t have a problem with “rehome.” Finding a new home, rather than just taking pets to the “farm,” seems to be a modern day problem. Thus, a modern term is invented to explain the situation. However, I recently read somebody’s post on Facebook arguing that if only her ex had “adultly conversated,” their problem would be solved. That expression set my teeth on edge. As always, I enjoyed your blog.


  • By Still More Verbifications | The Four-Eyed Curmudgeon on December 7, 2018 at 6:08 am

    […] It’s only been a few weeks, but here’s another installment in the never-ending saga of verbifications:  when people who either don’t know better or know better and do it anyway attempt to turn nouns into verbs.  (See previous installmentshere, here, here, here, here, and here. […]

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