In fact, I’d argue that it’s so commonplace these days that most people won’t bat an eyelid at this post’s title.
But you should (for now). ‘Verb’ is a noun. The Macquarie Fifth Edition Dictionary lists it as a noun, with ‘verbal’ as the adjectival form. No listing as a verb. At least, not yet. I wonder if it’s on the review list?
English is always evolving, and deriving new words by borrowing from other categories happens all the time. Nouns becoming verbs isn’t the most common form of derivation historically, or even second or third, but it’s far from unheard of. But it seems like I’m hearing a new verb-via-noun every other day (or saying one myself!). And often it’s a proper noun providing the inspiration.
Yesterday, a friend who’d just returned from overseas was wearing black from head to toe. “Oh dear,” she said, “I’ve Melbournised myself already.” Another friend offered me a drink recently, to which I replied, “Coke me.” I band-aided my niece’s sore knee when she fell over during a recent visit. We friend (and unfriend) each other on facebook. We go 4WDing instead of going for a drive in the 4WD. We google things instead of searching for them on the search engine Google. In fact, type ‘How do I go’ into Google, and the fourth suggestion to pop up is ‘How do I google’ (oh, the irony).
The funniest examples are actually those which started as verbs. The verb ‘lever’ gave us the noun ‘leverage’. I’ve lost count of the times I was asked to ‘leverage our existing client base’ when working in the corporate world.
I’m all for linguistic change, and generally have a ‘describe rather than prescribe’ philosophy (unless you’re talking about my beloved apostrophe). But I’ll admit that it jars sometimes when I hear a new word used when a perfectly reasonable one still exists. I wonder how many of these we’ll still be saying in ten years?
Perhaps Calvin and Hobbes say it best. An oldie but a goodie.