Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Verbing Man!

Benjamin Zimmer at Language Log has uncovered a fine piece of Verbal family history, an ancient piece of poetry. See his fine commentary here, but I just have to reproduce the poem itself:
The Verbing Man

"Oh, yes I Christmased," says the man,
Who skips from verb to noun;
I dined and turkeyed à la mode,
And curry sauced in town.

I restauranted everywhere,
I whiskyed, beered and aled;
Cigared I on Havanas rare,
And on Regalias galed.

I New Yeared, too, on viands rich
And I champagned myself;
Or Tomed and Jerryed — can't tell which,
Expenditured my pelf.

I resolutioned on that day,
As spirits throbbed my head;
But when the pangs next panged away,
I just cocktailed instead.

—Texas Siftings.
[reprinted in the Los Angeles Times, Feb. 3, 1887, p. 9]
Could easily be one of my ancestors, from the sound of it. Lots of stuff with a nice archaic ring to it too. (Sheesh, I guess I don't even use pelf much anymore come to think about it.)

Thank you, Benjamin Zimmer, oh thank you so very much, on behalf of all Verbs and Verbers everywhere. May you have an especially verby 2007.

Also, the Language Log crew has picked up on the story behind Jon Stewart's gerund comments, here, a topic recently treated in passing at the time in our little web log, here.

Mr. Verb

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