Notch for Orange, Notch for the Belt of Verbs

Syracuse’s home win over the Hoyas earlier today inspired thoughts of a
verb to add to the belt:

The Orange clowned No. 8 Georgetown, 77-70, in front of a
season-high 31,327
fans at the Carrier Dome.

Clown as verb: to subject to ridicule, to cause another to appear silly, etc.
Unlike evidence and discourse (as verbs), it is improbable that I will ever sneak clown or
clowned into the academic prose.

Nevertheless, in celebration of the upset, go on, add it to your belt of

Previously on B.

Belt Belt Belt of Verbs

Today is Start-of-Semester Day in Syracuse (even if I don’t teach until
tomorrow). How better to celebrate the occasion than by adding a verb to
the belt of
verbs (and thereby contributing to the Greater Verbiage)?

He’d discourse on the animals’ diets, reproduction, life spans, their
interesting and unusual characteristics. (48)

A rare sighting of discourse as verb. Tracy Kidder wrote this about
Paul Farmer in Mountains Beyond Mountains (a book which I will think of
as Verbs Beyond Verbs from this point forward).

Belt of Verbs – Friday Leather Punch Edition

If you’re a user of the language, you’ll need a
verb sooner
or later.

Evidently, today’s Friday Leather Punch Edition is concerned with
. As in,

The strong odor in the office evidenced Yoki’s sick stomach.

it comes: I really don’t like the verb evidenced. I know it’s a
legitimate word, but it always sounds wrong to me, no matter the context.
A faint hunch tells me it’s a rip-off of evinced (that one, a verb of verbs!).
I doubt I would be stating it too strongly to say that this is the real dividing
line in the academy and, yes, all of humanity: those who use evidenced, and those who do not.

I checked it against the only corpus of texts I have on my trusty laptop
computer–the last nineteen years of CCC articles. Thirty-one out
of 414 articles put to good and proper use the verb evidenced. More than
seven percent! But the distribution isn’t even across the years. Just nine articles use evidenced from 1989-1999; twenty-two articles use evidenced since the turn of the century.

What does this evidence evidence? The question is too fresh to return a
decisive answer. And in the mean time, I will stick with suggested,
indicated, and proved as ready-to-verbalize ahead of evidenced.
Make room for evidenced, if you must, in one of the deep pouches on the
expanding belt of verbs.

Belt of Verbs

Buckle on your verb belt because it’s time for "Belt of Verbs": a couple of
kicky, kooky verbs for filling up the empty pouch.

1. From this ESPN headline: decisions

Former WBC Ortiz decisions Garcia

I’m not much for

(anything that reminds me of enduring punishing blows to my head, no
thank you), but "decisions," the lexicon tells me, has been around for quite
some time. It’s what one winning boxer does to a losing boxer without a
knockout. Improper usage: "I decisioned to have an A&W Root Beer with
lunch." Unless you’re a boxer. Then you can say "decisioned"
whenever you please.

2. From a book I’ve been reading: multiplexed
"Two kinds of apprehension are mutliplexed together."

I guess this means something like giving off many complex and layered signals
all at once: an entangled conduction that allows for (even anticipates) loss. So it’s in the realm
of the intelligible that comes just before noise. Not to be mistaken for
the many-screened movie theater or the manufacturer of
foam planes.

Any- and All-words

The loosest terms going, or the first five entries to the laxicon of

1. Interactive (adj): between something or other and something else
2. Social (adj): A. togethering and whatnot; B. with people
3. Technology (n): A. tools and such; B. the intricate logics of tools and such.
4. Discourse (n): language stuff
5. Image (n): A. any of a number of lookseegawks; B. a picture

Nah, I’m not calling for constricted usage.  Yet these are a few of the
ones that, when they get used, stir me to quietly wondering just what’s meant. 
Simply, they’re ballooning with connotations.


Friday’s web zen–wordy
–includes a link to
Ask Oxford,
the place where Oxford Dictionary aces answer all of the peculiar questions you
simply can’t go another day without having resolved.  Examples:

the opposite of exceed

the word for a word which is another word spelled backwards
, and

words containing uu
. Splitting at the hyperseams with lexical
overmuchness, this site is.

My favorite Q&A, however, and the one to which I first returned for practical
usage was
name for a group of cats
: clowder.  When the Villanova Wildcat
contingent rushed the court after knocking of #1 UConn (much to my satisfaction,
I’ll add) earlier this evening, I had something to call it by.


Earlier in the fall our program hosted Tim Diggles, coordinator of the
Federation of Worker Writers
and Community Presses
in Staffordshire, for a colloquium on working class
writing/publishing.  I didn’t get around to posting any notes after Diggles
visited, and although I have a few lines about a range of things he talked about
penciled into a composition notebook, I want to zero in on the thing Diggles
mentioned that has been on my mind periodically ever since: wordwatching.

Continue reading →