Speed Bump #922

When did the noun “gift” become a verb?  “I gifted her a birthday present” sounds retarded, not to say redundant or even worse, pretentious.

It’s even made even worse by adding the superfluous preposition “with”.  “I gifted her with a birthday present” sounds so stupidly convoluted and verbose, it could be Jesse Jackson speaking.

There’s a perfectly good word to describe the act of giving:  it’s called “giving”.  By definition, when one gives something to someone, it’s a fucking gift.

I know that I am somewhat guilty of turning a noun into a verb is that I call this same foul trend “verbing” — but of course I’m being ironic by turning the concept against itself.

Don’t get me started.  Every time someone spouts that nonsense, I want to gift them with a kick in the groin.


  1. From a Calvin & Hobbes strip:

    C: I like to verb words
    H: What’s that?

    C: It’s when you take a noun or adjective and use it as a verb. Remember when “access” was something you had? Now it’s something you do. It got verbed.

    C: Verbing weirds language.
    H: Perhaps, some day, we can make language a complete impediment to understanding.

  2. I sympathize. I have my own grammatical peeves. The singular “they” is a locution I positively *loathe*. Sure, it’s been used historically, but only recently has it been weaponized in the feminist war on masculinity. Must remove all traces of the male from civilization! Smash Patriarchy!

    Gag. Get back to me when *women* build, maintain, and defend a functional civilization. Until then, rule-by-fathers is the only proven method for dragging humanity out of the muck of matrilineal savagery.

  3. Kim is a ‘gifted’ blogger.
    I am a ‘gifted’ blog reader.

    No need to ‘gift’ my groin [with] a kick.
    One of our mules tried that a couple-three weeks ago; I won’t tolerate rudeness, I went ‘full-mule’ on her to re-establish the order in our relationship.
    She won’t try that again for awhile.
    If I lose, we all lose.

  4. I think it is funny when the European languages adopt English words as their own. The French accept “weekend” in the same way we do, “up-to-date” is used and understood by German speakers without causing much pain. Say “Okay” anywhere in Europe and it is, well, okay.

    But American English has brought foreign words intact into our daily parlance for years and years and we accept that as a norm.

    A pet peeve of mine is making a noun out of the verb “install”. So it goes both ways, I guess.

    1. Installation fulfilled the noun form of install for decades. What was wrong with that word?

      I don’t have a gripe with “Plated”, either in the manufacturing sector or in food services. Among chefs and waiters, “Plated” means, approximately, “place the elements of the food to be presented to the customer on the plate on which he is to be served the food.” Every industry has its words that are “terms of art”, to streamline the expression of complex concepts.

      Just don’t get me started on the misuse of the apostrophe.
      Even Ivan Jesse Curtis, the artist who drew my treasured print of “All of My Heroe’s Are Cowboys” made that error. In 1985!!! The rot goes deep and continues as we speak.

  5. I’m in my 50s & have heard “gift” used as a verb for as long as I can remember. Can’t get too excited about it. On the other hand: it’s & its; their, they’re & there; your & you’re, to & too… irritates the piss outta me when people can’t get those straight.

    1. In German, “Gift” means “poison.” When the Marshall Plan was shipping food and other supplies to Germany, there was supposedly a picture of such a crate being lifted out of a freighter in one of the North Sea ports with the words, “Free gift from America.” Famously, supposedly, this picture was reproduced in some East German fishwrap, with the caption, in German, of course, “Commentary superfluous.”

  6. “The car wreck downed several utility poles.”

    Downed? Really? That usage, among others, makes my skin crawl.

    1. One gulp each, or all together?

      A friend told of how when another friend said he collided with a light post. When my friend asked, “And how fast was the light post moving?”, that was almost the end of the friendship.

  7. The word misuse that drive me nuts is when the word invite is used instead of invitation. “She sent him an invite to the party.” I looked it up and evidently that is an accepted casual use of the word invite but it’s wrong to use the verb invite for the noun invitation.

  8. “give back” is my pet peeve. Typically it is used by the press to denote a person voluntarily donating their earnings to some organization. “volunteers gave back to their community to build a park” or some other nonsense.

    No! They did not give back. They donated. Words have meanings. I think this change of works is intended to change people’s thinking. In this case the action of donating has been changed to imply that the donor took something and returned it. That’s not accurate at all.


  9. My own perception is that English is not a language at all, but a carnivorous pidgin, that eats real languages and shits communication. Any formulation used by one English speaker to another, that is understood, is legitimate.
    We do not have an Academie Anglaise.

  10. I’m not a philologist, nor a linguist for that matter, just a retired dentist who spent his very early years growing up in The Bronx where, even in the early ’40s, English was rarely spoken, not the English we’d recognise as that language anyhoo.
    It was not all that uncommon (I was’t a malicious child) to hear from a neighbor running after me, “I gif you a spanking!” and of course the past of “gif” is “gift” as in telling my mother, “I gift him a spanking.” which was, no matter how you looked at, quite true (she couldn’t hit worth a dang).
    In any case, it was always a pleasure listening to a German speaker pronounce the Van Wyck Expressway (didn’t dare grin!)
    So I certainly have no problem understanding/using the word “gifting”, I’m just surprised that you, as an Africaans speaker, don’t.

  11. Mixing linguistics with math:

    How can something be (as seen in the L.V. Review Journal) “nearly three times lower”.

  12. My own pet peeve is the use of “literally” to mean anything other than “literally”.

    “I literally exploded in rage.”

    And yet you’re still here to write this…?

  13. If Ogden Nash thought English had become a vile “orangutangage” in 1960, God help us now, seventy years later.

  14. My gut reaction reading this was that I bet that the use of “gift” as a verb went back a lot farther than the recent surge in popularity. According the Merriam-Webster, that usage goes back at least 400 years.

    English is weird. But it always has been.

  15. In tax law parlance (I’m a tax lawyer, so it’s my daily reality), the term “gift” is used, rightly or wrongly, as both a noun and a verb.

    Of course, we also speak largely in acronyms and Internal Revenue Code section numbers.

    We’re quite an exciting group, obviously.

    1. That’s different. You’re talking about professional jargon. Lawyers talk about “Consideration” all the time with respect to a contract. “Negligence” is another word just bulging with multiple layers and shades of meaning.

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