Made Up Verbs That Have Since Become Part of the Common English Lexicon

In the latest episode of their incredibly informative whiteboard Mental Floss series, linguist Arika Okrent and illustrator Sean O’Neill verbally and visually offer a history of certain verbs made from existing nouns, which were considered to be objectionable at the time, but have been since incorporated into the common English lexicon.

Here are some words that used to be horrible business jargon in the industrial age, but no one blinks an eye at anymore. Contact has a long pedigree as a noun, but as a verb? This was considered a gross corruption of language when it started in the mid 19th century and people complained about it for decades. In the 1930s it still made the lists of top ten most annoying jargon. Now we accept “to contact” but only because it’s older than “to impact” Or “to gift.” Interview is another one that made people tear their hair out when it turned from a noun into a verb. Sort of how now “a task” or “some leverage” is fine but “tasking” or “leveraging” grates the nerves. The verb “to interview” as in “can I interview you?” was considered the worst kind of hogwash journalism jargon.