Words in Passing–Updated


Some snippets that I’ve enjoyed lately~

The living language is like a cow-path:
it is the creation of the cows themselves,
who, having created it, follow it or depart from it
according to their whims or their needs.
From daily use, the path undergoes change.
A cow is under no obligation to stay.
-E.B. White, writer (1899-1985)

I just noticed something positively serendipitous.  When writing a xanga post, there’s a little symbol on the toolbar for indenting a paragraph.  If you hover over it, a handy little help box pops up that says “Indent.”  Well…the one beside it, when you hover your mouse, says, “Outdent.” 

Outdent?????  I have to admit, that’s a new word to me!    I just checked a couple of online dictionaries, and one listed it while the other did not.  A good example of the fluidity of language–here’s a spot where a few cows have diverged from the path and are trampling a new section. 

Edit:  My friend at BooksForMe just gave me link to a great article about the practice of “Verbing.”  Read it here.  One part of it that I thought was interesting was this:

Xerox occasionally runs ads in major magazines reminding people that Xerox is still a trademark, and asking writers not to use Xerox the trademark as a verb.

Now why doesn’t Xerox just calm down and face the fact that they have achieved the enviable status of becoming a household word?  It’s a compliment, folks!  I mean, really, how many of us don’t “Google” things, “friend” people on Facebook, and “Photoshop” our pictures, no matter what photo editor we use?

We have used the homeschool curriculum Sonlight for the past several years, and I remember the delight of the founders when they realized that people were talking about “Sonlighting!”  It’s definitely a wonderful sign when your brand is used as a verb.  So give it a break, Xerox! 




About dayuntoday

I'm a wonderer. I spend a lot of time mulling, pondering, and cogitating. This is just a place to park some of those thoughts.
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8 Responses to Words in Passing–Updated

  1. Hutch5 says:

    haha! outdent is a new one for me too.. but i’m terrible w/ spelling and such and constantly making up new words all the time – – on accident!!!!! =)

  2. BooksForMe says:

    http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2010/07/25/verbed/Just saw this today and thought of you. You must be tuned-in to the universe! Or, at least to Boston.com. LOL

  3. homefire says:

    @BooksForMe – That’s a great article!  Thanks for sharing it.  I may juast add it to the post! 

  4. BooksForMe says:

    LOL Well, it might be meant as a compliment, but I completely support these companies that want to guard their name. Both these products are the best in their field (Xerox and Photoshop)! Calling a copy from an HP machine a “xerox” is demeaning Xerox. We are former Kinko’s employees, so we are pretty snooty about copiers. Xerox is the best in every way.As for PS, Doug was a prepress technician, and we both have worked in the graphic arts and design field all our adult life. It takes serious skill to use Photoshop well – skill I do not have, but Doug does. I cannot stand when someone says they “photoshopped” something that they actually only used Picassa on. Ick!  Yes, we are snobs, all the way. I wouldn’t want Doug calling all females caroline, either. I wear my brand with pride! πŸ™‚

  5. ElizabethDNB says:

    I agree with you about the brand thing homefire.  I think it is a compliment and should be used as one.  A lot of people ask of a Coke when they mean soda, or a Yellowcab when they mean taxi.  as a result I imagine more people do buy these products/services by actual brand as well, because that is the one most in your mind. 

  6. homefire says:

    @BooksForMe –   I can see your point, but the fact remains that it IS a compliment!  If they weren’t the best (or sometimes just the first) no one would want to use their name!  And as far as I’m concerned, it’s free publicity for them.  I had to chuckle at your last analogy–Have to agree on that one! 

  7. mcbery says:

    Enjoyed your post. Funny how English can change. What would Henry Higgins say? Lol!

  8. the_grat says:

    i really like this thot !   starting it off with calvin and hobbes was Just the right thing to tune in my attention πŸ˜‰  but still, i hadn’t really noticed verbing as an official movement until now.  good ops !

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