≡ Menu

On The Verbing Of Nouns

I think I read somewhere a few years ago that English is the only language in which its speakers regularly turn nouns into verbs. Take the word “nail.” It used to be just a noun – that small, iron, cylindrical-shaped object with a point on one end and a flat head on the other that you used to hold two pieces of wood together.

But in the last few decades, it has been verbalized. If you do something right or figure something out, you “nail” it.

Then there are words like “jar” and “dish.”

It seems the more digital technology progresses, the more this verbalization happens. You “google” if you search something on the Internet (regardless of the search engine you’re using). Fake photos have been “photoshopped.” You “friend” someone on Facebook.

So I thought it would be fun to get goofy with the idea of verbalizing nouns that, as of yet (and as far as I know) have not yet received the privilege of becoming verbs. Here we go.

“That really floored me….” Wait, floor is already both a noun and a verb.

Let me think…

Got it! “He beaned me on the head with a baseball.”

What? “Bean” is already a verb, too?

“Let’s ratchet this up a notch.”

Meh. This is hard.

I’ve got one! Seriously!

“I was so computered by the class, I felt dizzy when I walked out of it.”

Computer: To cause to be inundated with information.

Let’s see if I can come up with another one…

“He toothbrushed along in his sneakers.”

Toothbrush: To move in a back and forth gliding motion.

Next: “I don’t want to shirt right now.”

Shirt: To act as a mediator between two debating parties. Comes from a shirt having two opposing sleeves.

How about this one? “He lamped up the entire house.”

Lamp: To turn on multiple lights in an area.

Finally (because my brain is getting tied in knots): “She seems to just headphone her way through life.”

Headphone: To go through life engrossed in one’s own thoughts, or otherwise seeming to ignore what is going on around one.


Yeah, okay, so some of these are a bit of a stretch. I never realized how many nouns have already been verbalized until I started to really think about it!

Maybe I’ll stick to just using the words that others have already invented. You know, keep being a writer, and let others do the mental gymnastics of manipulating the English language.

What about you? Can you come up with any G-rated examples of new verbalized nouns? Share in the comments below!

Or, go through this post and tell us all the words I used that could be either nouns or verbs. I know you have nothing better to do. 😉


I Might Be A Hypocrite

B is notorious for desperately wanting a toy, only to get bored playing with it a week after he receives it. I began to see that pattern way back when he was three and four years old. Rare was the item he would take interest in long-term, his Lego and wooden block sets being two examples.

So when, after we moved here, he began demanding that J make this toy and that toy for him, I got my dander up. I was quiet at first. Maybe B actually would play with this wooden boat for longer than a week, making it worth J’s time and effort.


Then there was the wooden helicopter. A large wooden helicopter, probably three feet long. Here’s where I started to protest. J was already working so hard trying to get so many homesteading projects done.

“But I’ll play with it, I promise!” B argued.

J built it just to keep the peace.

I don’t think B ever played with it one time.

So after that, my protests became louder and more vehement. As did B’s insistence that he would play with whatever J was building.

Turns out I was always right. If B ever played with one of J’s creations – which all took several hours of work – it was only a few times.

I’m happy to say that no such requests have occurred in the past year, maybe year and a half.

Not from our son, anyway.

However, last year Somebody Else asked J to build a cedar post-and-hardware cloth wall for a keyhole bed that she knew she was going to use to grow carrots. This past spring, he ended up dismantling everything he’d worked so hard to put together.

Last fall, this somebody else was so sure that she wanted to grow strawberries on a kind of vertical garden that she’d seen on YouTube. J spent hours, sweat, and money to build it.

But it didn’t work the way she’d planned. And even though she’s tried to come up with more efficient ways to make it work, she’s come up empty.

Of course, the “somebody else”, the “she”, is yours truly. It hit me in the head like a whack with a two-by-four a few days ago while I was stewing in my guilt over having had J build the vertical garden structure: I’m as bad as my son.

Or maybe I should say, B is a chip off the old block. The female block, not the male one. He and I are both perfectionists, always seeking the ideal world, and when something we hope will bring that world closer to existence doesn’t work, we abandon it for the Next Great Thing.

I’m a hypocrite.

I’m also selfish. I need to think about J, pray about my Great Ideas, research the idea to death, before I ask J to spend his life on my fickle dreams.


Life With A Single Toilet

“I have to go poop!” our son, B, announces as he heads toward the bathroom.

I grimace at him. “Daddy just took the toilet bucket out to dump.”

Rewind. Our family lives what you might call an unconventional lifestyle. Some might call it downright weird. One of the many weird things we do is defecate into a composting toilet.

No, not one of those several-hundred-dollar jobbies that have a fan, climate control system, and casino all in a three-square foot area. Not one of those that you can ignore for weeks on end before needing to dump it.

We poop into a five gallon bucket. Instead of flushing, we cover our feces up with dirt. And it needs to be dumped about every third day.

Uh, by the way, you may not want to read this post while you’re eating. You’re welcome.

Back to the story.

“That’s okay,” B says, snatching up his sunglasses to go outside. “I can wait.”

It’s as though his words were a trigger for my own system to kick into high gear. Suddenly, I have to go so bad that I’m not sure I can wait for my husband. “Now I have to go,” I moan as B opens the door to go outside.

“Should I tell Daddy?”

I shake my head. “He should be done pretty soon.”

Famous last words. Ten minutes went by. Then thirty. Then an hour.

In my head, anyway. Really it was probably about two minutes. But with every passing second the pressure became greater and greater.

My heart began to race. My palms began to sweat. Finally, I snatched up some wipes and headed out the door. “I’m going to have to go in the woods!” I exclaimed.

It would not be the first time.

B ran out the door ahead of me and began yelling at J, my husband. By the time I had run to the place where I would enter the woods, J had just finished putting the couple inches of dirt at the bottom of the bucket. Now aware of my dire situation, thanks to our son, he began to run.

And B, wanting to spice things up a bit, began a play-by-play: “Daddy just finished putting dirt in the bottom of the bucket. Okay, he’s throwing down the shovel. Now he’s running past the garden…”

I guess he was trying to make me feel better. Give me hope.

I backtracked to get out of J’s way (there is a spot between the orchard and garden that only one person can walk through at a time). Would I make it? After all, he still had to get through the door, and situate the bucket under the lid of the compost toilet.

I high-tailed it after him, hoping for the best. Watching him work at a frenetic speed foreign to him. I went into the bathroom just as he set the toilet lid with the toilet seat back down.

I was sitting down before he had even closed the bathroom door.

I made it.


As I sat on the throne, I wondered for a few seconds why a crisis like this never happened when I was growing up and there were twice as many people sharing one toilet.

Then I remembered: back in those days, we were all dehydrated and consumed a very low-fiber diet.


Then I thought to myself, it’s a good thing this hardly ever happens.

Sometimes, I should just stop thinking.

The next morning, all three of us had to go at the same time.


A Quiet Morning

I went out to pick blackberries early this morning, and it was quiet. Of course, it was too early to hear the distant sound of a lawn mower, tractor, or other machinery that one occasionally hears on our mountain.

But it wasn’t just man-made silence. No cicadas buzzed, no birds sang. The only sound was the mesmerizing chirping of crickets.

I had begun to pray out loud as I began to pluck the berries, but stopped after a few seconds. How often am I given the gift of quiet? A natural quiet, I mean, not that boredom-inducing silence of an empty house. The quiet of outdoors that soaks into your soul and refreshes your spirit.

The external quiet that induces an internal quiet. That hushes the worries going through your mind, and gently pushes away the negativity souring your emotions.

We all need that kind of quiet once in a while. Would probably be better people if we could experience it every day. So I challenge you, find a quiet place outside today. Or the very next day that weather permits. It might be the courtyard of the corporate complex where you work. It might be a park, or a woods-lined trail curving behind your neighborhood.

Maybe, if you’re reading this in summertime, there will be cicadas buzzing. Or birds chirping. There may even be muffled sounds of people talking and laughing, a car or three passing by.

So find the quietest place you can. As I said at the beginning, not even out here in the middle of nowhere are things as quiet as they were this morning. Go for the best available, rather than perfection.

We all need time and space to regroup, to get our minds re-centered on the truly important things of life. It doesn’t take a five-acre spread at the bottom of a mountain. Just a little distance from the daily stress, grind, and noise.

Find that quiet today, and rediscover how blessed you are.





Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)