Open Dictionary word of the week: Facebooking

Posted by on April 12, 2012

Facebooking (noun)

doing any activity on FB social network: e.g. Videos, Photoshop, Chat, posts

In my free time I like reading, jogging and Facebooking.

(Submitted by Mara Rufino from Italy)

I got into a muddle recently when trying to explain to someone how I would be communicating some or other bit of information with them. I ended up saying something like: I’ll Facebook you, I mean, you know, I’ll message you … not … wall you. Can I say that? I mean I won’t write on your wall, I’ll … OMG. Breathe. I’ll send a private message to you via Facebook.

Verbing is a tricky business and we’ve covered it a lot. Here are some of the highlights:

Stan Carey wrote about the impact of ‘impact’ asking:

Impact is part of the core vocabulary of English, ranking as a three-star red word in Macmillan Dictionary. Yet it is subject to constant dispute and ire, appearing frequently in lists of pet peeves and inspiring lengthy discussions in usage dictionaries. Why is this?

Michael Rundell has written a bit on verbing:

For some reason, the practice of making nouns into verbs seems to annoy linguistic purists, who often rail against the use of verbs such as impact or progress (or for that matter task, as used in the previous paragraph).  But this process has a long history in English and we may as well get used to the fact that many writers quite like verbing their nouns.

And, when talking about how words get into the dictionary:

In Kate Atkinson’s recent novel, Started Early, Took My Dog (2010), there’s an exchange between two of the characters. When one of them mentions a large sum of money, we read that Kelly, the other character, ‘suddenly meerkatted to attention’. Does this mean we have a new verb on our hands, to meerkat? Should it be added to the dictionary?

Finally, Jonathan Marks wrote a post entitled: Netting, texting, impacting and sheeting through the centuries. Ending:

Well, I’m shocked (I’m in a state of shock) to see how long this post has grown. Time to halt (time to call a halt). Finally, though, here’s another memento from Yorkshire, a sign by the roadside at the exit from a quarry in the Yorkshire Dales, reminding lorry drivers to secure their load of stone (the stone they’ve loaded) before setting off on their journey: Have you sheeted?

(sheet: noun 725, verb 1606: when Snow the Pasture sheets – Shakespeare, no less!)

As far as Facebooking goes,  I was on the bus a few weeks ago and overheard two elderly women (this is a true story) say farewell to each other in this sweet way:

“Ok then. Lovely to see you. I’ll give you a ring soon …”

“Wait, I don’t have your number. Do you have mine?”

“No, I don’t…”

“Just Facebook me then, love.”

“Oh yes, good, I’ll do that. I’ll Facebook you.”

Everybody’s Facebooking – please Facebook us your favourite verbed neologism on our new Facebook page (for logophiles only).

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