Thursday, July 01, 2004

More verbing (or bringing words back from the dead)

I have yet to hear anyone use the word "efforting." (And for that I'm glad.) But the Globe and Mail has an article on it:
A colleague passes along a sentence uttered in a television interview last year: "Just so you know, we are efforting to get an interview with General Tommy Franks in order to ask him that question, his reaction to Canada's position on this."
It says the OED cites the verb form in a passage from 1662 but says it is now obsolete.

There are a few Google News citations:
* "Walker went out of his way to explain the reasoning behind the city's decision to have crews efforting to improve the sidewalk." -- Augusta Free Press in Virginia
* "That's when Barkley started efforting toward the formation of Kindred Spirits." -- Augusta Free Press (a certain writer's favorite new word, perhaps?)
* " has call in to both players and we are efforting interviews at present." --,
A regular Google search shows 1,600 citations for "efforting."

It's interesting to note that not one of those uses could be fixed in the same way. You can't replace them all with "trying" or "working" (although the latter seems the closest).

Copy Massage noticed it on the radio in St. Petersburg the other day.

The online Urban Dictionary, where people contribute their own definitions, says this:
The use of physical or mental energy to do something; exertion.
A difficult exertion of the strength or will: It was an effort to get up.
A usually earnest attempt: Make an effort to arrive promptly.
Something done or produced through exertion; an achievement: a play that was his finest effort.

Don is efforting that task as we speak.
I can't come up with a good reason to use "efforting" instead of reworking the sentence. But I'm feeling rather descriptivist today after reading this article a couple of times, so I'll just say: I wouldn't commit felony assault if I heard it, but I'd remove it from any copy I was editing.


At 2:09 PM, July 02, 2004, Blogger Etaoin Shrdlu said...

One possible explanation for the rise in usage is that when Washington Post columnist Tony Kornheiser had a nationally broadcast radio show on ESPN, they bantered the word efforting quite often. Although, usually it was meant with a sarcasting nod at its not-so-proper roots.

But it does fit in with the businessspeak that allows such horrors as growing a business and proactive.

At 4:41 PM, July 02, 2004, Blogger Nick said...

Free the peeve!


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