Monday, October 18, 2004

Ammo to keep those overzealous editors in check

I had no idea that the editors of Merriam-Webster's had a newspaper column. It's called Wordwatch, and this week's includes some great fodder if you know a too-hard-core editor who insists that "loan" cannot be a verb.
"Loan" as a verb has been around at least since the time of Henry VIII. It was brought to this country by our earliest settlers, and it continued to be used here after it fell out of use in England. Its use was first criticized by English visitors to America. In its continued use it is a sturdy Americanism. Many people have been taught to dislike it, but there is no question that "loan" is entirely standard as a verb.
Also, learn about "divers," a variation of "diverse" that has nothing to do with snorkeling; and the origin of the phrase "bringing down the hosue."


At 3:29 PM, October 18, 2004, Blogger Bill said...

I'm not as knowledgeable about the differences among dictionaries as I should be, but someone who is knowledgeable, Barbara Wallraff, has pointed out that Merriam-Webster tends to be very permissive.

At 6:21 PM, October 18, 2004, Blogger Nicole said...

So ... are you saying you *don't* think "loan" should be used as a verb?

At 7:26 PM, October 18, 2004, Blogger Bill said...

Given that "loan" and "lend" are precisely the same length, and there's no other advantage to be gained from using the often-frowned-upon choice, I would advise sticking with "lend" as the verb.

At 11:17 AM, October 19, 2004, Blogger Nicole said...

So, you'd change it in copy you were editing?


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