Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Possible poorly chosen exemplary quotation in the OED

A relative from the left coast was going to visit my greater metro area on the third coast and wrote to me that she was going to do some museuming, noting that there is no such word. Red meat has no appeal; this was a downright red lentil to me. Of course it's a word!, I protested; you wordified it by using it as a word. It matters not whether it's been dictionaried.

And then, just for the sake of completeness, I OED'd it. To my dismay, museum is listed as a verb. An intransitive verb, meaning to visit museums (n.). Here is one of the three exemplary quotations in the OED:

1899 H. James Let. 2 Apr. (1984) IV. 101, I breakfasted, dined, theatre'd, museumed, walked and talked them.
The them at the end suggests that all six verbs were being used transitively, which makes it a poor example of museum as an intransitive verb. I understand that the usages here may be eccentric, but that's irrelevant to my point (except that it may [or may not] mean that it isn't a good exemplary quotation for any purpose at all).


Fallacist said...

Verbing weirds language.

Mike Koplow said...