Thursday, 26 April 2007

Word of the day: diarise

Further to JD's mention of ruggedise (ugh!), today a writer came with "diarise", meaning to note a date in a diary. Fortunately those nice people who compile the Oxford English Dictionary confirm that diary is a noun which has, thus far at least, escaped being 'verbed'.

In fact "verb" is offered in the OED only as a noun so officially, at least, verb has yet to be verbed. But while the word has yet to force its way into the dictionary the practice (or in this case practise?) is widespread.

Is this a sign of a vigorous, evolving language, or simply a reflection of lazy thinking and lazy writing? I suspect the latter. This magazine, at least, is definitely not ready for verbisation, though the OED does list "verbalise" as "excessive or empty use of language"... which seems to say it all.


  1. I'm strangely fond of the (almost certainly entirely made-up) verb "to trouser".

    As in "I was walking down the road and found a fiver. I immediately trousered it before anyone spotted me".

    Under normal circumstances I'd call this an Americanism, but surely then it would have to be "to pant" - which I believe is already taken.

  2. Thank God that the OED is standing firm on the 'diarise' issue. 'Ruggedise' was shocking enough, 'diarise' is an example of lazy language. In my opinion, anyway.

    Somebody told me they were going to "agenda [the topic discussed] for tomorrow's meeting", and asked if I had any objection. I did say that I objected to the use of agenda as a verb... could this be the new diarise?

  3. I am so glad to have found confirmation that my manager is clearly wrong about "diarise" being a word. Whilst I knew what she meant, as did all of our "team", and not wishing to belittle my manager (who incidentally is less qualified than me - grrr...) I pointed out that "diarise" was almost certainly not a word. Now I feel like some sort of anal dweeb who has gone to (any) length - just to be right! Yours smugly...

  4. Converting nouns into verbs is a hallmark of English - especially since it's lost the bulk of its inflectional markings. I picture people sitting around grousing "What's all this about fielding an army? In my day we put the army into the field, thank you very much!" And now people are complaining about someone attempting to make use of a suffix whose function is to create verbs!

  5. I have to say that I'm happy with the verb 'diarise'. Not least because it is (somewhat surprisingly!) The Engine Room's top keyword, according to Google Analytics, and has been for nearly two years.

  6. Anyway, you might be right about the OED and 'diarise', but if you look for the proper English spelling, 'diarize' it's there:

    diarize, v. intr. To write a record of events in a diary. Hence {sm}diarizing vbl. n. and ppl. a.

  7. I've just checked and the Concise OED (10th edition) gives both spellings: "diarize (also -ise)"

  8. I'm going to use it before the world ends. Excellent blog BTW (found it via Google when checking the spelling).

  9. I first encountered this word in the 1980's when my work supervisor asked me to diarise an appointment. After my initial surprise at hearing the 'verbing' of "diary", I realised it conveyed precisely what he wanted me to do; and once I appreciated its utility I avoided the pain of feeling the disgust, abhorrence or loathing many folk feel when they encounter novel uses of the English language.

    There is no correct and comprehensive canon of the English language, nor has there ever been; lexicographers will be the first to admit this. If there were such a thing, it would soon become redundant in our dynamic contemporary world; at best it would eventually become marginalised and used by only parts of society or for specific purposes - remember Latin?

    English survives precisely because it services the needs of its many, and now varied, users. It lives and grows like a tree (or perhaps a forest) - some branches thrive and put out new leaves while others die. Neither we, nor any institution, can control its life and growth, which is particularly vigorous these days, despite our indignant sprays of "verbicide".

  10. My pet hate is hearing that things are "hotting up". I'm aware of the verb 'to heat' but not 'to hot' but perhaps someone could advise if I'm wrong?

  11. I started using this word a few years ago. I thought that coming up with it was a stroke of genius, but now I see that others are using it and I concur that it fits our current lifestyle trends. However, I don't think that it adds anything to the English language, but it will eventually be shortened to Drize, then perhaps Drz, then Dz.
    We'll stop using it when it no longer fits, letting it go the way of words like Doth, thou, thee and Madam.

  12. Brilliant Blog. These are all well presented arguments against the use of diarise. Spell check also challenged my use of this word, but I won the argument by selecting "Add to dictionary". I expect a formal disciplinary hearing with OED soon.

  13. EFFICIENCY vs. LAZY...
    I disagree with those whom have questionable objection to concise language. Perhaps unlike others, I seek 'brevity' as opposed to War & Peace. I've even purchased - I'd bet my life efficienate will be a dictionary recognised word within 10-20years.

    As life gets busier, our lifestyle requires more efficiency. The world and civilisations evolve, what's wrong with that?

    Even from school days I've been accused as 'laid back' & patient in character - as not many things get my goat. HOWEVER... my recent years of helping the Swansea Canal Society, I've been subject to criticism over my wordage; sorry 'use of words'. Or, Grammar, call it what you will.

    Surprisingly, other's opinionated, bordering angered response to my use of the word 'diarise', or even 'agreeance', is actually starting to wind me up.

    Everyone's different - just let it be if there is no intention of mallace.

    Steven Walters.
    Small Business Helper Limited.

  14. I find Gareth's comment that the verb to trouser is 'almost certainly entirely made-up' revealing. All language is made up. People who resist the development of language often appear to think it has been handed down in complete and perfect form from the gods. I use 'to diarise' because it works for me and my colleagues. If you don't like, don't use it.