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I wonder if it is possible to use a noun as a verb in a casual conversation. This is very common in my native language and when I was doing my research I found a text about it. I sounded like a neologism to me. Would it be weird to use it in a casual conversation? I have seen people use people's names as verbs too, as in "You Britta'd it."

I'm positive I have seen in some TV series someone say something like "You can thing the thing." or "that thingy thing"

The meaning we use in my language is when we do not know or forgot a word, we use thing instead, e.g. Bring me that thing (points to thing). "I forgot to thing the cushion."

Would it be weird to say "my camera is thinged"? Maybe spelled "thing'd"?

This is the full text I found where thing was used as a verb:

https://philosophyisnotaluxury.com/2011/03/to-thing-a-new-verb/#:~:text=Thing%20(v).%20to%20thing,is%20the%20ability%20to%20thing.

This is an excerpt from the text using thing as a verb:

"One of the greatest human skills is the ability to thing. We are thinging beings. We thing all the time. We started by thinging the natural world. We saw a tall plant and we defined that kind of a plant as a 'tree.' We thinged it."

Thanks,

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    Language is a creative process so as long as it is grammatical, you can do as you like. Any noun can be verbed.
    – Lambie
    Mar 2 at 14:52
  • It is not common in English to use thing as a verb, at least now or yet. You can say "my camera is thinged" but you'll get a lot of perplexed stares. English has a lot of generic verbs for such situations -- "My camera is messed (up)." "My camera is fubarred." "My camera is dorked (up)." "My camera is broken." Mar 2 at 14:59
  • @FeliniusRex all those terms mean "broken", but it seems like the OP is looking for an even more generic word - something more akin to a verb form of thingamajig or the like. I don't know of any such words (other than maybe foo, but it's a rather technical term). Mar 2 at 15:02
  • merriam-webster.com/dictionary/… See examples of verbing.
    – Lambie
    Mar 2 at 15:15
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    Note that the "philosophyisnotaluxury" link you give explicitly defines the verb to thing at the beginning of the article. This should indicate to you that this is not a commonly "verbed" noun in English and does not have a standard meaning that people would understand. You certainly can use it as a verb, but people may not understand what you're trying to say unless the context is very clear. Mar 2 at 15:24
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Usually in English, when a noun is "verbed", it means that you're saying that something is turned into that noun (either literally or metaphorically) or is acting like that noun. Some examples:

You can verb any noun. [Turn into a verb.]

He has been tomcatting around. [Act like a male cat by having indiscriminate sex.]

That update will brick your phone. [Become like a brick by being completely inert.]

You really Britta'd that situation! [Act like Britta in some way that is well-known among your friends who share some joke about her.]

So the most natural meaning of the verb to thing would mean to turn into a thing, which is how your link defines the verb for the purpose of their essay:

Thing (v). to thing, thinging. 1. To create an object by defining a boundary around some portion of reality separating it from everything else and then labeling that portion of reality with a name.

[ Note that this is a non-standard definition, which is why they had to provide it. ]

That is, to turn a portion of reality into a thing (an object that can be identified and named).

It does not happen to be idiomatic to use the verb to thing as a placeholder for a verb that you can't remember, although it might be understood in certain situations. It does kind of make sense in the sentence, "I thinged the thing with the other thing," because you're already using the noun thing as a placeholder for unknown nouns, so it does sound like you've forgotten all complex words.

But if you just say, "My camera is thinged," that sounds very strange. The most obvious meaning is "My camera has turned into a real object (i.e., a thing)," which is nonsensical - your camera already is a real object.

You can say something like, "My camera is doing that thing again," if you want to express the idea that the camera is acting in a way that you have no word for.

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  • "it means that you're saying that something is turned into that noun"?? to verb is to turn a noun into a verb.
    – Lambie
    Mar 2 at 16:14
  • @Lambie - Perhaps my wording is confusing - "To verb a noun means that you're turning something into that noun." For the actual verb "to verb", the noun that things are turned into is the noun "verb". Mar 2 at 16:19
  • No matter how you cut it, it will come up short....Next time, I will make sure not to point out your lapsus.
    – Lambie
    Mar 2 at 16:25
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An anecdote, not an answer.

I once attended a colloquium talk on computer algorithms for natural language processing. At the end of the talk a member of the audience asked about the problems arising when a word could be both a noun and a verb. The speaker was prepared for the question, and answered

It's well known that in English you can verb any noun.

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  • Well, I think it is a good answer.
    – Lambie
    Mar 2 at 16:44
  • Thanks you all for answering. Let me tell you where this question came from. We were having a videoconference and one person said, "my camera is thinged" (literal translation). Well, her video was froze, that's what she meant. Would that have been weird for English speakers?
    – Judy
    Mar 2 at 17:14
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Thank you all for answering. Let me tell you where this question came from. We were having a videoconference and one person said, "my camera is thinged" (literal translation). Well, her video was frozen, that's what she meant. Would that have been weird for English speakers if they were in that situation?

About the example in the link, it seems to me a discussion about existence and bringing things to exist. Some points being:

1 - something exists without me knowing it exists. 2 - something only exists after I know it exists. (it exists to me) 3 - something exists when I name it.

I think he was calling thinging it, naming it, meaning bringing it to exist.

So, in context, thing could substitute any verb if it was clear what it meant. However, this is nonstandard / not a common use of the word thing.

Is that it?

I have things to do. If I am doing things, am I thinging?

Isn't this something Phoebe from Friends would say?

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