Saturday, February 9, 2013


My brother asked, "When did concept become a verb?" I answered that I wasn't aware that it had. He said that several times he's heard people using "concepting".

I said, "Well, ever since Eisenhower started saying FINALIZE, nouns becoming verbs--it's been all downhill." He did not know that Eisenhower's usage of "finalize" placed it irretrievably in our lexicon. He doubted me; I had to show him several articles!

I said, "Well, there have been several words originated by our Presidents such as sugar-coated by Lincoln and iffy and State of the Union by FDR." I told him that I had seen Paul Dickson interviewed on Book Notes (click here to see the video) and he told about a number of others such as:

HARDING: "normalcy" and "founding fathers". Harding was such a mangler of words and syntax that H.L. Mencken called his speech Gamalielese because of his middle name Gamaliel..
MADISON: "squatter"
JOHN ADAMS: "caucus", "spec", and "quixotic"
JOHN Q. ADAMS: "gag rule"
WASHINGTON: "tin can" and "bakery"
ANDREW JOHNSON: "racial discrimination"
TAYLOR: "First Lady"
BENJAMIN HARRISON: "keep the ball rolling"
WILSON: "Potomac fever" and "watchful waiting"
MCKINLEY: "war room"
EISENHOWER: "Mulligan", "domino theory" and "counterproductive"
LYNDON JOHNSON: "pressing the flesh"
NIXON: "winding down the war"
OBAMA: "shovel-ready" and "snowmageddon"
JEFFERSON: "belittle", "pedicure", "monocrat" "ottoman" and "shag"
THEODORE ROOSEVELT: "muckraker", "bully pulpit", "weasel words", "loose cannon", "mollycoddle", "lunatic fringe", "nature fakers" and "good to the last drop".

Although Jefferson has 114 words and phrases which he coined that are documented in the OED, TR's contributions are my favorites, but Jefferson deserves the award for the BEST, because he originated the word NEOLOGY which means: "creating new words"!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How about "the military industrial complex"? ML