Submitted by Hairy Scot on March 11, 2012

-age words

New Age Words? Just how far will the practice of adding “age” to existing words be taken. To date we have:- signage being used instead of signs, sewerage being used instead of sewage, reportage being used instead of reporting. I am sure there are many other examples of this particular fad. The media, of course, have adopted the fad with enthusiasm.

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It seems to me that if the earlier posts are correct, "sewerage" predated "sewage," so it seems most likely that "sewage" was created by people misusing, by truncating, the word "sewerage." And over time, at least in many parts of the world, "sewage" became more used. As Tom Lehrer said, "What you get out of it depends on what you put into it."

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Screwage? The spillage of thy screwage ... which might end up in the sewage in the sewerage.

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One I see on those survival shows is "cordage". And some guys say "babeage" when describing high proportions of available young women.

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There's scrappage: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scrappage_program

And screwage, which has largely replaced corkage, now that most wine bottles have screw caps.

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Miles, you're on the right track, but I would suggest that sewerage means the carriage of effluents, that is, the process itself or prehaps the infrastructure in the abstract, not the actual pipes, etc. The "pipes and things..." would properly be referred to as "sewers". Yes, sewerage is also listed in some sources as a synonym for sewer or sewage, but clearly its existence is justified by its primary and unique definition as the more global concept of sewage handling.

Personally, I think it's a great word. I can't wait to work it into my next conversation.

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HAHAHAHAHA. I love this.

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Sewerage means pipes and things that carry effluent. Sewage is the effluent. Distinct meanings, nothing neologistic about them to me (although admittedly there are other words we could use to describe the same thing). I see what you're saying about other examples such as 'signage' though - it's not really necessary.

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If one applies the logic:-
signage = Signs collectively, esp. commercial signs or those on public display; the design and arrangement of these
to some other -age words then would the following be true:-
dotage = arrangement of dots
garbage = design of garb
pillage = collection of pills

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Has the word ‘notoriety’ lost its negative connotation? Nowadays, it seems to be synonymous with ‘fame’ but without the negative meaning to it.

He got his notoriety as a WWF wrestler in the 90′s. (even though he played a ‘good guy’)

He gained notoriety as a sharpshooter in his rookie year. (skilled hockey player)

<a href="http://www.honeywellcentral.com/thermostats&quo... Thermostats</a>

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I find "sewerage" to be truly funny:

the provision of ***drainage*** by sewers.
• another term for sewage

Sewage:
waste water and excrement conveyed in sewers.
ORIGIN mid 19th cent.: from sewer1, by substitution of the suffix -age.

So it went from sewer to sewage to sewerage ... Maybe the next one will be sewerment! lol

oxforddictionaries.com/definition/-age
-age |ɪʤ|
suffix
forming nouns:
1 denoting an action: leverage | voyage.
• the product of an action: spillage | wreckage.
• a function; a sphere of action: homage | peerage.
2 denoting an aggregate or number of: mileage | percentage | signage.
• fees payable for; the cost of using: postage | tonnage.
• informal denoting a large number of something (typically forming nouns whose plurals are correctly formed with -s): decibelage | kissage.
3 denoting a place or abode: vicarage | village.

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I am aware that we have had -age words for quite some time, but most of those came into being in a completed state (if that is the correct term). They were not formed by tagging -age onto the end of an existing noun.
Also, I must confess I didn't research sewerage and reportage so I had no idea when they first came into use.
The reason I picked out these three words is that I had never come across them in the sixty years of my life before coming to NZ in 2007.
I guess there is nothing much wrong with the words themselves, but the usage I have seen just seems wrong somehow, especially in the case of signage as is pointed out by Perfect Pedant.

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How far will this practice be taken? It's already been taken quite far: language, savage, umbrage, carriage, village, luggage, etc. When will the madness stop???

According to the OED, "signage" dates from 1949. "sewerage": 1834. "reportage": 1878.

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We've been coining "-age" words in English pretty well since words bearing that suffix came into the language (ha!) courtesy of Norman French.

I suspect we'll still be cheerfully coining new "-age" words when most of us here today are either in our dotage (ha ha!) or gone.

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Apparently some of these words do have a distinct meaning of their own but they are all too often used in the wrong context.
Signage is a prime example of this problem because, as you point out, it is typically used as an alternative plural of sign.

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