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gifting vs. giving a gift

When did we stop “giving” presents, and instead started to “gift” presents?  I was taught that “gift” was a noun and not a verb, but it appears it is now used as the preferred verb to indicate the giving of a gift.

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You do a service pointing out the danger of using "gift" as a verb. There are of course times when "gift" as a verb would be OK, but I would tread carefully. Most of the time it would come across as pretentious or perhaps as flip.

There are of course many English nouns that also serve as verbs, and it may be that English will continue to move in an isolating direction (which would include weakening the distinctions between parts of speech).

fmerton February 10, 2011, 11:05am

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It's just another sign of the (end) times.

One person lazily says 'gifting' and another thinks it's cute. Then 100 million start using it because they think is meaningful.


Red February 10, 2011, 12:21pm

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"Gifting" reminds me of "conversating". A totally unnecessary coinage.

criskity February 12, 2011, 9:18pm

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I am reluctant to ever condemn an expression as "totally unnecessary." Usually if the language community invents something, there is a need, or at least a perceived use.

With respect to "to gift," I can see use for its past tense form ("the masterpiece was gifted to the museum by Mr Gates"). Yes, "given to us" is less pretentious, but sometimes one wants to be pretentious, if only for ironic or humorous effect. In my example the intent might be to infer a dignity and honor to the giver. I don't know that it succeeds--it would depend on the rest of the context, and I think I would avoid it, but we need to avoid building rulebook walls.

The problem with "conversating" is more serious (which is perhaps why I find "to gift" in my dictionary but not "to conversate." The "-ate" suffix can convert a noun into a verb, and is already an ending to some verbs, but "to converse" is already a verb. Converting a verb into a verb is of course redundant.

fmerton February 13, 2011, 2:57am

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I need to add something to what I said: perhaps "gift" as a verb can refer to paying for something that is chosen and bought by the recipient whereas "give" can refer to the giver choosing and buying the gift and presenting it.

fmerton February 13, 2011, 9:29am

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Living in Rome, and I've noticed that people speaking English as a second-language will often make this mistake. "Gifting", "conversating", and "photocopy-ating" are some of the ones I hear often.

Perhaps these mistakes come from "international English".

stephanosuh February 14, 2011, 8:01am

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I think "gift" as a verb is a vogue word that will die under its own weight. I hope. Similarly, we hear "plating" used to describe the arrangement of food on a dish, but mainly on cooking programs. Nobody says "plate me more potatoes, Ma" without being smacked.
(One hopes.)

"Gift" as a verb is awkward: "Friends, Romans, Countrymen—gift me your ears." I don't think so.

This usage will either expire or flourish, inane or not. You are not required to use it.

dogreed February 16, 2011, 11:14pm

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Mr. Merton, you cannot "infer" anything to anyone. You infer when you draw a conclusion based upon observation; you imply when you wish to convey a message tacitly; you impute when you attribute or ascribe. As for "gifting," it sounds conversationally as acceptable as "ginormous," and I do not see that one going away anytime soon. And don't forget "commentating."

richdaley February 19, 2011, 12:48pm

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Mr. Daley, I'm pretty sure that Frank Merton meant to say "confer", not "infer". I'm baffled, however, as to why you feel the need to discuss implying and imputing. While I do agree that "gift" as a verb has become a bit of a buzzword lately, I really fail to understand any objection to it by you and others. First, it's use isn't a recent phenomenon (even if it's overuse might be). Using gift as a verb goes back to the sixteenth century. Next, this noun-verb duality is very common in English with probaby thousands (tens of thousands?) of examples. Do you object to "walk" as a verb because one can also say "take a walk"? Next, "gift" as a verb isn't redundant at all. In fact, it is quite useful as a more concise way to express the idea. "Giving" doesn't necessarily mean the same thing as "gifting". If it merely leaves my hands and passes to yours, I have given it to you. I may or may not have gifted it to you. to you. Even if I say "give a gift", technically, there's still some ambiguity. I may have physically given you a gift from someone else, or intended for someone else. "Gifted" is precise nad unambiguous. It also is unique in its definition. So, why the objection? Yes, it is a kind of "flavor of the month", but so what? That doesn't make it wrong or even undesirable. If anything, everyone should be objecting to "give a gift" as unnecessarily verbose when "gift" would do just fine.

porsche February 19, 2011, 3:50pm

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Obviously, "...nad..." = "...and..."

porsche February 19, 2011, 3:52pm

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"gift" has been a verb since at least the 1600s. Which means we've been in the end times for... 400 years. How will English survive?

"The recovery of a parcel of ground which the Queen had gifted to Mary Levinston." (a1639, in the OED)

goofy February 23, 2011, 10:06am

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I hate to say it, but with the rising presence of digital distributors like Steam and iTunes, the word Gifting is here to stay.
The term Gift is used when you buy others games or songs and if anything will only be used more and more in todays technologically advanced world!

amindatlarge February 28, 2011, 11:12pm

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I was always under the impression that "gift" as a verb was fine, and as porsche said, a more concise word. However, I do agree that it sounds old-fashioned and awkward. I'm also very interested in hearing that it's a "buzzword." Very seldomly do I hear "gift" as a verb, but I'm in a very rural area so it makes me wonder if this is a more urban "buzzword."

jalinweaver February 28, 2011, 11:59pm

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"Seldomly" is not a word. "Seldom" is already an adverb.

richdaley March 1, 2011, 10:37am

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Obviously "seldomly" is a word; if it were not, it wouldn't exist.

JJMBallantyne March 3, 2011, 11:50am

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And, regarding "gift" as a verb, I agree with a few other commentators here: it quite clearly means something different from plain old "give".

JJMBallantyne March 3, 2011, 12:17pm

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I liked that Goofy used the OED example of "gifting" land in the 17th century. It seems ridiculous to me to hear "gift" as a verb now, and I am shocked and appalled that we may hear it more often, but I wonder if the word (like "deed") used to mean something like, "gave of one's own volition, with no expectation of repayment." (i.e. "I 'gifted' Goofy the pencil" v. "After Jane lent me a pencil, I 'gave' Goofy the pencil and demanded that Goofy pay Jane ten cents.") It would be interesting to see what legal definitions of "gift" are, and I'd love to know whether the tech companies who "gift" games use "gift" because of legal reasons! (Separately, "conversate" is funny! It reminds me of a time I overheard someone say, "I'm so sleep DEPRIVATED!" It's a great word and I use it all the time: I "gift" it to you all in return for a fun read here...! ;)

Laura March 6, 2011, 1:13pm

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'Gift' as a verb is regularly used in the legal profession esp in juridicitions where inheritance taxes are significant. Wealthy people set up 'gifting programs' over a period of years to benefit next of kin and avoid death duty and gift duty.

jayles March 6, 2011, 3:17pm

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It might be a little late but, what about "handsel" or "hansel", my dictionary finds them as the translation of "obsequiar" (pretty much like gifting) Is it not right?

I will apologise for any previous and incoming mistakes, my mother language is Castillian.
The site is amazing, very very very interesting :)

Sharm March 6, 2011, 3:56pm

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Yes "gifting" had been bothering me too. But then I just ran across it's evil cousin. "giftable" as an advertising term. It just sounds so cute and ugly.

Byrne March 16, 2011, 7:32pm

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I understand gifting when it has the suffex re, as in 're-gifting unwanted Christmas presents', and as a legal term. But I don't understand my daughter getting it as a general english word to learn to spell in grade 2.

elise March 18, 2011, 4:30pm

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I meant prefix.

elise March 18, 2011, 4:31pm

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I agree with porsche that "gift" as a verb has it's place, and I'm surprised that it seems to give some people so much pain. If I were ever in a position to donate a million dollars to some foundation, I think I would like it to be "gifted", not merely "given". Don't know why.

vwmoll April 3, 2011, 2:35am

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"Gift" as a verb - so ugly !

patty-c July 2, 2011, 6:44pm

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Doesn't anybody teach the rules for spelling its and it's any more? This thread has at least two misspelled itses. What's up with that? It's a pretty simple rule.

patty-c July 2, 2011, 6:49pm

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re: its
three, still counting

patty-c July 2, 2011, 6:52pm

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"Gift" in its verb tense is an abuse of the language. I don't care if it has 17th Century roots. There are many words used commonly in the 17th Century that we don't use today, indeed we would consider them archaic or in some cases, scatalogical. The legal profession chooses words for different reasons, their use is not common and does not justify common use. It it unfortunate that iTunes and Apple chose that ugly and nonstandard use of a word that should be "GIVE". GIVE, GAVE, GIVEN. GIFT is a NOUN. Not that most people even can distinguish a noun, a verb, an adjective, or an adverb, which is the real reason this use has flourished. Our schools stopped teaching English grammar.

David Teague August 19, 2011, 7:51am

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David Teague: You're right that just because something was used in the 17th century, it doesn't make it correct. I cited the quote with "gift" from the 17th century because I was responding to someone who thought it was a new usage.

But you're wrong that "gift" is not a verb. It is a verb, and its first use was "to endow with some power or attribute", which we still find in the past participle "gifted". And you're wrong that it's nonstandard. Both British and American dictionaries treat it as standard. MWDEU on "gift":

goofy August 19, 2011, 9:59am

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I recall that a "deed of gift" exists in real estate terminology, likely from the archaic usage mentioned above. We might transfer, register, or sign such a thing but even now I don't think anyone "gifts" a deed except perhaps on paper.
I am irritated by the use of "gifted" (when not used used to describe one who has skills or merits) and it is not simply an urban or contemporary "cool" term. Folks here in the backwoods of NC are fond of usage like, "My Uncle Joe gifted me this fine truck/guitar/fishin' pole/etc... when clearly they could say, "he gave me this fine truck". Either way, I suspect a large red bow was not involved nor would it have changed what I find easier on the ears.
You'd think that the homespun usage that brought us a "gift horse" wouldn't be twisted into, "Don't look a gifted horse in the mouth". :)
It is possible to give material gifts and positive things (kudos, love, reassurance) and it is possible to give other negative things (headaches, beatings, diseases) yet we don't confuse giving (neutral) with a gift or present (positive). Let's hope we don't get to "presented" (accent on first syllable) do describe what happened at last week's birthday party.

mike October 16, 2011, 5:31pm

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Goofy: The vestigial existence of the past participle, "gifted", is not a reason to back-form a verb, " to gift" from it. This use is not standard, in spite of the abusive use it receives. The standard is "GIVE, GAVE, GIVEN" not "GIFT, GIFTED, GIFTED" I can only guess at the past participle. I am acutely aware of the early use of this word in this way. I refer you to my diatribe above on this too cute use. If this (ab)use continues, in my not so humble opinion, the English Language will be the poorer for it.

David Teague October 17, 2011, 1:45am

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David Teague: The verb "gift" is not a backformation from "gifted". "Gift" was a verb in the 15th century meaning "to endow with some power or attribute" and this is where the past participle "gifted" came from.

In the 17th century, the verb came to mean "to present", and it continues in this meaning today.

Simply stating that it is nonstandard does not make it so. I have cited a reference (Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage). I recommend reading the entry:

goofy October 17, 2011, 2:31am

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Like so many other American vogue words "Gifted" started in the modern era in an episode on Seinfeld

Paul McG December 25, 2012, 10:06pm

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I think this is mainly an American issue, but if I can just give a British angle (without making any judgements one way or the other).

On what goofy was saying, Burchfield in the New Fowler's supports him as to the antiquity of its use, but suggests that it has rather fallen out of favour among standard speakers in England (although perhaps not in Scotland), and best avoided. And although MWDEU says that it is treated with greater tolerance in BrE, I can't remember hearing it used much like this. MWDEU also says it is treated as standard in American and English dictionaries, but admit that most of their British references are Scottish, where the verb is used more in the sense of 'present'.

As to British dictionaries, I've just checked in seven online versions. Unfortunately I don't have access to the OED, but of the others only two British dictionaries (Oxford Online and Collins Online) seem to list gift as a verb in this sense (but see below), and they both suggest that this is rather formal use, especially to and from institutions - "give (something) as a gift, especially formally or as a donation or bequest" - with a meaning closer to 'present'. They also give the meaning goofy suggested of 'endow', which is absolutely standard, especially in its adjectival form - 'a gifted pianist'.

The fact that it doesn't appear as a verb in any of the other five, (mainly but not exclusively aimed at advanced learners), suggests that it isn't used very much like this in BrE, and my impression is that it is largely seen here as being either an Americanism or rather pretentious. I found a comment from one British EFL teacher who said he had been surprised to see a photo caption "Mr Kennedy, a fan of the water dog, is said to have gifted one to the Obamas" on the BBC website, and there are several references to this sentence on the web, but the only one I can find on the BBC the caption reads "given", so perhaps a sub later changed it.

The BBC, Economist and Telegraph style guides don''t seem to mention it but the Guardian Style Guide brooks no nonsense - "gift - not a verb (unless, perhaps, directly quoting a football manager or player: "We gifted Barnsley their fifth goal") " - (see below), not that the Guardian Style Guide (or any other newspaper style guide for that matter) should be taken as gospel.

That sports example is backed up by Oxford Online and the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary which give this meaning as informal and, I think, peculiarly British and popular in journalism - to give something to somebody without their having to make any effort to get it, or inadvertently allow (an opponent) to have something:

"They gifted their opponents a goal / a goal to their opponents"
"The goalkeeper gifted Liverpool their last-minute winner."

@PaulMcG - Not to belittle the effect of Seinfeld, but MWDEU rather suggests that the revival started in Hollywood glossy magazines of the fifties, if you include the fifties as being in the modern era. Follow goofy's link for more on that.

There's also a discussion (with that BBC quote) here -

Warsaw Will December 26, 2012, 6:23am

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re: seldomly - it's in at least a couple of dictionaries:

The Wiktionary entry has attested examples from the Washington Post, both about sport.

Warsaw Will December 26, 2012, 6:37am

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"Gifting" is horrible.

"Authoring" is worse.

SSJ January 18, 2013, 2:24am

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There ain't a noun that can't be verbed.

RKJ February 10, 2013, 6:34pm

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If you require it, I will coin the term, neo-backform. "Gift" as a verb assuredly came from a neo-backforming of "gift" (verb tense) from the existing past participle "gifted". I would bet that few persons who use "gift" as a verb are aware of its 17th century roots.
The use of "gift" as a verb is nonstandard, remains nonstandard, and as I pointed out, the English language is poorer for this use.
BTW, I would like to read the article you reference, but your link takes me to an advertisement and reviews for the Merriam Webster Dictionary, but no article.

David Teague February 11, 2013, 1:05am

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@David Teangue - it's not an advertisement, it's simply the book's page in Google Books. Until very recently the whole book was available to read online at Google Books, but unfortunately the publishers seem to have changed their policy. So at the time goofy's link was quite genuine. By the way, it's the best 28 dollars I've ever spent on a book. Here's some of the entry:

"A number of the critics acknowledge that such usage (i.e. - meaning to present) goes back to the 17th century .... Gift did not become a controversial verb until it began to appear with some regularity in American newspapers and magazines ... Most of the criticism of this verb has been from American sources ... [it has] a long history of respectable use in Scotland ..."

They go on - "Its detractors say the usual things about the impropriety of using a noun as a verb, but that obviously doesn't stand up against 400 years of historical evidence ..."

And they conclude - "There is nothing fundamentally wrong with the verb gift. It is, however, an uncommon word, and an unpopular one as well. Unless you're Scottish or a gossip columnist, you probably won't have much occasion to use it"

I'm Scottish, so that's OK, I'm allowed to use it. But seriously, you (and a lot of other people, admittedly) may not like it, but how on earth does its use impoverish the language? And how exactly is it an abuse? Is it an abuse every time somebody coins a new word, or starts using a word in a different way or with a new meaning? If people had stuck to that rule, English would indeed be a poorer language. The truth is only time will tell. If it catches on, they'll look aback in a hundred years and wonder what all the fuss was about. If not, as looks likely, you've nothing to worry about.

Warsaw Will February 11, 2013, 7:19am

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In response to RKJ, i'd like to use another abomination of the information revolution -

Sereg May 13, 2013, 3:58pm

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Don't know if this adds to the conversation, but this discussion brought this quote from Robert Burns to mind:
O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!

Rena Wallace October 3, 2013, 12:23pm

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Gift as a verb - my Scottish granny who lived for years in America in the 1940s and '50s used to use this term sometimes, when distributing presents to us, her numerous progeny. I thought she got the 'gifting' word from Scotland and her generosity with gift giving from the USA.
Now today I was appalled to see another noun used as a verb: action. My registration papers as a voter arrived in the post with the instruction "please action at once" and I thought at first that what was missing was a hyphen, to separate the Please! from a description of what was required: action at once (as in Churchill's wartime instructions to civil servants and military top brass, 'action this day' on written orders). Then the horror of it struck me: action was being used here as an imperative verb. By British officialdom. They meant "please act at once'" as in "please deal with this at once". Where did they pick up this "action at once" idea? I was reminded of my Scottish granny and her Americanisms, and wonder whether to blame them. It sure did prompt me to act at once and register so that I could dispose of the offending instructions.
Oh no! Did Churchill mean "action" as an imperative? HE had an American mother, after all! I always thought he used it as a noun in this expression.

Brus October 4, 2013, 2:30am

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@Brus - I've no doubt your granny got 'gift' as a verb from Scotland, as the OED refers to its use as a verb as 'chiefly Scottish'.

I'm sure Churchill meant 'action' as a noun; I imagine its use as a verb postdates him quite a bit. On the other hand it's not that new, especially in business contexts - 'I would like you to action this as soon as possible', i.e. put into action' (slightly different, I'd suggest, from 'deal with' - you can deal with things that crop up, such as problems, but you action things like plans: things that have been decided) - at least it has the advantage of brevity.

People have been turning nouns into verbs for centuries, or as they say at 'Verbing is a time-honored way of coining new words out of old ones'. Does anyone nowadays really worry about 'to chair a meeting', 'to host a dinner party', 'to file something', 'to access a file' or 'to contact somebody'. Then there's 'pencil somebody in', 'pen a little ditty', 'salt something away', 'pepper the conversation with verbification', 'ship the goods', 'just Google it' or 'we could microwave it'.

And what about all those verbs made from nouns from body parts - 'hand sb sth', 'face the wind', 'shoulder the responsibility' etc?

The real problem with verbs like 'action' and 'impact' is that they are new and unfamiliar; we happily accept examples of verbification that out grandparents found strange. The other thing is that it is quite personal: 'action' and 'impact' don't bother me particularly, but I'm not so keen on 'incentivise', although I've now just about got used to 'prioritise', mainly because it's in all the business English books I have to use. And again they're shorter than 'give somebody an incentive' and 'give something priority', and some commenters on this forum seem very keen on reducing the number of words we use (although I'm not one of them).

Warsaw Will October 4, 2013, 7:28am

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Brilliant, Warsaw Will. But "Does anyone nowadays really worry about 'to chair a meeting', 'to host a dinner party', 'to file something', 'to access a file' or 'to contact somebody'." Yes, actually, especially "to access", which I think of as computerese. I might do it to a file, that is all. 'Filing' raises only a Roger Moore as James Bond almost imperceptible flicker of an eyebrow. I think many of these terms are computerese. "To exit" is a particularly fingernails down the blackboard expression, handy for what you do to leave a computer thingy, but when people leave a room do we need to replace a one syllable five letter word 'leave' with a shorter two syllable 'exit' as if the room we are leaving is an imaginary computer space? Is it elegant? Is it quicker? No way! Is it ghastly? Yes! Do the teachers about to leave a meeting enact a Bateman cartoon reaction when the boss says "pick up a copy of my speech as you exit?"
I spot reservations in the tone of your piece, revealed by the use here and there of "but", "nowadays" and "at least", and the admission that it is really business speak, which we all know is horrible. "Incentivise"! Gorge rises! "Prioritise" - vomit!. Why is shorter better? Are we in some kind of rush? Not me, I'm retired, and it's autumn and raining.
Do you know what? I think that the blame for this abominable violence perpetrated upon the English language lies with people who wish to look important and 'in the flow' and busy with 'blue sky thinking' (unaware of what that really means), and thinking 'out of the box' and so, between seeing visions, they employ such terms to try to convey the impression they mix in circles where such business-speak is all the rage. Middle management, in other words. That is their aspiration. Being 'on the ball'. There was an American film about all this in the '50s which I must research: a fellow who had numerous children because it was more efficient, and they all had to have out their appendices when one did, and so did he, their father, for that reason too, and so forth. Efficient and on the ball. Very funny. Balls sums it up, really.
The real movers and shakers in this world do not use such language. Mutti Merkel speaks proper German, Pres. Hollande does proper French, ( the Academie Francaise insists he must), and having tuned in to all the British political parties' leaders' speeches in our UK conference season lately, I am confirmed in my belief. None uses such gruesome 'management-speak' in public. No phrases employed appalled. Journalists were amused by the short sentences and repetitions, and said so, but the carefully prepared language of all four (if you include Mr Farage who spoke about UKIP to a meeting in Manchester) was to my ear fluent and painless. I am sure President Obama, too, well deserves his reputation for making splendid speeches, but I cannot vouch for this as I have heard none.

Dorset County Council, by printing "PLEASE ACTION IMMEDIATELY" on their letter to me getting me to register my right to vote, have left me amused but by no means bemused. I can just picture the car driven by the suit who was the author of that instruction. Enough! And I bet you can tell that I too am not one of those keen to reduce the number of words I use, either.

Brus October 4, 2013, 9:56am

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By the way, "action" from Latin ago, age-, eg-, act- meaning to do, or indeed act. So "action this" is daft-speak for "do this", really.

Brus October 4, 2013, 10:01am

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@Brus - I have some sympathy with your views on business speak, witness the question I posted about 'reach out to' meaning to contact (do you include the verb 'contact' in this 'abominable violence perpetrated upon the English language', by the way?). As for Obama, excellent speaker though he is, he is rather prone to use the expression 'going forward', which I'm afraid is more business speak, one which Lucy Kellerman at the FT tried to put a stop to, but failed. Here are a couple of websites I think you might like:

I quite agree that some of these expressions, like 'decisioning something' are daft, and a recent report has shown that the use of such language pisses employees off no end. But you don't really address my point that this verbing or verbification has been going on for centuries, it's just the fact that the revolution in communications has made it much easier for newly-coined ones to be circulated and it's usually only the more recent ones that rankle - I notice you were fairly selective in the examples of mine that you mentioned - nothing about salt, pepper, ship or parts of the body. And 'impact', which seems to annoy a lot of people, was in fact a verb before it was a noun.

There are lots of words and expressions I don't particularly like, but let's get things in perspective - nobody is perpetrating any violence on anything; I would have thought that such a stickler for language as you would choose his words a little more carefully. People have been playing with the language and creating new words no doubt since the dawn of language. Some stay, some fall by the wayside. There's a good, relatively neutral, article at the Economist:

Warsaw Will October 4, 2013, 2:50pm

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@Brus - Actually, I wrote a blog post about this a couple of years ago, where I warn foreign learners about possible reactions to using business buzzwords, although in a fairly light-hearted way. -

Warsaw Will October 4, 2013, 3:00pm

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Thanks for that, Warsaw Will. it is all just a matter of taste, isn't it? See Nancy Mitford and others in a very amusing volume "Noblesse Oblige", 1956, sorting out what's what. Another volume dates to the 1970s called "U and Non-U revisited (Richard Buckle). The latter volume costs 1p on the internet, the former considerably more.
They have the answers to the conundra!

Brus October 4, 2013, 3:11pm

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@Brus - We've already talked about Nancy Mitford and the whole idea of 'U and Non-U' on another thread, but I'm not sure what calling a serviette a napkin, or the toilet the lavatory (or the loo, or possibly the bog; anything except toilet), and not saying anything perceived to be 'common' has to do with verbing. She may have meant it as a joke, but it became a sort of snobbish code - 'Anyone who says "lounge", darling, simply can't be "people like us". '

Warsaw Will October 5, 2013, 3:17am

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I was just wondering what she would have thought of "please action immediately". Middle management types very non-U, for starters, and their garble-speak even worse.

Brus October 5, 2013, 7:13am

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@Brus - I was brought up on all this U and Non-U stuff and it's just pure snobbery. And sorry, but the very act of calling somebody non-U is also one of snobbery. I know, because I used to think that way myself when I was a young public-school boy who didn't know any better. To call somebody non-U was not a neutral sociological observation, but a social put-down.

Being U has nothing to do with 'correct' language or not speaking business speak, simply of going to the 'right' schools, using the 'right' words, wearing the 'right' clothes and holding your knife a certain way. Fortunately, since the sixties, Britain has been taking steps to rid itself of some of this sort of class nonsense, and things like the adoption of Estuary English or even Mockney by some members of the upper-middle classes are in some way a reaction to it. Innit, mate?

Warsaw Will October 5, 2013, 3:01pm

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@Brus - I'm not calling you a snob, but I don't think you realise how these expressions used to be used by the many people who took the the whole thing quite seriously, even while joking about it.

Warsaw Will October 5, 2013, 3:55pm

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@WW you're right - the sixties in London were indeed full of linguistic snobbery, but now we have a sort of 'newspeak' management and PC language instead, which in its way is just as bad.
BTW after forty years abroad my old school finally hunted me down and with dunning charm suggest a "gifting program".

jayles October 5, 2013, 8:19pm

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I was abroad not the school

jayles October 5, 2013, 8:29pm

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@jayles - I'm certainly not defending business speak. As for PC language, my dictionary defines 'politically correct' as - 'used to describe language or behaviour that deliberately tries to avoid offending particular groups of people'. Nothing wrong with that, but it now seems to be mainly used as a derogatory term, especially by those on the political right. But just remember, every time you call somebody 'gay' and not 'homosexual' or 'Chinese' rather than 'a Chink', you are in fact using PC language.

But neither of these is to do with snobbery. And I find something slightly distasteful about labeling a whole group of individuals as 'middle management', whose motives and aspirations Brus is apparently privy to. Many of my students are 'middle management', and perfectly decent people with families and with aspirations pretty similar to the rest of us.

All they are really doing is using the language of their peer group, just like other peer groups such as teenagers, a lot of which they no doubt pick up at MBA courses or from 'motivational' books and training courses. Some of them may indeed want to sound smart and 'on the ball', but I doubt that this has much to do with trying 'to convey the impression they mix in circles where such business-speak is all the rage'.

between seeing visions, they employ such terms to try to convey the impression they mix in circles where such business-speak is all the rage. Middle management, in other words. That is their aspiration. Being 'on the ball'..

Warsaw Will October 6, 2013, 8:18am

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I understand in a theoretical sense why reviving the use of gift as a verb is OK. The reason this usage gives me the willies is because I often (but not always!) sense that it's use imparts an aura of smug self-satisfaction to the act of giving.

Nick123 January 12, 2014, 8:53am

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Here's an example of a peculiarly British use of 'gift' as a verb, escaping from the sports pages to politics - 'She' is Teresa May, the British Home Secretary, Nigel Farage is the leader of the anti-immigration UKIP:

"With all the weight of her office the home secretary has turned non-EU students into another migration bogey, akin to Ukip’s Rumanians and Bulgarians. She has gifted Nigel Farage with an issue he can run whenever he wants, either before the election or under a Tory-Ukip coalition government. " The Guardian, 7 Jan, 2015

The meaning here is:

"informal - Inadvertently allow (an opponent) to have something:
[with two objects]: the goalkeeper gifted Liverpool their last-minute winner"
Oxford Dictionaries Online

Warsaw Will January 7, 2015, 9:33pm

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I gifted him the penny.
I gave him the penny.
They don't convey the same concept. One is more likely to be spent.

Karl January 22, 2016, 9:46am

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Historic reference or not, "gifted" is yet another step on the road to the destruction of language and definitions. (Anyone consider that the Mary Levinston quote was in error?) Most concerning is that there seems to be a world-wide adoption of bad American word usage. Even BBC reporters, and many people they interview sound like Valley Girls with a British accent, and they use words such as, gifted, transitioned, etc., and everyone, it seems, is "going forward," even if they are in reverse. All nouns simply cannot become verbs. But what is the appeal of dumbed-down American English? I don't understand. I'm not suggesting that usage does not change, but I cAn't stAnd it.

Janer May 16, 2017, 5:08pm

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"we can sleep six at a pinch but we can only eat twelve." James Thurber commenting on adverts for houses that "sleep six".
I'm sure he would agree that you give a gift and not the other way round.

Malcolm Dale November 8, 2017, 6:01am

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I cringe each time I see or hear "gift" used as a verb. Gift is a NOUN. Do your know what that means; it names a person, place or thing. December 13, 2017, 1:23pm

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Some examples of "gift" being used as a verb, or as a verbal participle can be found here:*%2Cwas+gifted+by&year_start=1900&year_end=2008&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2Cgifting%20program%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Cgifting%20assets%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Cgifting%20process%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Cgifting%20money%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Cgifting%20plan%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Cgifting%20land%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Cgifting%20stock%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Cgifting%20property%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Cgifted%20assets%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Cgifted%20money%3B%2Cc0%3B.t2%3B%2Cgifted%20with%20%2A%3B%2Cc0%3B%2Cs0%3B%3Bgifted%20with%20a%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bgifted%20with%20the%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bgifted%20with%20an%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bgifted%20with%20great%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bgifted%20with%20such%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bgifted%20with%20that%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bgifted%20with%20imagination%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bgifted%20with%20second%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bgifted%20with%20all%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bgifted%20with%20more%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Cwas%20gifted%20by%3B%2Cc0

It seems that these usages are perfectly normal in the right context.

jayles December 14, 2017, 5:57pm

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More examples, some using "gifted" as an adjective, but some using "gifted" as part of a passive verb.

jayles December 14, 2017, 6:03pm

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jayles December 14, 2017, 6:04pm

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I'm so glad to read that others are annoyed at this shift of "gift" to an unnecessary verb!
I am also irritated by the ubiquitous use of " no problem" to every request in the service industry. When was it considered a problem to ask a sales person, or wait person question? It's a double negative. Wouldn't a simple, "happy to help," be more positive?!

marina1 February 14, 2018, 11:12am

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Yes     No