Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Clunky Neologism

I’ve recently come upon an expression that instantly earned its way into my list of language peeves:

Re-home

This expression, used most often in reference to pets, means to find it a new home when its current owners can or will no longer care for it.

Though not yet listed as a bona-fide word (I checked), it follows a trend now common in our era of textspeak and passion of ever-increasing brevity. Like other words and expressions of this ilk, it accomplished brevity at the sacrifice of language fluidity. In other words, it’s jarring and awkward.

“Re-home” follows a tradition of coining neologisms using the prefix “re”. It follows such clunkers as “re-login” (used by Earthlink) and the older “relocate”, used the place of the simpler, more direct, “move”.

But it’s also pretentious, as it makes a verb out of a noun, in the same annoying spirit as many people use the word “impact” these days.

For those who can’t bear to simply say that they are looking for a new home for a pet because it’s not fast enough for them, there is a solution that uses a bona-fide verb: re-adopt.

1 comment:

Roger said...

I hate when people "verb" a noun. It all started with "deplane."