Wacky Words: So When did Google Become a Verb?

My husband invented a new verb today: Cozi. As in, “I won’t forget anything at the store, because I cozied it.”

cozi screenshot

Cozi is a noun - a great, online organizer. Did you know it's also a verb?

Cozi is a free, online organizer, and it’s awesome. It lets you set up a shared, family calendar so everyone knows when the kid’s music lessons are, what days Dad has to work (my husband’s hours are irregular), and when the critters need to be taken to the vet. Cozi also lets you set up To-Do lists, Shopping lists, and add things to a family journal. So if I think of a writing-related task I need to do while I’m at work, I can log on to the Cozi website and add it to my To-Do list. Even better, I can do this on my smartphone with the Cozi app, if I’m out and about, and not on my computer. No more worries about an unexpected chance to stop at the store, and forgetting something – it’s on Cozi.

Having worked in a marketing department for close to ten years in my previous life as a graphic designer, I’m probably more cognizant than most people of the proper, and not-so-proper use of trademarked names. While I’ve been guilty of asking for a Kleenex when the box clearly reads “Puffs,” I’ve never Xeroxed anything on a copier made by Konica-Minolta, and here in Ohio, a Coke is always Coca-cola (though I have ordered rum and Coke from a bar that served Pepsi products, because no one orders a “rum and cola”). I try not to cringe when someone mentions a “Romantica” novel that wasn’t published by Ellora’s Cave, or talks about making their own “book trailer.” Those are trademarked terms: if the book wasn’t published by EC, it’s simply erotic romance (or romantic erotica), and that book video is only a book trailer if it was produced by Circle of Seven Productions. Don’t even get me started on “iPhone” – I have a Droid, thankyouverymuch. My husband has an Android phone – his runs the Android OS, but it’s not a Droid-branded phone. Only Apple smartphones are iPhones.

So it follows when someone says they “googled” something on the Internet, I always got just a teeny bit annoyed. Because my understanding was that “Google” is a noun – a trademarked, proper noun at that. And what if the person was using Yahoo or Bing? (I know, I know, does anyone? Someone must, or else they wouldn’t still be around.)

After my husband’s turning Cozi into a verb, I was curious about that other, insidious noun-that’s-not-really-a-verb and decided to google the term “google.” Guess what – it’s in the dictionary. As a trademarked, proper noun… and a verb.

The Xerox corporation has made no secret of the fact that they’d much rather you photocopy, rather than Xerox, those tax papers for your mortgage processor, but in Google’s quest for Internet search domination, they have no problem with people googling stuff on the Internet. They’d much rather you google something than yahoo or bing it.

So it looks like I have to get over that one. As for Cozi? I’m glad my husband’s willing to use it (he’s not too fond of computers), so I think I’ll just quietly let him cozi whatever he wants.

Know of any funny verbs that aren’t really verbs? Or words you thought were only nouns, but actually are verbs? Please share!

8 Responses to \

  1. The only one coming to mind right now is “All coked up.” The usage is to describe someone who is high on cocaine. Other than that, I’m drawing a blank. I’m sure I use them all the time, though.

  2. My husband says “geeking out” for that – so when a coworker (computer programmer) said he was “geeking out” meaning getting into nerdy stuff, I had to point out what else it meant, LOL!

  3. Great post, Jennette… I read somewhere that “Google” is a verb, too. Funny. Catie, I had to re-read your comment, cause first I thought you said you used “all coked up” all the time.. hahaha… That’s what I get for trying to multi-task.

    I thought “microwave” was a noun, but here it is a verb! The noun term is microwave oven.. durt! I can be such a tool.

    Thanks for sharing this post, I enjoyed it.

    Darlene

  4. LOL – I always thought “microwave” was a noun and a verb! Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  5. I use the term “google” as a verb all the time. Funny thing is…I actually prefer Yahoo. Yes, I realize I’m in the minority. LOL I’ve never heard of Cozi though. Thank you for introducing me to something new! 🙂

  6. I loved this post! And I had no idea a ‘book trailer’ is something created by one company. I thought book trailers were… well… book trailers. Did they actually copyright the term? That’s an odd one, IMO. It would be like Warner Bros. owning the rights to “movie trailer”. Anyhoo… I once used “turtling around” in a story as a way to describe the sluggish movements of a character. Other than that, I can’t think of nouns used as verbs. But yes, Google as a noun and verb certainly makes great business sense. 🙂

    btw – you mentioned you worked as a graphic designer… did you design this page? Either way, it’s awesome. Love it.

  7. LOL – thanks, Debora! Yup, “book trailer” is actually a registered trademark belonging to Circle of Seven Productions. But almost everyone uses it generically.

    Come to think, a critique parter once used the term “gerbil” as a verb, meaning running around in circles, unable to make a decision. I think I suggested she change it to “waffling,” as that’s likely to be better understood – yep, another noun that’s become a verb, and yes, it’s in the dictionary as such!

    Thanks for the kind words on the site – yes, I designed it! Handy to have a day job that compliments the writing career. 🙂

  8. I hear this one all the time: “I’m Facebooking.” Weird, but what else are you going to call it?

    Great post! And I hadn’t heard of Cozi. I’ll have to check it out.