Petition Asks Dictionary to Add 'Concept' As Verb

merriam_webster.jpg

Ray Del Savio has launched a weblog in an effort to drum up support for getting the word "concept" added to the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary as a verb. Of course, all of us in the business who've been using the word to describe the act of coming up with an overall ad or campaign idea have been using the word as a verb forever. Savio's blog cites the Dictionary currently only recognizes the word as a noun and adjective.

The blog links to a petition that asks everyone to get behind its proposed addition to the Merriam-Webster listing of the word "concept." The proposed addition is al follows:

to con cept (knspt) - co cepted (knspt-ed) - con cept-ing (knspt-ing)
v.
1. A process whereby ideas are generated for the purpose of creatively solving a problem: "The team set aside some time for concepting in order to flush out some plausible directions."

There are 56 signatures so far. We're all for it. What about you?

by Steve Hall    Apr-24-06   Click to Comment   
Topic: Good, Opinion, Policy   

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Comments



Comments

It's not "flush out" it's "flesh out."

Ignorance.

Posted by: Topher on April 24, 2006 1:18 PM

Oh but wait. Don't you know...he's also petitioning Webster that concepting also involves clients flushing perfect great ideas down the toilet:-)

Posted by: Steve Hall on April 24, 2006 1:39 PM

Another English word mangled by the Americans.
I am starting a petition to put the "u" back in colour.
I wonder how many will sign?

Posted by: Sunil on April 24, 2006 1:41 PM

Oh, please. "Concept" as a verb? Weak, sloppy language. No wonder it's being pushed by ad agencies. What about all the words that already describe that process? Think. Plan. Brainstorm. Mutually masturbate.

Posted by: Eric Beteille on April 24, 2006 1:45 PM

``Concept'' is a noun, not a verb.
``Parent'' is a noun, not a verb.
``Use'' is a better verb than ``utilize.''

Please do not add another subliterate made-up polysyllabic verb form to our language.
Barbara ``Monetize this!'' Lippert

Posted by: barbara lippert on April 24, 2006 1:46 PM

Glad somebody already noticed the "flush out" faux pas. Makes sense that such a silly idea would be executed incorrectly.

Also, did you notice that they use the gerund form of the verb (a verbal noun) in the example. That's a sure sign that this attempt to concept a new word into the dictionary doesn't stand on firm ground.

Posted by: Gregory Kohs on April 24, 2006 2:19 PM

No, no, no!

And while we're at it, let's ensure that we don't make "effort" a real verb either.

Every time one of these comes up, I grieve a little. Kind of like watching what's happened to popular music over the last 15 years or so. I put a bumper sticker on my car recently that reads,
"It's not that I am old - your music really DOES suck".

And so does your language.

(end rant)

Posted by: Stevie the K on April 24, 2006 2:31 PM

Agree that "effort" as a verb is terrible usage, just another example of MBA babble. In my neighborhood, the b-school boys also use "task" as a verb, e.g., "we've been tasked with efforting toward ..." To me it's like hearing nails on a blackboard.

Posted by: Rich on April 24, 2006 2:56 PM

Amazing. The proposed definition of "Concept" the VERB is phrased as if it is a NOUN: "1. A PROCESS (n.) whereby ideas are generated for the purpose of creatively solving a problem: 'The team set aside some time for concepting in order to flush out some plausible directions.'"

Posted by: Tom Troland on April 24, 2006 3:31 PM

Though I welcome the dialogue that has been opened on this subject, one would think I was asking people to sign a petition promoting puppy kicking by the tone of these responses.

Posted by: Ray Del Savio on April 24, 2006 3:40 PM

Rich, I have an MBA and I still speak proper English; we're not all bad.

And Ray, you can concept yourself to hell, as far as I'm concerned. And take your irregardless, problematical, and bucketizing buddies with you. Some of us still believe in the sanctity of language and want to keep the garbage out.

Posted by: Lesley on April 24, 2006 4:54 PM

I'm just a techie but in our programming classes they told us not to reinvent the wheel in every project. I think this applies here. Look up the word "conceptualize".

Posted by: Recluse on April 24, 2006 5:25 PM

That's puky. Maybe even worse than "ideate." "Concept" already has a verb form. It's called "conceptualize." Jargon doesn't deserve to be validated.

Posted by: brenner Thomas on April 24, 2006 6:20 PM

People spend the best years of their lives at school and college, learning how to use the language, then spend a couple more on an MBA course, unlearning everything.

And I'm old enough to remember Haig-speak.

Posted by: CulturalSnow on April 24, 2006 8:14 PM

"CONCEPTUALIZE"... That's the verb!

Posted by: m on April 25, 2006 5:54 AM

Petitions don't work. They only enter words based on their use in widely-read publications (majors newspapers, books, mags, etc.) and I doubt many ad mags have big enough circulation to be called a "widely-read publication." Go to the help section on their site and read the very long essay on how a word gets into the dictionary.

I raise my glass to one petition signer, who commented, "After we make concept a verb, let's make it a theme restaurant."

Posted by: e. on April 25, 2006 8:53 AM

This makes me reconsider my opposition to capital punishment.

Did anyone notice that his proposed definition is a definition for a noun?

Posted by: John on April 25, 2006 11:56 AM

i guess it depends how good the concepts are, whether they are fleshed or flushed.

BTW, the verb is conceptualise (or conceptualize) - if you care to check the dictionary...

Posted by: evevbaby on April 25, 2006 12:54 PM

ONE PROBLEM:

1. A process whereby ideas are generated for the purpose of creatively solving a problem:

a "process" is a noun

Posted by: natives on April 25, 2006 2:14 PM

if we're keeping it out of the dictionary, we should keep it out of our speech. image the creative agency person from abroad, who hears this word "concept" over and over, used as a verb, but can only find the noun definition in the dictionary. think of that guy. he can't bill those hours of confusion. nobody could. we need to make a decision as an industry and either embrace the term, or eradicate it.

we're using mister ray as our whipping boy, and losing sight of the real issue.

Posted by: hurley on April 25, 2006 2:31 PM

if we're keeping it out of the dictionary, we should keep it out of our speech. imagine the creative agency person from abroad, who hears this word "concept" over and over, used as a verb, but can only find the noun definition in the dictionary. think of that guy. he can't bill those hours of confusion. nobody could. we need to make a decision as an industry and either embrace the term, or eradicate it.

we're using mister ray as our whipping boy, and losing sight of the real issue.

Posted by: hurley on April 25, 2006 2:31 PM

Here's a client perspective. When ad people say things like "we concepted this" their pitch becomes less successful. I think clear use of language indicates clear thinking and I value it. There's no "industry decision" to be made, just a personal decision about whether you want to sound like someone who is capable of using his or her native language properly, or like someone with poor language skills.

Posted by: John on April 25, 2006 2:47 PM

this is the very reason why creatives should be allowed nowhere near clients. ever. actually, creatives should be kept out of meetings altogether. NO MEETINGS FOR CREATIVES. all in favor? i'm suddenly bothered by my non-adjectival use of the word "creative". what word should i use instead? "creative person"? so many syllables... how about a dictionary petition for the noun form of the word "creative". mister ray sir, please add to the list.

Posted by: hurley on April 25, 2006 2:54 PM

every industry has its own insider lingo. some ad creatives use "concept" as a verb. get over it. language is always evolving. if enough people say "flush" instead of "flesh" , then "flush" becomes "flesh".

Posted by: flann o'brien on April 25, 2006 5:31 PM

before we know it people will complain of feeling "nauseous" instead of "nauseated", or say something is ironic when it's just coincidental. we should have usage officers out there writing tickets!

Posted by: hurley on April 25, 2006 9:36 PM

The whole idea of 'concept' as a verb proves how intellectually bankrupt some people are. There are already dozens of perfectly acceptable verbs available. Most have nuances that concept can never have. I don't mind language evolving, but this is sheer lazy crap.

Posted by: Dan on April 25, 2006 10:31 PM

I can't conceive of doing that. And I sure as hell can't concept it.

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Why must we suffer to have your semi-literate profession's jargon enter into our language? If you choose to maim it amongst yourselves, feel free, but please... keep your filthy hands off my language! As has been mentioned earlier, there are already many, many verbs that fit. Why don't you pretend that an MBA is an addition to your brainpower for just a few seconds and pick up a thesaurus?

And to think I objected when they added "baby-daddy" to the dictionary. At least "baby-daddy" is unique in concept, if horrifying in its sociological implication.

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