A little Yuletide pedantry

‘Gift’ is generally a noun. ‘Give’ is a verb.

When did we start using ‘gifted’ to mean ‘gave’? As in, “A friend gifted me this radio.” I seem to hear it all the time now, and not just from Americans, though I think it was a transatlantic trend initially. Perhaps people feel the need to have a different word for ‘gave without expecting payment’… but surely, if you expected payment, the word would in any case be ‘sold’?

So I turned to my OED, and it does allow ‘gift’ as a transitive verb, but meaning ‘to endow with gifts’. So you could say, “I gifted the Sultan”, meaning that you showered him with presents. If you want to be more specific, it insists, you need to use ‘with’. I gifted the Sultan with roses of every hue. Poetic, but perhaps too poetic for the situation where my pal gave me his old USB drive. I suspect it’s more appropriate when saying that The Almighty had gifted the Sultan with great wisdom.

I know they say that in American English there is no noun that cannot be verbed, but I would strongly lobby for sticking to the concise and precise ‘gave’, and reserving ‘gifted’ for its correct use as an adjective, to describe, perhaps, one who writes erudite blog posts.

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I also dislike this, and also the trend for invented words like “performant”. I’m not sure I can justify my view, though: who owns the language?

I think it’s a shame people don’t read more conventionally-published books. At least then, the way they used the language would be a conscious choice, and they would have more examples to call on when trying to express something difficult.

We have invented “stateless” and “stateful”. I like the idea of “penniful”, a rich person!

    Yes, penniful is nice!

    It reminds me of the wonderful film ‘North-West Frontier’, where the child prince Kishan says to the engine driver, “Gupta, your English is hopeless!”. Gupta replies,

    “Yes, His Highness.But I am doing practice with Scott sahib. His English is very hopeful.”

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