What is Anthimeria?
The word is a combination of two Greek words: anti, meaning “instead of” or “opposite” and mereia meaning “a part.”
A word is anthimeriaed (I just coined a word) when someone uses it as a different part of speech than it was when it came into the language. It is most commonly done when a noun is turned into a verb.
Nouning verbs and verbing nouns is so common, I can’t see why people make a big deal of it. I see it as another way the English language grows. Usually the reader has no trouble in deciphering the meaning. Just, “Oh, yeah; I get it.”
And then the new, coined word slips into the language. A generation later, it’s as familiar as its ancestor and is commonly accepted.
The wordsmith at LiteraryZone.com says these words are “revolutionary.” They jump from their original part of speech to another.
It’s time we should all have a good sing.
Don’t worry. I’m mapping our progress.
Oh no, she will architect her own room.
Yeah, I am about halfway through. I have milestoned my life.
Why don’t you gift him a wig?
Ugh, they are keyboarding it all day long.
Table that article right now!
Yes, she’s OK now. She just needed a good cry.
Isn’t weirding language fun?
Naturally, the master is Shakespeare.
Antony and Cleopatra
Act II Scene V
“I’ll unhair thy head.”
Act IV Scene VI
“When the rain came to wet me once, and the wind to make me chatter; when the thunder would not peace at my bidding; there found ‘em, there I smelt ‘em out.”
In Hamlet, he also creates a verb from an adjective:
Act III Scene I
“And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought.”
How’s this: The chair chaired the meeting sitting in his favorite chair.
In my story, “Arctic Danger” (Characters Magazine), I use the noun “kayak” as a verb.
High summer on the edge of the arctic circle melted the last snow chunks from the creek running in front of the Chugak home. Gary looked from the flowing water to the broken fishing rod in his hand. Then his attention was caught by the excited voice of his younger sister. “Gary, Mom said we could kayak to the store,” said Kiana, clutching her little purse. “And here’s a lunch she packed for us.”
Let’s see if we can figure out what I meant by this title: “Bear in Mind” (Characters Magazine). I would say it is double usage, both verb and noun at the same time.
Tressa waved goodbye to her friends as she watched the school bus pull away. A thought was nibbling at the tip of her brain, like an about-to-be-born chick pecking at its shell. What have I forgotten? she wondered.
Anthimeria is an ongoing process with our language. New concepts are constantly being born and with them the words to express their meanings. Haven’t we all googled something on Google?