On 'versus' as a Verb (another cross-post from Linguist List)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Dec 21 19:45:22 UTC 2004

(The verb would actually be "to verse".)
Seems like another for the eggcorn file.  Do you have this one, Arnold?

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LINGUIST List: Vol-15-3554. Tue Dec 21 2004. ISSN: 1068 - 4875.

Subject: 15.3554, Qs: On 'versus' as a Verb; English Pronunciation

Date: Tue, 21 Dec 2004 12:27:40
From: William J. Rapaport < rapaport at cse.Buffalo.EDU >
Subject: On 'versus' as a Verb

Has anyone noticed the use of ''versus'' as a verb, as in:

''I versed him in Yu-Gi-Oh yesterday.''
''Who are you versing in the tournament?''

It seems to come from a misunderstanding, based on pronunciation,
of ''versus'' as ''verses'' (i.e., of a Latin term misheard as an English
3rd-person verb):  The headline ''Michael vs. Tyler'' is heard as the
active sentence ''Michael verses Tyler''.

I first heard this within the last year from my 9-year-old son and his
friends.  They define it as ''to battle''.

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