PDF as a Verb

Bill Lemay blemay0 at MCHSI.COM
Fri Feb 3 21:25:33 UTC 2006

Verbs for data exchange formats have been around for quite some time. In the
computer aided drafting world, I heard the term "DXF it out" very commonly
since the mid-to-late 1980s.  DXF is AutoCAD's Drawing eXchange Format.  In
this USENET newsgroup exchange from October 1994 you can see "IGES it out"
(IGES is another drawing exchange format), "IGES in", and "DXF out".

1)  Invoke Fablink
2)  Type:  $$part_type("generic");  (thank the Mentor support people
                                     for this little trick)
    This will create a geometry file out of your artwork files.
3)  IGES it out of Fablink, IGES into AutoCAD, then DXF out of AutoCAD.

Perhaps the AutoCAD software commands invoked by the user to create the
exchange files were partially responsible for DXF's verbification: They were
DXFIN and DXFOUT, originating in the October 1984 AutoCAD release.

Bill Le May

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Baker, John" <JMB at STRADLEY.COM>
> Subject:      PDF as a Verb
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>         PDF, or Portable Document Format, is the document format used by
> Adobe Acrobat and various other types of software.  I've noticed
> recently that it has become increasingly popular as a verb, meaning to
> scan a document and transmit the resulting PDF file.
>         I wrote the foregoing before I checked Westlaw for early uses in
> the press.  I did not expect to confirm so specifically the prediction
> from this 6/15/1993 Associated Press story:
>         <<A California software maker has come up with a way to let
> computers that have never before been on speaking terms to
> electronically share documents, pictures, graphics and a wealth of other
> data.
>         A program released Tuesday by Adobe Systems Inc. called Acrobat
> lets documents cross all computer boundaries, including brand of
> machine, operating system, display screen, originating program, colors
> and even typefaces.
>         . . . .
>         ''Everything can now be sent around the company
> electronically.'' John Warnock, Adobe's chief executive officer, said in
> an interview.
>         Warnock hopes Acrobat has such a major impact on offices that it
> adds a new verb, ''PDFing,'' to the business vocabulary, just the way
> ''FedEx'' has come to mean overnight shipping.
>         PDF is short for Portable Document Format, the function that
> makes the compatibility possible.>>
>         The term did not catch on immediately.  The next example I see
> is from Google Groups, 3/31/1996:  "I have made pdf's from every
> application on my machine and even gone back into my past work and pdf'd
> some old dwg/dxf files."
> John Baker
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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