Verbing and Nouning.

Stan Carey created a quiz for Macmillan Dictionary that “presents 10 words used as both nouns and verbs, and asks which came first. After answering, you’ll learn a little about the history of each usage.” I got to it from his post about it, where you will find more details; I got 7/10 (“Excellent. Well done!”), and would have gotten at least one more right except that (probably under the influence of the recent Slavic quiz) I assumed it was way tricksier than it turned out to be. Don’t make the same mistake; just put down what you think is right, and may you speed well!

Update (Sept. 2023). Macmillan Education’s new owners stopped supporting it a couple of years ago, and the dictionary, thesaurus, and blog were all shut down this summer. The quiz doesn’t seem to be available anywhere now, including the Internet Archive. Sic transit…


  1. Failed on wish and result. The latter is less excusable as in French they’re résulter and résultat.

  2. I think I missed the latter as well. I forgot to mention in the post that Stan calls the quiz tricky and says: “I know this because I got a couple wrong even though I wrote it. “

  3. I missed “result” too, and “highlight” as well. The quiz highlights how old many usages perceived to be neologisms really are — the “recency phenomenon.”

  4. SFReader says

    Too much verbiage and nounage in this post

  5. January First-of-May says

    7/10 for me. Missed “highlight” (which should have been obvious in retrospect), and I forgot what else.
    I was accidentally spoilered by minus273 on “result”, though; not sure which I would have chosen otherwise.

    [EDIT: oh, and the obligatory quote: “Verbing weirds language.” Forgot where it’s from, unfortunately.]

  6. Lars (not the regular) says

    @January First-of-May: Calvin and Hobbes. Unless someone else thought of it first.

  7. 9/10, also got “result” wrong.

  8. Bathrobe says

    9/10. Got result wrong.

  9. marie-lucie says

    Me too, Hans and Bathrobe.

  10. 9/10, which is “perfect”. Got “result” wrong.

  11. I missed “contact” (because of overthinking) and “wish”. For words derived from French or Latin, the stress often seems to be a good hint about the original usage.

  12. Athel Cornish-Bowden says

    8/10, but due more to luck than skill. I don’t remember which the two were, but the site doesn’t allow one to go back, or to list the results.

  13. 9/10. I also messed up on “result.”

  14. 10/10. I had some doubts about “result” (even Latin is of limited help here) but guessed correctly.

  15. marie-lucie says

    7/10 = Excellent, 9/10 = Perfect, so 10/10 must be “Out of this world”!

  16. David Marjanović says

    8/10: “Outstanding. Well done!” Got knock & supply wrong. On several others, like wish, German cognates help, in this case the vowels of Wunsch vs. wünschen.

  17. speedwell says

    8/10. Apparently I “sped well”. 🙂

  18. I chose that expression with you in mind!

  19. This pathetic monoglot got a pathetic 4/10. Very, very hard to tell from inside English alone.

  20. 8/10. Chalk up another person who missed on ‘result’.

  21. 9.5. I vacillated on ‘result’, then clicked on the wrong button because the devil made me do it.

  22. Clearly the “result” button is bewitched.

  23. David Eddyshaw says

    Missed “wish” and “result.”

  24. I missed “result” and one other that I have now forgotten.

  25. 10/10. I guess being a native German speaker, starting Latin in fifth grade and Enlish in 6th grade came in handy for once.

  26. Yay, 7/10. I’m lucky! It surely isn’t skill, most words are so old that I wouldn’t know. I missed result, knock and one more. Maybe supply.


  1. […] The quiz is featured at 3 Quarks Daily and Language Hat. Comments on both sites report people’s results and highlights. (Result and highlight are […]

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