I detect that in the future, some English words will grow to infinite length.

We began with the verb “to burgle”, meaning to steal something from someone. A person who burgled was then called a burglar.

Apparently now, according to many American sources, burglars don’t burgle any more. They “burglarise”. Or “burglarize”, I guess.

The next logical step must be that people who burglarise will become known as burglarisers. Or maybe burglarisors.

Then, given past experience, it will no longer be satisfactory to refer to the activities of burglarisors as “burglarising”, but rather it will become known as burglarisorising. And then people who burglarisorise will become known as burglarisorisers.

If you think “burglarise/burglarize” is a perfectly good word, just think of applying the exact same process to some other verb, like “run”. Someone who runs is a runner. According to this American English progression, what a runner does should no longer be described as running, but runnerising.

(Caveat: I know English is a living language, and usage changes over time, and trying to stop it is pointless and impossible. But… argh!!!)

5 Responses to “Burglarising”

  1. Yerushalmi says:

    I think you skipped a step in the middle there. At some point they’ll be “Burglarization practitioners”.

  2. Stephan says:

    I love the definition on thefreedictionary of burgle:

    bur·gle (bûrgl)
    tr. & intr.v. bur·gled, bur·gling, bur·gles
    To burglarize.

    Next step:

    bur·glar·ize (bûrgl-rz)
    v. bur·glar·ized, bur·glar·iz·ing, bur·glar·iz·es
    To burglarizorize.

    You could easily write an online dictionary that generates the next word. The problem is, you’ll never get to know what it actually means.

  3. I feel your pain. If there is a perfectly good word for something, why it needs to be changed?

    If, however, the burglarising would have an another meaning, you (or more accurately the Americans) would be on your way to having a more agglutinative language, which might be cool.

    Example from Finnish, a verb which is modified to have new meanings. (Translations are not very good but I hope they bring the point across.)

    vetää: to pull something, for example: Hevonen veti rekeä – The horse pulled the sleigh.
    vedättää: to make somebody pull something. Renki vedätti rekeä – The servant ushered the horse to pull the sleigh
    vedätätyttää: to make somebody make somebody pull something. Isäntä vedätätytti rekeä – The master made the servant to usher the horse to pull the sleigh.

    This could of course go on for more iterations but they’d get more and more obscure for even the native speakers.

  4. Geoff Bailey says:

    *mutters darkly about ‘orientate’*

  5. Drachefly says:

    To ‘transition’.

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