Learn your roots: verbiage

Our delightful and erudite news editor sashayed through the engine room hatch t'other day chortling over a newly arrived press release. Not the first time I've heard her react in this was to a press release, of course, but in this case the cause of her mirth was the heading: "VERBIAGE".

No doubt someone at the PR agency thought verbiage means 'words' from the Latin verbum. Not so. It's from 19th century French and means "excessively lengthy or technical speech".

Oh, the perils of neglecting a classical edukashun.

4 comments:

mighty red pen said...

That's funny -- I've usually heard people say "excessive verbiage."

I'm going to try sashaying through the office. I wonder if that would make my coworkers start to think of me as delightful and erudite.

Jon Boy said...

In my last job, my boss used "verbiage" to mean something like "content text," as in "Could you write some verbiage for that new quick start guide?" It strikes me as business jargon, but that doesn't make it sound less stupid to me.

Apus said...

Well mighty red (if I may be so familiar) I've tried sashaying and pulled a muscle; maybe it only works for news editors!
And jon – don't get me started on business jargon...

mighty red pen said...

Apus, thanks for the heads up about possibly detrimental physical side effects of sashaying. I did try it around the office and it only seemed to make the writers duck and scurry somewhat more quickly than normal.