Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Words I Wish Would Go Away Now


Men may not have noticed, but "plump" has been gaining popularity as a transitive verb. Seems everywhere I turn, some youth pusher is offering to plump my business. They're hawking products that promise to "plump" my lips and "plump up" my wrinkles.

Here are Google News search results for "plumping" for the last nine years (using March 4 as the beginning of each one-year period):

2008-9 = 672 hits
2007-8 = 786 hits
2006-7 = 832 hits
2005-6 = 753 hits
2004-5 = 672 hits
2003-4 = 513 hits
2002-3 = 389 hits
2001-2 = 269 hits
2000-1 = 219 hits

In addition to its day job as an adjective (a plump Christmas goose), "plump" has long worked as a verb. And before the era of Botox and collagen injections, it was mainly a cool one. Its definitions include "to drop abruptly or heavily: plumped into the easy chair," "to give full support or praise: plumped for the candidate" and "to throw down or drop (something) abruptly or heavily: plumped the books onto the table."

"Plump" also has some fun gigs as noun (a heavy or abrupt fall or collision), an ajective (blunt, direct), and an adverb (with a full or sudden impact: walked plump into the pole).

But its recently popularity as a marketing tool for beauty products is working my nerves. I don't want to buy something that plumps me or any part of me -- at least not while I'm working so hard to squeeze into skinny jeans.

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