For example, in most dictionaries the word "land" shows the noun usage as the 1st entry, and the verb usage as the 2nd.

What do we call this kind of word?

  • 1
    Absolutely every noun in English can be used as a verb. Consequently, we call this kind of words "nouns". – RegDwigнt Aug 6 '15 at 9:20
  • I don't know it. May I have a reference? – developer.cyrus Aug 6 '15 at 9:41
  • A reference to what? Just try to name one noun that cannot be used as a verb. If you can't, there's your reference right there. – RegDwigнt Aug 6 '15 at 10:14
  • @RegDwigнt you can truck or bus something but I can't think of a way to use car or automobile as verbs. – wentz Aug 6 '15 at 10:39
  • "I automobiled down to Mobile yesterday from Montgomery in just a little under three hours." That's quite a good sentence, taken from Walter C. Muspratt's 1924 novel "The Alabama Maple Syrup Murderer". – Joost Kiefte Aug 6 '15 at 11:06

I think you are referring to verbal nouns:

Verbal noun:

  • is a noun formed from or otherwise corresponding to a verb. Different languages have different types of verbal noun and different ways of forming and using them.

  • An example of a verbal noun in English is the word singing in the sentence "Singing is fun" (this is a noun formed from the verb sing). Verbal nouns may be non-finite verb forms such as infinitives or gerunds in English (or Latin) usage. They may also be "pure" verbal nouns, formed from verbs, but behaving grammatically entirely like nouns rather than verbs (not taking direct objects, for example). Such cases may also be called deverbal nouns.


  • Thanks, but this is not what I'm asking. I've added a reference. Please see here, ldoceonline.com/search/?q=land – developer.cyrus Aug 6 '15 at 9:06
  • @developer.cyrus - There are verbs that are used as nouns and viveversa. What are you actually asking? – user66974 Aug 6 '15 at 9:12
  • I suppose "land" (noun) "corresponds" to "land" (verb), meaning to bring to land. That's not what I think of as a verbal noun. "Landed" as in "landed gentry," sure. But perhaps the OP also meant words like "see" (verb), to look at and "see" (noun), the cathedral seat of a bishop. – deadrat Aug 6 '15 at 9:17
  • Land, for instance was at first a noun and then a verb from the 13th century: To land: "to bring to land," early 13c., from land (noun). Originally of ships; of fish, in the angling sense, from 1610s; hence figurative sense of "to obtain" (a job, etc.), first recorded 1854. Of aircraft, attested from 1916* .etymonline.com/index.php?term=land – user66974 Aug 6 '15 at 9:17
  • I'm asking the sense order. I believe what the dictionary is showing is based on a very large corpus. For example, there are 10 usages of land, with 7 of them is used as noun, and the remaining of 3 is used as verb. So they show the noun first, and follow by the verb. – developer.cyrus Aug 6 '15 at 9:20

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.