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I've been coming across the verb "diligence" more and more in internal documents (either as "to diligence" or "diligencing"). I was under the impression that this word could only be used as a noun. I found an interesting article about using diligence as a verb, but it's quite old (2009). I have not found any dictionary or style guides that support the use of the word "diligence" as a verb. Does anyone have any reliable sources to share that would support this use? Is it perhaps considered an acceptable expression in business jargon? The context is investment funds, if that helps.

Thanks!

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  • It looks like an unnatural adaptation of the term due diligence. One can conduct due diligence, but it isn't standard English to say that they are * diligencing.
    – Lawrence
    Jul 28, 2016 at 14:42
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    Although not standard, I can easily see a conversation like: “We need to make sure we really do our due diligence ok this one. Agreed, we’re gonna diligence the hell out this one.”
    – Jim
    Jul 28, 2016 at 22:39
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    I, for one, want to seriously protest referring to something from 2009 as "quite old".
    – jimm101
    Jan 4, 2020 at 1:55

3 Answers 3

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I've never met this usage before and also the article (I post below) appears to show its rare usages as a curiosity. I don't recommend that you use it. "Do, perform (due) diligence" are more common usages.

  • Diligencing. Do you like it? It is surely more elegant than the clunky “doing due diligence”, a corruption of “exercising due diligence”. “Diligencing” has already made a few appearances. In November last year, the FT reported Tony Lomas of PwC, administrators to Lehman Brothers in Europe, saying: “We’re still diligencing.”

  • The first use I can find is in 2005 in the New York Observer, where lawyer Barry Ostrager complimented Chambers, the lawyers guide. “They’ve obviously gone to the trouble of not only diligencing the people who they include but distilling the commentary that they’ve received into some narrative form,” he said.

  • Does “diligencing” have a history? “Doing diligence” does. Geoffrey Chaucer, advising on that age-old problem of unfriending, wrote: “Whan thou hast for-goon thy freend, do diligence to gete another freend.”

  • “To diligence” does not seem to have appeared as a verb before, but its relation “to diligent” has. In The Byrth of Mankynde, a book about midwifery, the 16th-century writer Thomas Raynalde said: “Be [the earth] neuer so well diligented and picked, yet always therein will remaine seeds of vnlooked for weeds” – which describes the whole diligencing business pretty accurately.

(ft.com)

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    Yes, I agree that the article from 2009 states that the use of the word as a verb is an oddity (sorry for not quoting it in my post, I’m a newbie), but I was wondering if the use had since evolved. I had not been able to find anything reliable myself. Given that a phrase like "resources to diligence new funds" is much lighter than "resources to conduct due diligence on new funds”, I am somewhat surprised that the use has not caught on. Perhaps it will. I’m adding it to my list of words to keep track of, along with onsite and revert : ) Jul 28, 2016 at 14:57
  • I don't think its usage has ever gained traction and I could not find evidence of it. I'd not use it. (I posted the article because the link is blocked if you are not a FT subcriber).
    – user66974
    Jul 28, 2016 at 15:00
  • Interesting subject, though!
    – user66974
    Jul 28, 2016 at 15:04
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I have gone through the 'Oxford Advanced Learner's dict,' the 'Cambridge', the 'Merriam Webster' dict, but I couldn't find the verb form of "diligence".

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    No, it's in the awkward phase where it's still a candidate rather than in the lexis. I'm almost sure it will appear in some reputable dictionary within the next 20 years. Dec 30, 2019 at 14:55
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This only reminds me the observations of William K Zinsser, the great writer and editor, in his book 'On Writing Well'(2006): "What is 'journalese'? It is a quilt of instant words patched together out of other parts of speech. Adjectives are used as nouns ('greats', 'notables'). Nouns are used as verbs ('to host'), or they are chopped off to form verbs ('enthuse', 'emote'), or they are paddled to form verbs ('beef up' 'put teeth into')"

He gives several examples and adds, "... be finicky about the ones you select from the vast supply. The race in writing is not to the swift but to the original."

We cannot stop changes; but they should be constructive and sensible. Such changes are examined and incorporated by great scholars in dictionaries for our guidance.

An article referring to this, that too as an oddity, cannot be taken as authentic.

It is not correct to use 'Diligence'as a verb.

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  • This 'answer' appears to be primarily an unrelated comment. Only the last line addresses the question, but is presented as a mere opinion with no substantiation.
    – TrevorD
    Jul 28, 2016 at 23:18
  • Unrelated comment! Fine. Jul 30, 2016 at 3:00

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