I searched the Internet, but I couldn't find anything. What would be a good term in linguistics to describe the transition of, say, the noun "yo-yo" as in "I like the yo-yo" to the verb "yo-yo" as in "I like to yo-yo"? These transitions are very common in English, and I never found a term to apply to it. Any help?

  • Check out this puzzle for openers. Commented Feb 28, 2017 at 17:28
  • Whatever the word is, it's likely to be a verb. Unless you use it as a noun.
    – Omegacron
    Commented Mar 1, 2017 at 0:55

3 Answers 3


Anthimeria: Using one part of speech as another part of speech, such as using a noun as if it were a verb:

From Wikipedia

In rhetoric, anthimeria, traditionally and more properly called antimeria (from the Greek: ἀντί, antí, "against, opposite" and μέρος, méros, "part"), involves using one part of speech as another part of speech, such as using a noun as if it were a verb: "The little old lady turtled along the road." Using a noun as a verb has become so common that many nouns have actually become verbs also. For example, "Let's book the flight." The noun "book" is now often used as a verb, as in this example. Other noun-as-verb usages include "I can keyboard that for you," "We need to scissor expenses," and "Desk him." Other substitutions could include an adjective used as a noun, as in "She dove into the foaming wet," interjection as verb, as in "Don't aha me!" a verb as a noun, as in "Help! I need some eat!" and so on.

Verbification, or verbing, is the creation of a verb from a noun, adjective or other word.

In linguistics this kind of word formation is termed as Conversion or Zero derivation

"In linguistics, conversion, also called zero derivation, is a kind of word formation involving the creation of a word (of a new word class) from an existing word (of a different word class) without any change in form,3 which is to say, derivation using only zero. For example, the noun green in golf (referring to a putting-green) is derived ultimately from the adjective green.

Conversions from adjectives to nouns and vice versa are both very common and unnotable in English; much more remarked upon is the creation of a verb by converting a noun or other word (e.g., the adjective clean becomes the verb to clean)".

  • According to Wikipedia, it is 'verbification' or 'verbing' if creating a verb from other forms. Commented Feb 28, 2017 at 17:53

The Wikipedia article on Conversion says that verbification or verbing is the creation of a verb from a noun, adjective or other word."

I would not use verbalise/ize in this sense, as to me that means "to put into words". But judging from the other answers, some people do use it that way.


There are a number of terms that are used. A number of these terms refer to the process of becoming a verb: verbalization, verbification, verbing (see the tag ). But there's also a term for the process of changing a noun:


A very common operation that applies to nouns is denominalization. The term nominal can be translated "noun-like;" so to denominalize something is to make it less noun-like, or turn it into a verb, adjective, or some other grammatical category.
Describing Morphosyntax: A Guide for Field Linguists

By extension, you call the resulting verbs denominal verbs.

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