uncovered during an informal English conversational lesson today, according to my (1970s) Concise Oxford Dictionary, the vi and vt forms of 'progress' do have separate entries, different pronunciation, and somewhat different definitions. My questions are:

  1. Is there a term for such words
  2. Are there other examples

It's something of a curiosity - well to me at least.

  • 1
    Other than Wiktionary, I can't find any entry for a transitive use of progress. Is it pronounced like the noun (accent first syllable) or the intransitive verb (accent second syllable)?
    – KarlG
    Mar 25, 2018 at 14:20
  • Please give an attributed and linked quote confirming your claim, laogui. Mar 25, 2018 at 14:25
  • 4
    I would have thought the difference in stress was between the noun and verb.
    – Zebrafish
    Mar 25, 2018 at 14:44

2 Answers 2


As Peter Shor says, this is presumably due to the intransitive verb taking the usual iambic stress pattern for prefixed Latinate disyllabic verbs in English, and the transitive verb being a denominal verb that retains the trochaic stress of the noun from which it is derived.

I don't know of any name for this, because it's a bit of a coincidence and it must be fairly rare: there aren't a huge number of noun/verb pairs with differing stress to begin with (Wikipedia suggests "at least 170", which isn't tiny but also isn't all that many compared to the total number of verbs of any kind).

Another example could be the intransitive procéss vs. the transitive denominal verb prócess.

There is also a verb protést alongside a denominal prótest, but I think either can be used intransitively or transitively.

  • You may have found the one true example. Mar 26, 2018 at 10:11

There are many, many examples of words where the verb is stressed on the second syllable and the noun is stressed on the first syllable. Wikipedia gives an incomplete list of around 200 words like this.

I suspect that this transitive use of progress was derived from the noun (possibly from the phrase make progress on), and so retained the stress of the noun, at least for a while. I can't find any confirmation of this from the OED (which does say that this is originally a U.S. usage, first attested in 1780, and gives the 1814 citation "Nor have there been wanting projects among them [sc. Americans] for getting rid of the English language, not merely by barbarizing it—as when they progress a bill ...")

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