Efforting to Remain Calm

By Maeve Maddox

I have a reader to thank (to blame?) for telling me about a coinage that is new to me.

It may have begun with television announcers, but it’s spreading. Since I began looking for it, I’ve even found it in a book on sociology published by W.W. Norton.

The word is efforting. Here are some examples of its use by television announcers:

We are efforting to restore the signal from Fort Hood.

We are efforting her report. –Brian Williams, NBC

we are efforting, trying to get a reaction from Georgia’s President. –Tony Harris, CNN

we are efforting to get an interview with General Tommy Franks…

Here it is in some Web headlines:

Rugby Canada/USA Rugby efforting to get second half on EPN July 11

Solution efforting seems to fall in a gap between teams

Strong Efforting Team to Avoid Letdown

Group efforting signatures to repeal transgender law

The genius of English word formation is responsible for keeping the language supplied with new words for new ideas, and I rejoice in it. But I have to admit that I cannot see what new idea this strange new verb expresses.

It seems to me that one would try to restore a signal. Couldn’t one attempt to get an interview with someone?

Before verbing the noun effort, consider whether one of the following might serve your purpose:

attempt
endeavor
exert oneself
make an effort
try
strive
venture
work at

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18 Responses to “Efforting to Remain Calm”

  • thebluebird11

    In efforting to keep calm about that word, I think I will need a hefty dose of Valium. Like you, I’m all for new words when old ones fall short of filling a niche, or even if a new one sounds nicer or is shorter. But “efforting” is just repulsive. I hope it goes away fast. It kind of reminds me of people who say they are going to “reach out” to someone instead of just saying “contact.” They sound so needy and clingy. Go away!!

  • Nancy Romness

    “Efforting?” It’s ugly. As your list of alternatives shows, Maeve, we don’t need it. I hope we can kill it before it spreads further.

  • Dale A. Wood

    The attempt to make “effort” into a verb is frankly disgusting. Why even try, when we have nearly ten existing words and phrases to use.

    Also, remember combinations of nouns and pronouns, such as “try to”, “make an effort to”, and “make an attempt at”. From my reading, it just seems that so many people have been INNOCULATED AGAINST phrases like these.
    Also, when it comes to calling so-called “help lines” at companies, government agencies, schools, etc., it seems that never does anyone have the attitude of “I will walk across hot coals to find that out for you” (or “to get that done”). That is a distinct attitude problem!

    Another painful expression that is used in news reports, etc., is “coming down”. For example, someone said this morning, “Here is what has been coming down about Malaysian Air Flight 370.”
    This one was particularly disgusting is that what was COMING DOWN was the airliner Flight 370 into the Indian Ocean, and full of passengers, too.
    It would not be such a disgusting statement if that had been a cargo flight.
    D.A.W.

  • Sharon

    Ew. I promise to NEVER use that. Not even sure I could say it out loud.

    But I am rather fond of “verbing” — it is (in my opinion) a good example of a word we actually need! It feels new to me…is it?

  • John

    Like a song that you can’t erase from the mental loop of certain brain cell(s), I am “efforting” to lose that effing bit of lazy verbal offal before I fall into the pit of total linguistic despair.

    Well, for today, anyhow.

    Oy!

  • S Churchill

    The word ‘efforting’ has been mistaken for the words,’ affect’ or ‘effec’t, in the example usage of the strange verb, ‘efforting’, described in the DailyWritingTips blog post for today.

    As a verb affect 1 means “to act on” or “to move” ( His words affected the crowd so deeply that many wept ); affect 2 means “to pretend” or “to assume” ( new students affecting a nonchalance they didn’t feel ). The verb effect means “to bring about, accomplish”: Her administration effected radical changes.

    Source: Reference.com

  • Ann Marquette

    That “word?!!” sounds strange, ridiculous, and without meaning. It is as if someone thought it was clever and decided to use it, then someone else who saw it thought it was a clever new word, etc. Not! 🙂

  • S Churchill

    To Sharon: the word exists.

    Source: World English Dictionary

    verbing (ˈvɜːbɪŋ) — n

    the act or practice of using a noun as a verb, such as ‘medal’ to mean “to win a medal”

    It’s an excellent example of a new trend in modern vocabulary that shortens phrases for brevity.

  • Ken Doran

    My first exposure to this expression, going back quite a few years, was in sports radio talk shows. It is most commonly used in the context of “making an effort” to arrange something like a timely interview. The vast majority of the instances I have heard are from that context.

  • Sally Bahner

    That is just SO awful. First time I ran into this, and I hope, the last!

  • Lester Curtis

    Words seldom fail me, but they sure failed the originator of this abomination.

  • Widdershins

    No, no, NO, NO, NONONONONONO!!!

  • Lauren I. Ruiz

    I didn’t expect the comments to be so vehement (wow–lol), but I do agree–“efforting” sounds stupid (it also sounds like something George W. Bush might say…). Then again, I think it’s because we want the language we know and love to stay more or less the same; after all, what’s wrong with a new synonym?

    If “efforting” makes its way in, I just hope to God it’s not done as clumsily as it appears in half those examples.

  • Roberta B.

    @Lauren I. Ruiz – Excuse me, but that was just a stupid remark!

  • C.J.

    This kind of new word usage pops up all the time. About 20 years ago I hated it when people started to use impact as a verb. Now I’m so used to it, it doesn’t bother me. If “effecting” catches on, I’m sure the same will happen.

    I can’t find it now, but I used to have a list of about 100 words “invented” by Mark Twain, or perhaps he was the first to put them into writing. I’m sure some language purists hated those words.

    Think of all the nouns that we have turned into verbs and use without a thought: trumpet, nose, eye, eyeball, elbow, network, hot-foot, cowboy, gesture, crowd….

    Many of these have been used for decades —maybe centuries —but some (“network”) are rather recent.

  • venqax

    C.J.: You can get used to anything. Ask prisoners in any penitentiary or people with disabilities. The fact that one can adjust to something doesn’t make it good, right desirable or acceptable. When people “invent” new words because they don’t know the extant words that fit their need just fine, that’s not a good thing. And, even worse, when they think whatever word they’re coining IS a word, not an invention, or that anything they want to say CAN be a word, that’s not okay, either. When someone says they are “efforting” to do something, that means they don’t know the words attempting or trying, or can’t use the phrase *making an effort to*. OR, maybe worse, they are parroting something they have heard without any reflection at all. In “efforting” to sound erudite or important, they accomplish the precise opposite and sound like buffoons. Which, given all that, they probably are. So, on balance I guess it does serve a purpose to let them effort to speak thusly in that aspect with intentionality and to continue soforthing.

  • Shellie

    I also hate the word “efforting.” It seems disingenuous, as if the person using the word is implying they are putting in extra effort just by using it. Perhaps my thoughts are clouded by the examples of television news reports using the word. I’ve long lost respect for entertainment news masquerading as journalism.

  • Richard

    I’ve only heard the word efforting used in the psychological and religious contexts. It appears that the word is used to suggest that a person is trying too hard at something, or is expending useless effort to obtain an outcome that they ‘should’ exercise their faith for. But that is my guess from the context. I think it is demeaning psychobabble that is used to try and intimidate the rest of us who do not have practices in psychology or church ministry.

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