Ghosting, and using nouns as verbs


From today’s Washington Post.  The story, frightening enough if you’re not a big fan of gun ownership, is about a man in Colorado who brought a gun into a theater out of fear of a mass shooting, only to end up (apparently accidentally, but not fatally) shooting someone himself.  Here’s part of the story:

Fifteen minutes into the movie, Gallion’s gun somehow went off, police say, striking the woman sitting in front of him. Gallion quickly ghosted out of the theater, allegedly discarding his gun’s magazine in a trash can on the way out.

You don’t see much verbal inventiveness in straight news reporting.  Gallion quickly ghosted out of the theater.   More nouns used as verbs, please.   Journalists can’t get away with using similes, so we’re not going to hear about anyone moving silent as a ghost, but apparently the copy editors are willing to allow the verb form.  Thanks, editors.

Curious where ghosted first appeared.  Shows up in Antony and Cleopatra in 1606, meaning “to haunt.”  But hard to find an example meaning “to move like a ghost” that isn’t recent.  (And I admit I looked it up because I thought I invented the usage myself when I used it in a story a few years ago.  Me and Shakespeare, two peas in a pod.)






About the author

Tom Howard

Tom Howard is the author of Fierce Pretty Things (Indiana University Press, 2019).

He received his MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Fierce Pretty Things won the 2018 Blue Light Books Fiction Prize, and his individual stories have won the Ninth Letter Literary Award in Fiction, the Indiana Review Fiction Prize, the Robert and Adele Schiff Award for Fiction, the Carve Magazine Prose & Poetry Contest, the Tobias Wolff Award in Fiction, the Innovative Short Fiction Prize, the Willow Springs Ficiton Prize, the Rash Award in Fiction, and the Robert J. DeMott Award for Short Prose.

He lives with his wife in Arlington, Virginia.

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