As we all know, verbing weirds language. And, like it or not, it’s everywhere. (See showrooming, subtexting, “Let’s Tonic,” et al.) But nouning – turning a modifier into a noun – is also increasingly popular in commerce, and it’s also changing our perceptions about what language “should” be.
Take “funness,” which Apple has been using for several months in its iPod Touch marketing. As Ben Zimmer has noted in columns for the Boston Globe and Word Routes, now that “fun” has successfully shifted from noun to adjective, you have to add “-ness” to turn it back into a noun.
But other brands aren’t even bothering with nounifying suffixes. Instead, they’re simply putting adjectives to work as nouns.
Here are nine recent examples of nouning in brand slogans. In each case, the advertiser could have made a conventionally nounish choice (“Welcome to possibility,” “The future of awesomeness”) but instead grabbed our attention, for better or worse, with a functional shift, also known as anthimeria.