Monday, December 26, 2011


I won't be out fighting the boxing day crowds today. I saw my family off at the airport. They're already somewhere over Manitoba as I write this and well on their way to Japan. So, now that I'm here at home, I'll sit and do some reading and some blogging, and maybe go in to the gym.

But one this day of sales, I was thinking about vending. I noticed that although the verb vend lives on through its present participle, its other forms are dying. Here's what I mean:

No doubt, vending has been kept on artificial life support by vending machine, which is recorded from 1895, but its other forms are essentially dead. I don't think I've even encountered the word vended; it doesn't show up at all in either the BNC or the COCA. And yet no dictionary I've checked sees fit to point out this morphological lacuna. The blithely list the various forms without comment. Anybody who looks up this word and tries to use, say, the past tense, has been sold a bill of goods by the dictionary. They certainly haven't been vended one.

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