It might be useful to differentiate gift-giving from providing of various other kinds; ~ above the other hand, words brings out the worst in us all.
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There"s "corporate gifting." There"s "extreme gifting." There"s "man gifting." A current email indigenous Groupon invited me to "get mine gifting on." Sephora, not to it is in outdone, has actually made clean its access to assist me come to be "a gifting genius."
There is a very an excellent reason for the word "gifting," together a synonym because that "giving," come exist: that is wonderfully, and also usefully, specific. You deserve to give, after ~ all, a lot of things—your money, her heart, a damn—but you can gift just one thing: an actual gift. "Gift" is both an action and that object, wrapped up in one small verb. Talk around efficiency! and also the kind of precision "gift"-as-verb to represent is precisely the sort of thing that offers English, or any type of other language, that richness and nuance. "Gifting," in theory, is the gift the keeps on giving gifting.
"Gifting" is the "moist" the the action-word world: Those who hate it carry out so through a fervor that is excessive and irrational and also 100 percent correct.
Why, then, does words "gifting" do me cringe, and also make me suspect that if that didn"t do me cringe, I can actually it is in a sociopath? Why execute I have a sneaking suspicion that the mere visibility of "gift"-as-a-verb is hindering the reason of humanity?
"Gifting" is the "moist" of the action-word world: Not every one of us dislike it, but those of united state who execute do so v a fervor that is excessive and irrational and—language gift what the is—100 percent correct. As one commenter on The nest put it, describing her very own hatred of the word: "If you say give, instead of gift, it"s no like human being are for this reason freaking stupid lock won"t number out that you"re one awesome and generous spirit who is an excellent with presents."
Welcome come the human being of word aversion. The phenomenon is, together the college of Pennsylvania linguist mark Liberman describes it,
a feeling of intense, irrational distaste for the sound or sight of a particular word or phrase, not because its usage is regarded as etymologically or logically or grammatically wrong, nor due to the fact that it’s felt to be over-used or redundancy or trendy or non-standard, however simply due to the fact that the word itself somehow feels unpleasant or even disgusting.
Under this definition, there space many, numerous reasons come word-squirm. Some words we detest because that what we might refer to as their mouth-feel—words choose the much-reviled moist and the nearly-as-reviled ointment and also fudge and tissue and, if we"re at it, mouth-feel. Words that are just disgusting, viscerally if obliquely—words that involve diphthongs and/or speak to to psychic slimy things. Part words, top top the various other hand, gross us out for reasons that space slightly more intellectual: We hate them due to the fact that they space insultingly infantilizing—panties, because that example—or because they space dated (slacks), or due to the fact that they space a vile mix of the 2 (underpants).
"Gifting" is what you do when gifts are things you check off a list, trudging in between Williams-Sonoma and also Bath & body Works looking for that perfect gift certificate.
"Gifting," for me, falls into another category of word aversion: that is hateful because it"s commercializing. It takes among the purest expressions that generosity people have—the gift—and turns it into something transactional. The takes "the gift economy" the end of the kingdom of Silicon sink novelty and places it, forcibly, right into the arc of person history: It says that, on some level, us have always been willing participants in a complicated system of commercialized kindness.
The gifting industrial complex is immense, but most commonly associated with the type of presents that could fall under the heading of "social lubrication." Lancôme supplies a arsenal of makeup designed to record "The art of French Gifting." Kate Spade sells a collection of wine totes that are, indeed, perfect because that "gifting." "Gifting" is what you do, this items suggest, once the gifts in concern are things you simply examine off a list, trudging wearily in between Williams-Sonoma and also Bath & human body Works searching for that perfect gift certificate. That takes the delights that the just-because present and also converts them, via the cynical alchemy of the gerund, right into something that is provided just-because-you-have-to.
"The Dowry," by Vasili Pukirev, 1873 (The Yorck Project/Wikimedia)
Put another way: would you ever say "gifting" the end loud? would you ever, without a feeling of irony or shame, ask someone the question, "What can I gift friend for your birthday?" No, many likely, you would certainly not. Not only because you space not (I to be assuming) socially awkward, but also because, much more to the point, you are not—or you would really much prefer not come be—a stooge of Madison Avenue.
And this is what makes "gifting" for this reason implicitly pernicious. This is why it makes me, intuitively, cringe. It is marketingspeak that has made its way into the advertising vernacular. Gift-as-verb, follow to the Oxford English Dictionary, has actually been about since the 17th century; it"s derived, choose "gift"-as-noun, indigenous the Old English "asgift," definition "payment for a wife" in the singular and "wedding" in the plural. (The middle Dutch "gift," currently written together "gif," originally lugged the very same meaning; today, however, it method "poison." The Old High German "gift" followed a similar dowry-to-danger trajectory.)
Google Ngrams Viewer (click to enlarge)
While the 1800s lugged some recommendations to, say, "gifting children," "gift" as a verb generally fell into disuse—until, the is, the mid-1920s. In 1924, Congress presented a "gift tax"—a tax, the IRS explains, "on the transfer of home by one individual to an additional while receiving nothing, or less than full value, in return." That an initial tax to be repealed in 1926; it was updated and reinstated in 1932. And also "since that was dubbed the gift tax," the grammar professional Mignon Fogarty writes, "people began talking about gifting money (instead of offering money)."
From there, "gifting" complied with the path of "parenting" and also "thrifting" and "networking" and, of course, "friending": The usual noun came to be a common verb. This may have been solidified, ironically and also appropriately, by Seinfeld"s famous discussion of "regifting"—with the modern proliferation of "gifting" being, on some level, a back-formation of the term.
At every suggest in the evolution of "gifting," in various other words, from the early sense the the dowry come the later sense the the label maker, the word itself has actually been associated with obligatory transactionalism. Together it"s used today—in advertisement copy, in marketing emails—the ax conveys, an ext than it ever before has before, materialism. That emphasizes, implicitly, the gift itself end the plot of giving. As the blog Grammar Party placed it:
When you use gifted the sounds choose you’re doing some thing more special than just giving something come someone. Choose you deserve a medal or a certificate that generosity.
Giving isn’t about being the recipient of prayer for law a sort act. But gifting feels like it is—like the emphasis is top top the giver on and also not the recipient.
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Exactly. Which way that the many generous point we deserve to do when it concerns "gifting"—for the great of ours gifts, for the good of our love ones, because that the great of ourselves—is to offer the word up. Let"s give it a try.