Saturday, January 17, 2015

To surplus

Last night I listened to the Slate Culture Gabfest and they talked to someone from Merriam Webster about how new words or new uses for older words come about. I realized that for the past five years, in my job, I have been hearing and using a new use for the word surplus. It is being used as a verb, at least in my narrow parochial world.

Mrs. A: All these old computers are on the floor. Can we get rid of them before I trip over them?

Miss B: Yes, but you'll have to surplus them. Get Mr. Mustache to surplus them.

Mrs. A: Can you surplus them?

Mr. Mustache: Yes I'll surplus them tomorrow morning.

Surplussing usually means getting on my hand and knees, finding the inventory number, the serial number and the model and writing it down and e-mailing this information to Mrs. A and Miss B. Then someone turns up in a few weeks with a hand truck and carts them off to surplus where they are dismembered or otherwise recycled. That is the process of surplussing. It is used as a verb.

Surplus is a transitive verb. I surplus, he surplussed, my back hurts because I have been surplussing all morning.

I have not seen surplus used as a verb in my quick Google search. Being clever, I sent this information off to the Merriam Webster website for new uses of terms. .

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