Verses vs. versus
Posted by Neal on June 7, 2005
A year ago, I did a guest post on Agoraphilia about Doug’s use of the word verse to mean, “fight against, especially in a contest or tournament setting.” I predicted we’d see more of it as members of his generation grew up. A year later, Doug is still using verse in this way:
I don’t like soccer practice, because we always have to verse the yellow team, and I don’t like versing them.
As Adam has learned to play some of Doug’s videogames, he’s picked up this verb, too. He’ll watch Doug playing a videogame and ask, “Who are you versing?” And just this afternoon, I heard it from two other kids. Doug and Adam and I were at Chuck E. Cheese this afternoon with a friend of Doug’s. This friend had run out of game tokens, so he was pleased when another kid there invited him to play on a two-person game with him, and even spotted him a token to do it. Doug’s friend said:
He’s giving me a token so I can verse him!
I scarcely had time to register that attestation of the innovative verse when I heard it again. This time it came from a friend of Adam’s that we’d met there, who was about to do a different two-player game with his brother. He said,
Mom, I want to verse him!
Their mother confirmed that her boys used verse as a verb all the time at home when they played on their Playstation.
Also, when teams face each other in a sporting event, or when there is any other sort of contest, it’s now Us verse Them. I versed him shooting hoops today. We’ll verse the Lions in soccer tomorrow.
Not to mention the colleague of Glen’s in California who said she heard it quite a bit from her son and his friends. Yes, the new verse is definitely getting around. In fact…
Sometimes, when I’ve been playing on the kids’ SpongeBob Typing Skills program, and they’ve asked me how far I’ve gotten, I’ll tell them,
I’m … going against … Mr . Krabs now.
The pause is me thinking, “What’s the word? Versing? No! I know I had a word for this before verse was invented. Oh, yeah, going against (I think). Hmmm… versing… so short, so convenient… No! Must resist!”