Posted by: Jack Henry | September 12, 2013

Editor’s Corner: Word Rant

Caution: Proceed at your own risk. This is a rant. When I rant, I like using a lot of sentence fragments, so critics beware.

Today someone asked me about the word architect. Actually, she asked me specifically if the word architected was real or turning architect into a verb is just technical jargon. For example, “Sabrina Mc Nolte architected and implemented the fantastic new learning management system.”

Could you hear that? That was me, sitting in my home office in San Diego, screaming in horror.

I’m not a fan of jargon. At one of my previous jobs, us folks in the Documentation department would make BINGO cards with the mid-1990s manufacturing world jargon in place of numbers and take the cards to all-staff meetings. We checked off words as they were spoken by our leaders and the winner would get a free breakfast from the rest of us. Of course, I would never do that now. 🙂

But boy, this one—architect as a verb—this is a particular peeve of mine. Why? Well, my dad is an architect. I grew up around architects. I worked in an architectural firm after school when I was an adolescent. You know what those architects never did? They never architected!

Architects study, write proposals, draft designs, and design zoos and sewage treatment plants and libraries; yet never once did I witness one “architecting.”

According to my beloved Merriam-Webster dictionary, here are two definitions for you:




plural -s

1: a person who designs buildings and advises in their construction (from 1563)

2: one that plans and achieves especially an objective that is felt to be the product of painstaking construction

Synonyms: engineer, mastermind

Unfortunately, in the early 1800s, poet John Keats used the word architect as a verb (“This was architected thus By the great Oceanus.”) and it has reared its ugly head in the Oxford English Dictionary. Of course, there are plenty of curse words in unabridged dictionaries, too, and we don’t throw those around willy-nilly in our writing. To me, hearing “they carefully architected something” is much more painful than the saltiest curse I’ve ever heard…and my uncle is a sailor, so that’s saying something.

Bottom line? I have a special setting on my PC that automatically turns the word “architecting” into “designing,” just like magic. 🙂

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  1. […] of you may have read my rant on using the word “architect” as a verb ( Well, I have another noun that has been “verbed” and it perplexes me to no end, particularly […]

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