Posted: 23 March 2018 07:50 PM   [ Ignore ]
Total Posts:  4126
Joined  2007-02-26

To verse, meaning to play against.

I’ve been hearing this a lot in personal spoken communication lately, though I rarely encounter in text. I would not expect to see it in a formal context, ie by a professional journalist. Perhaps it is a backformation of versus, where it is taken to be “verses”.
The girls football team played at the Sports Domes on Friday 3rd February. The team versed 8 schools and placed 3rd with 9 points.
You are versing better players and you were always garbage. 

Posted: 24 March 2018 04:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Total Posts:  1285
Joined  2007-03-01

Do you ever get the feeling that you would understand modern language better if you actually knew less? Because if I read “you are versing better players”, my first presumption would be that “you” were teaching them - to suck eggs, perhaps.

Posted: 24 March 2018 04:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Total Posts:  4695
Joined  2007-01-29

Have we really never covered this here?  I just did a search and couldn’t find it.  I posted about it at LH back in 2005 and got this enlightening comment from Ben Zimmer: 

The usage of “verse” as a back-formation from “versus” has become widespread even among adults. The Usenet archive suggests that the verb found popularity amongst gamers and then spread to wider usage in the mid-’90s:
Date: 1995/02/13
Its a fairly pointless exercise, Versing characters from different arcades against each other anyway…
Date: 1995/09/23
When versing the black car, remember that the first is a warmup lap…
Date: 1996/01/22
So if I’m right, the next one should be on 1/28 at 3pm est on ESPN2. Unfortunately, it’s versing the Superbowl!
Date: 1996/06/10
I have noticed one thing, there seems to be a lot of “B”s versing “S”s.
Date: 1996/09/27
I saw a game with them, but I don’t know who they were versing …

(I must say, I’m proud of myself for remembering a post from over a dozen years ago—I can barely remember what I had for dinner last night!)

Posted: 24 March 2018 08:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Total Posts:  409
Joined  2007-02-24

That, LH, is how human memory works. As one ages, it is harder to remember things that just happened, but your memories of past trivia seldom fade.

I’m beginning to forget the reason I started this post.

What post?

Posted: 24 March 2018 12:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Total Posts:  3528
Joined  2007-01-31

I certainly don’t recall discussing it on wordorigins, and I don’t recall every running across it before.  But I hardly ever read sports reportage.

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