which occur momentarily, through the immediate need of the situation. "If anybody oranges me again tonight, I'll knock his face off, says the annoyed hero of a story by O'Henry when a shop-assistant offers him oranges (for the tenth time in one night) instead of peaches for which he is looking ("Little Speck in Garnered Fruit"). One is not likely to find the verb to orange in any dictionary, but in this situation it answers the need for brevity, expressiveness and humour.
The very first example, which opens the section on conversion in this chapter (the book is a splendid read), though taken from a book-review, is a nonce-word, which may be used by reviewers now and then or in informal verbal communication, but has not yet found its way into the universally acknowledged English vocabulary.
Such examples as these show that conversion is a vital and developing process that penetrates contemporary speech as well. Subconsciously every English speaker realises the immense potentiality of a word into another part of speech when the need arises.
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One should guard against thinking that every case of noun and verb (verb and adjective, adjective and noun, etc.) with the same morphemic shape results from conversion. There are numerous pairs of words (e. g. love, n. — to love, v.; work, n. — to work, v.; drink, n. — to drink, v., etc.) which did, not occur due to conversion but coincided as a result of certain historical processes (dropping of endings, simplification of stems) when before that they had different forms (e. g. O. E. lufu, n. — lufian, v.). On the other hand, it is quite true that the first cases of conversion (which were registered in the 14th c.) imitated such pairs of