Dear Mr. Merriam Webster,

Loving the turn of a good word or phrase, I want to bring this delicious verbal morsel to your attention, wondering if your dictionary would be interested in joining my campaign to popularize it. During a recent presentation I attended, the speaker said something along the lines of, “Concerning Joshua, it recurred to me…” Thus truly joining “re” and “occur” as a full-on verb, in and of itself. No mere reoccurring thoughts or reoccurring dreams or symptoms. Pure, simple, unadulterated recurring. When something has occurred to you more than once, it has, indeed, recurred. I sat up a bit straighter and pulled out my notebook when I heard this phrase because I, too, have recurred things.

Consider the following illustrations of the ways in which it could enhance our language:

  • It recurs to me that I forgot to pay you for lunch. Useful in those times when this isn’t the first time something has occurred to you and who among us had this not happened to? I’d dare say, nary a few.
  • As Sally came in late to the meeting, it recurred to her colleagues for the 20th time that week that she desired to be anywhere, but with them. Useful for situations in which something has moved beyond the mere annoying by the repetition of the occurrence.
  • Watching the ball fall to the ground, Coach Johnson cringed, recurring the discussion with his wife over breakfast concerning Will’s ability to play centerfield. Useful for those conversations you seem to have over and over, never tiring of them.

Having read several books on the making of the dictionary of all dictionaries, the OED (I know the Oxford English Dictionary needs no introduction to you.), it is, put simply, humbling to think that this proposed use of “recur” may join the ranks of other popular words.  I do so love this living process of wordsmithing. Imagine if things hadn’t gone viral or people didn’t know about Tebowing?

I’ll continue to watch and listen for useful additions and pass them on.


Amy Young

P.S. Dear reader, what have you heard recently that you propose being added to the English language or moved up in popularity?