Food giant Mondelēz International has announced its new marketing strategy is called ‘humaning’

In business news, Mondelēz International, a multinational food company that owns Cadbury among others, recently announced that its new marketing strategy was called “humaning”. Eh? This is what linguists call a verbing of a noun, which enrages some language fanciers though it has been going on a very long time. (“Love” and “rain” were both nouns before some inventive soul decided to use them as verbs.)

“Human” comes to us, via French humain, from the Latin humanus, which is related to homo as in sapiens. In English, “human” and “humane” used to be the same word, as though it were a particular quality of human beings to act with kindness; the modern distinction was not made until the 18th century. (The Royal Humane Society, which rewards courageous acts, was first incorporated as the Society for the Recovery of Persons Apparently Drowned in 1774.)

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