Conjugating forms of the word taserOk Language specialists: I am having a disagreement with my family about the word taser. It is one of those words that actually started out as a brand name but is...

Conjugating forms of the word taser

Ok Language specialists: I am having a disagreement with my family about the word taser. It is one of those words that actually started out as a brand name but is now the generic term for any stun gun of that type. Maybe this is the reason I can't find any information on how to use the verb form. So give your best opinions based on experience and knowledge- Is one tased or tasered? Are you tasering or tasing a person?

And if anyone knows, how is/was this decided? Thanks!

Asked on by catd1115

9 Answers | Add Yours

litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Isn't it funny how brand names can turn into new words? My colleagues and I, all teachers, had a lively email debate about Skype similar to this. I have never heard tasererd used. I have always heard it as tased. I think it should be tazed. Who can tell how these things happen?
wannam's profile pic

wannam | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

I'm not sure what the correct version is, but I have usually heard tased rather than tasered.  In my area, the word taser usually refers to the gun itself rather than the action of shocking someone.  The word tase usually refers to the action.  In this case, it would be tased or tasing rather than tasered or tasering.  Again, I'm not sure what the correct form should be, but this is what I'm used to from my experience.

litlady33's profile pic

litlady33 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted on

This is a very interesting question, and the above posts are very enlightening. I would have to say, I've only ever heard "tased" used, rather than "tasered." However, when I play certain word games like "Words with Friends" neither of these uses are accepted (unless it has changed recently). I guess it has become something that is "official" according to the OED (see post 7), but it's not universally recognized as a real word.

vangoghfan's profile pic

vangoghfan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Interestingly, the Oxford English Dictionary lists both "tase" and "taser" as acceptable forms of this verb.  Below is the defintion for -- and examples of -- "taser" as a verb. Pronunciation: Brit. /ˈteɪzə/ , U.S. /ˈteɪzər/ Forms: also with lower case initial. Etymology:Taser n. orig. U.S. Categories »

trans. To use a Taser on (a person); to subdue or incapacitate using a Taser.

1976    N.Y. Times Mag. 4 Jan. 31/3 When an attacker has been ‘Tasered’, the muscles in his body involuntarily contract; he is virtually helpless and may experience pain. 1993    B. Cross It's not about Salary 325 High on PCP and breakdancing in the street, [they] tasered him four times and he died. 2002    Edmonton (Alberta) Sun (Nexis) 21 July 21 City cops couldn't say last night if tasering a woman allegedly resisting arrest yesterday was justified, but a couple who saw the incident believe excessive force was used. 2007    Metro (London ed.) 19 Sept. 11/2 A student was Tasered after asking too many questions at a university forum with US Senator John Kerry.

(Hide quotations)

Taser, v.
Third edition, September 2008; online version December 2011. <http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/271927>; accessed 29 December 2011.
literaturenerd's profile pic

literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I cannot say that I have ever heard it pronounced "tasered." In the Midwest, we prefer (that sounds really funny or bad--depending upon your preference) "tased." I guess it is a location/culture difference. Was so curious about others, I called my father, who is a police officer, and he agreed that "tased" was the proper term (according to law officials).

readerofbooks's profile pic

readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

This is a fun post and there are two more points I'd like to make. First, the company Taser International prefers the verbal form "tase." This is the preferred form on their website. However, if you do a google search, the verb "tasered" gets far more hits than "tased" (about 20 times more). So, in the end, both seems to be acceptable. More importantly, if the people have power, then "tasered" is the clear choice.

accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Interestingly, I would have said that the word "tasered" is used more than "tase," but I wonder if this is a cultural difference and here in the UK we use the longer form rather than the shorter, one-syllable "tase." Anybody else want to share how they have heard this word being used? Another fascinating example of how language changes, however!

bullgatortail's profile pic

bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Though it may not be found in any modern dictionaries, the word "taser" is used in various verb forms. To "tase" is often used, and the past tense would, of course, be "tased." You may remember a case from a few years ago where a University of Florida student was shot with a taser for interrupting a lecture by former Presidential candidate John Kerry. The student was warned that he was about to be shot with the taser, and he begged the policeman "Don't tase me, bro," which became a popular catch-phrase for a while. BTW, he was "tased" anyway.

lorrainecaplan's profile pic

Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

What a great question!  Since this is an acronym, I think it should be treated like other acronyms, such as "laser" or "scuba" are treated, which I believe means treating the word like a regular verb.  This means one gets tasered or does the tasering.  I have not seen or heard "tased" anywhere, although I do have a friend who is a retired police officer, so I am going to check with him on this.

The origin of the acronym is a book called Tom Swift's Electric Rifle, one of those books that brought us "Tom Swifties."

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