This weekend at my daughter's 2nd grade soccer game I heard lots of chatter among the 1st and 2nd grade set about which teams they would be "versing" that day. As in, "We are versing the red team." I tried to explain to my daughter that "versing" is incorrect and that it's a corruption of the Latin "versus" meaning "against" as in "the blue team versus the red team," but that just made her eyes glaze over. Then I heard other kids saying it and tried to correct them. Then I heard it come out of the mouth of one of the coaches and I gave up the cause.
So where does "versing" as a gerund come from? I found this in the Urban Dictionary:
Again! Video games are to blame for everything! Will Femia believes Super Mario Brothers is specifically to blame in his son's case. And as my daughter loves Luigi and Mario, I am willing to believe it.
My instinct is to cringe and correct, although my colleague Laura Conaway admits to being charmed by the new word. I'm coming around, as it's actually more efficient to say "versing" than to say "playing against." I also don't believe in versing the tide.
What say you?