It seems only in the past couple of years that people are “dis-repecting” each other. I don’t remember ever hearing this growing up. Now, I am hearing it everywhere. Everywhere – or so it seems. It downright offends me. So sure was I that dis-respect used as a verb was just wrong, I consulted Webster’s. I’m sorry to admit that I am going to have to get with the program. Not only Webster’s but the OED validate that dis-respect was used in the verb form in the 1400′s. I am close to distraught with the idea that I am going to have to add this ressurected grating form of dis-respect to other words and phrases that irritate me: tummy, veggie, and goodies come readily to mind. Now this! She dis-respected him. He dis-respected her in return.
I consulted Strunk & White as a last resort. Elements of Style, bastion of good form, always there to check my run-on sentences, mis-use of gerunds, and prepositional mishaps, would they, at least, admonish that while the form is technically correct, it is ”questionable.” If one wants to talk about someone not getting respect, one would find a way to get the point across thusly: He or she was shown disrespect. He or she was not treated respectfully.
In my grammatical fantasizing, Strunk & White would make it a hanging offense to so dis-respect this noun. Not likely, sigh. Prepared or unprepared as I am, dis-repect as a verb has snuck back into the language. And it’s here to stay, again, for awhile, anyway.
Long live our amazingly versatile anglo saxon language! Not to mention resilient!