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To Tetris: To Organize Things In Real Life As You Would the Blocks in the Video Game Tetris

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Abishek in Gaffney, South Carolina, found himself using the word Tetrising to refer to trying to pack a lot of small items into a moving van, based on the video game Tetris, in which players try to make various combinations of squares all fit together. Can you use the word tetris as a genericverb? Although it’s not yet showing up in dictionaries, Tetris is already proving a handy verb for denoting the process of “trying to make variously shaped things fit together.” In other words, the word Tetris is going through the common process that linguists call denominalization, in which a noun develops an additional sense as a verb, and people are already using the words tetrisingand tetrised because they express the idea so well. Soon after the game of Tetris became popular, people naturally used the word Tetris to refer to what you’d want to do after playing the game, namely start rearranging things in the offline world, such as a poorly arranged shelf of canned goods at the grocery, and to be tetrisized meant having the conceit of the game overtake the way you look at the real world. This is part of a complete episode.

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