I've been seeing it for months now. I saw it again today: "gift" used as a verb in place of "give," as in "She was gifted with a new car." This time it was in my church's newsletter: "Today we will gift new Bibles to the third graders." I don't think it was a typo.
So, what gives? %-} Why not "We will give new Bibles to the third graders"?
The creation of a verb from some other part of speech--also known as verbification--is nothing new. But this particular manifestation of it seems different to me. The nice thing about being able to "access" a file rather than "gain access to" it or "pepper" your steak rather than having to "put pepper on" it is that both of those formations require fewer words, and economy of words almost always means punchier writing. But to say "We will gift" rather than "We will give" affords no such benefit. So again I ask, why?
As I thought about this today, it occurred to me that there is a difference in emphasis between "We will give Bibles" and "We will gift Bibles." "Give" seems to me to put the focus on the beginning of the action and thus the giver who performs the action, whereas "gift" puts the focus on the end result--the gift--and by extension the receiver of the action. So maybe the use of "gift" in place of "give" is a reflection of the speaker's desire to direct attention toward the gift and the one who receives it rather than toward the one who gives?
What do you think? Am I chasing a bunny trail here? Or might I be on to something?