Losing Your 'Ed

The Case of the Missing '-ed'

There are many phrases in English, and bastardisations therefrom, of the form [verb]-ed [noun], for example, "clotted cream". The verb in question might be one formed from another noun, that matters not. The meaning of the phrase in this construct is clear, they are [noun]s that have been [verb]-ed, and all is good. However, many of these forms have corrupted over time, and the [verb]-ed part has lost its -ed. Different phrases are in different phases of this corruption, and the extents to which these corruptions have taken place is not uniform. This page attempts to document these variations.

Note: the use of the word "corruption" is not intended to imply that such changes are necessarily to an inferior form. They are, but don't take the word "corruption" above as the evidence for that, take the snarky remarks below as evidence therefor instead.

The Thesis

In short, it seems that there has been a trend towards the dropping of -ed over time which starts in US English. This trend is predictable, and therefore should be expected to continue over time.

A Brief History Of -ed

(I should enroll a linguist to fill this section out a bit, I know.) The -ed past tense, and related forms, have several curious properties that may help explain some of the fluidity of the form, both as written and as spoken.

... way way way way way more stuff, which I will pull out of the dump below and expand on with classification...


Here's the original conversation that inspired us to create this page. To protect the innocent, I have called my interlocutor "Osku".

18:14 <FatPhil> fucked if I know
18:17 <Osku>    being spoiled with the school systems of soviet finland era's practices
                - book learning in british english, practical learning in usa tv - I
                thought it'd be "fuck if I knew".
18:24 <FatPhil> the trailing -ed is very often dropped in USian, and that often
                filters back to international English, and eventually English.
18:25 <FatPhil> The classic example would be "iced cream", being iced cream, and thus
                sensibly named. However, the US took over and we ended up with "ice
                cream" instead. Which makes no sense, as it's not a cream made of ice.
Day changed to 07 Nov 2020
Day changed to 08 Nov 2020
# At this point, I ask Anna for her input
12:03 <FatPhil> similar to "iced cream" is "iced tea". One that's in transition right
                now is "Sugar(ed) Almonds". One that shows the US/UK divide is
                "Skim(med) Milk", you'll never hear "skim" in the UK.
12:04 <FatPhil> One that's done the full transition, irreversibly now the sides have
                joined, is "popcorn".
12:07 <FatPhil> My brain wants to say "waxed paper", but my tongue refuses to do the
                extra flap and produces "wax paper".
12:10 <FatPhil> I found it hard to come up with examples, as I reject most
                americanisms, so these examples come from Anna.
12:17 <FatPhil> Another situation where the Americans have realised that the removal
                of the '-(e)d' makes no sense, and so have kept it in almost
                universally is "Greased Lightning". However, one of the biggest
                lyrics sites in the world thinks this song exists:
12:19 <FatPhil> I think we'll create a webpage about this, this was a very
                interesting language-related question, thank you!


Hash browns (1926) is short for hashed browned potatoes (1886), with the -ed omitted, as in mash potatoes

Another hastily constructed page by Phil Carmody
Home / Language / losing-your-ed.html