The use of "vein" as a verb

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Man_from_India, Mar 26, 2011.

  1. Man_from_India Senior Member

    Indian English
    Have anyone ever used "vein" as a verb to mean 'to cover a place like the vein of our body does'?

    I tried this one and used it when I was writing an article. Now I want to ask you is it understandable and is it correct?

    Or is there any better strong word to mean the same thing?


    It was early evening, the weak glow of the setting sun was at the western sky accompanied with the dark clouds. The darkness was hanging over the black forest, a sacred forest. Nobody ever had any knowledge about this forest, wild shrubs and trees alone are the only inhabitants of this wild forest. The river that veined this forest was bubbling furiously, its water was dark.
     
  2. Askalon Senior Member

    English (US)
    I've never seen "vein" used as a verb, but I think it's more or less comprehensible what you were saying. It wouldn't be considered grammatically correct since "vein" is only a noun, but writers do sometimes "verb" nouns for creative reasons.

    A verb I do see more often applied to rivers is "snake," e.g. "the river snaked through the forest" means the river flowed through the forest following a sort of curving, winding path like a snake. I'm not sure if that's the exact meaning you were going for or not, or if you were trying to get more the visual of rivers branching off from each other.
     
  3. Fabulist Senior Member

    Annandale, Virginia, USA
    American English
    "Vein" is a perfectly good English-language verb, but it doesn't mean "to cover" a place. It means to "supply, fill, or decorate" with veins, not limited to the blood vessels. Thus, "marbled" meat is described as "veined with fat."

    When I read "the river that veined the forest," I had an image of numerous branches of the river. However, we do talk of a "vein of ore" that can be one continuous but long and extended deposit.

    I think the verb "to vein" is more often used in the passive and in its past participle than in the active voice.
     
  4. Man_from_India Senior Member

    Indian English
    But in my sentence:
    It was early evening, the weak glow of the setting sun was at the western sky accompanied with the dark clouds. The darkness was hanging over the black forest, a sacred forest. Nobody ever had any knowledge about this forest, wild shrubs and trees alone are the only inhabitants of this wild forest. The river that veined this forest was bubbling furiously, its water was dark.

    There is no way of using it in passive voice. How my sentence sounds being used in active voice? Isn't it understandable and correct?
     
  5. cyberpedant

    cyberpedant Senior Member

    North Adams, MA
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    Here is one of the acceptances from the OED:
    3. trans. Of things: To extend over or through (something) after the manner of veins.
    1807 J. Barlow Columb. x. 226 Proud Mississippi..Flings forth..Ten thousand watery glades; that, round him curl’d, Vein the broad bosom of the western world.
    1844 Mrs. Browning Drama of Exile 399 Yon spectacle of cloud Which seals the gate up to the final doom, Is God’s seal manifest... The unmolten lightnings vein it motionless.
    1847 Tennyson Princ. iv. 522 All the gold That veins the world.
    1889 Rider Haggard Cleopatra ii. x, Half Hercules and half a fool, with a dash of genius veining his folly through.
    Note that the last time it was seen was 1889.
    It might be understood or simply passed over.
     
  6. Elwintee Senior Member

    London England
    England English
    There is nothing either correct or incorrect about your use of 'veined' in that context. It is also understandable. But, in my opinion, it sounds weird and brings the reader up short in an unhelpful way. Sorry!
     
  7. Parla Senior Member

    New York City
    English - US
    I like your use of the word in this way; I think it's imaginative and conveys well the idea of the river's branches carrying water to various parts of the forest, as our veins transport blood through the body.
     

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