Don't Tase me, bro
Mrs. B. writes to inquire about the proper past tense for the verb to Taser:
I've emailed the Taser company but have not received a response.
I'm thinking you might get one or you might know the answer.
Is the verb "Tasered" or "Tased"?
I hear from anchors and reporters who want to be correct.
It’s not a surprise that you haven’t received a response. Here’s how to get one. Use either Tasered or Tased in published or broadcast material, and you will very likely get a lawyer letter informing you that TASER is a registered trademark of TASER International and is not to be used at all as a verb, or, for that matter, as a noun except in reference to the products of TASER International. The letter may also suggest that you use the little trademark symbol with TASER. Generic references to an electronic stunning device are acceptable. Go and sin no more.
The practical effect of such letters is typically small. Companies retain law firms to send out such letters to display that they are vigilant about protecting their proprietary rights to product names.
Of course the video from last September at the University of Florida — find it on YouTube if you haven’t already seen it — at which the kid being stunned uttered the famous line from which I take today’s title, shows that the verb has lodged in the language. At least temporarily. And I doubt that there is much that TASER International can do about it, except perhaps shrug it off as free advertising.
But since I’m asked for one of my curbside rulings: Use taser as a verb and restrict tase to quoted matter. Maybe you’ll get a lawyer letter telling you to capitalize the words.