Mushroomy Mushrooms will be Mushrooming until they are fully Mushroomed

As bizarre as this post may seem to be, or seem like a really mundane topic and you’re thinking what on earth is she going on about mushrooms for? Was she on magic mushrooms when she wrote this? Just for the record, no. I was reading a journal article the other day and came across the word “mushrooming”. My first thought being: Since when is mushroom a verb? How does one “mushroom”? Then in the same night when reading an article on the CNN low and behold I came across it again:

Can we know what is art? There’s now a whole field called neuroesthetics devoted to the neural basis of why and how people appreciate art and music and what is beauty. Semir Zeki at University College London is credited with establishing this discipline, and says it’s mushrooming. Many scientists who study emotion are collaborating in this area. Zeki is studying why people tend prefer certain patterns of moving dots to others.

Coincidence? I think not. So I looked up the derivations of mushroom. (I actually did this after my first encounter with it.) Mushroomy is a given, and if there is mushrooming then there must be the past tense form of the verb as well; hence mushroomed. If you’re interested then below is what it means, which does seem pretty logical. However finding etymological information proved to be difficult. It could be a colourful use of verbing which is common place in the development of language, or its genesis is rhetoric in the use of anthimeria (changing a words grammatical class to alter its meaning). On a final note I do realise that I may probably should get out more….


[no object]

  • 1increase, spread, or develop rapidly:environmental concern mushroomed in the 1960s
  • 2form a shape resembling that of a mushroom:the grenade mushroomed into red fire as it hit the hillside
  • (of a bullet) expand and flatten on reaching its target:these are high-performance bullets which mushroom upon impact
  • 3 (usually as noun mushrooming) gather mushrooms:he went mushrooming with his father




Used figuratively for something or someone that makes a sudden appearance in full form from 1590s. In reference to the shape of clouds after explosions, etc., it is attested from 1916, though the actual phrase mushroom cloud does not appear until 1955.
“expand or increase rapidly,” 1741, from 


 (n.). Related: Mushroomed; mushrooming

And now just for  a laugh….