There has always been a verb, to gift.  At least, there has always been an adjectival past participle, gifted, meaning, “having received a gift or gifts”.  We usually encounter that word in connection with a person who can do something very well, such as a gifted athlete.  Logically, if somebody can be gifted, then somebody else (such as, for example, God) must be able to gift him or her by giving her or him a gift.

In the past few decades (I think I first encountered it on an episode of Seinfeld, so at least twenty years ago), a new verb, to gifthas sprung up, meaning, not to bestow a gift on somebody, but simply to give something.  I notice today that the Times‘s web site has a button urging me to “Gift the Times”.  It doesn’t want me to bestow a gift on the Times.  It wants me to give a subscription to the Times to somebody else.

Why do we need a new word for to give?