celeb
(suh.LEB) v. 1. To have many celebrities in attendance. 2. To send a picture of a celebrity whose name is a rhyming slang code word. 3. To use one's celebrity status to promote a product or cause. Also: cause-celeb.

Example Citations:
TOM JONES ''He's brilliant. We had our annual Man of the Year party at the Opera House in London's Covent Garden about three years ago. He turned up at the after show party. It was really celebed up. There was designer Tom Ford and Paul McCartney, lots of people, a brilliant evening.
—Catherine Jones, "Interview: Dylan Jones," The Western Mail, March 15, 2003

In the U.K., "celebing" has taken off as a sort of slang messaging. Instead of sending someone the message "Fancy a beer?" on their wireless phone or — heaven forbid — calling and asking, people are sending pictures of Britney Spears. When they're hungry, they send a photo of Hank Marvin.
—Sharon Pian Chan, "Iraq war barely registers at convention," The Seattle Times, March 19, 2003

Example Citation (#3):


Labour has unveiled its latest electoral weapon — Star Wars. Geri Halliwell, the artist formerly known as Ginger Spice, has abandoned her previous admiration for Baroness Thatcher ("the original Spice Girl") and transferred her affections to Tony Blair (the pragmatic Spice Boy). ... Spicing up his campaign is a strategic move, but Mr Blair should take note that cause-celebing is an uncertain game. The famous flock to fashionable causes like sheep but they also have a habit of straying from the fold.
—"Electoral Spice," The Times of London, May 15, 2001

Earliest Citation:
Over at the ultra-celebbed Disney after-show party, Britains Jane Seymour camped up her victory for Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman by taking a few photos of winner Mira (Mighty Aphrodite) Sorvino taking a few photos of Seymour.
—The Hollywood Reporter, January 23, 1996

Earliest Citation (#2):


Text messaging is driving the wireless business in Europe, according to Dave McGlade, president of British wireless carrier MM02, who said the adoption of SMS in the UK was "viral." Multimedia messaging is showing similar promise, he said. In fact, the Brits have started a trend called "celebing," which entails sending a picture of a celebrity to a friend in lieu of a text message. Certain celebrities represent certain sentiments. For example, a picture of Britney Spears means "fancy a few beers?" and a picture of guitarist Hank Marvin means "I'm starvin'," explained McGlade.
—Carmen Nobel, "Wireless Services: What Lies Ahead?," eWeek.com, March 18, 2003

Earliest Citation (#3):


The Paddy Ashdown campaign will, by contrast, be overwhelmingly political in content and style. With comedian John Cleese as the only big name from the entertainment business, the Liberal Democrat leader is falling back on using his candidates to give some clout. But there is still plenty of argument whether 'celebing' makes that much difference to voting intentions.
—Gordon Greig, "Stand by for Star Wars," Daily Mail, March 12, 1992

Notes:
The word celebrity has been a naturalized citizen of the English language for about 400 years. (It emigrated from Latin via French.) It originally meant "the state of being famous or much talked about." The "famous person" sense didn't appear until the middle of the 19th century, and then the short form celeb entered the language in the early 1900s. Now, as nouns are wont to do, celeb has sprouted a verb offshoot on which a number of senses have bloomed in a short time.

The second sense may be a bit mysterious to anyone not familiar with Cockney rhyming slang, where objects or actions are represented by words or phrases that rhyme with the names of those objects or actions. For example, stairs are apples and pears (or perhaps dancing bears); road is frog and toad; and queer is ginger beer. Many of the slang terms are celebrity names: trouble is Barney Rubble; pain is Frasier Crane (or Shania Twain); and belch is Raquel Welch. So celebing, in the second sense, means sending someone a picture of the celebrity who name is used as a rhyming slang term.

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