A simple back-formed verb in Bizarro:
The cartoon helpfully supplies the source of the verb, the noun information.
Though it’s hard to weed out occurrences of informate ‘to give information to’ from non-native speakers, here are a few examples that appear to be from native speakers:
After six months of futile effort to acquire replacements (the place where we had purchased the plates informated us that they had been discontinued) I called the Iittala distributor in New Jersey and learned about your Internet store. (link)
A Microsoft spokeperson has informated us that Microsoft is working with Apple to determine potential issues with running Virtual PC 7.0.1 in Mac OS X 10.4. (link)
There are many interesting points such as an elite group within NASA has the shuttle astronauts perform experiments without informating them about the true purpose of those experiments and without training them about the type of science being used. (link)
Great strides have been made this fall in reaching out to members of Congress, informating them on issues important to Michigan’s broadcasters. (link)
Back on 3/4/08, Amy West reported (in a discussion of felicitate and jubilate) that she was reminded
of a recent conversation with some community college colleagues, one in early education, who noted that her students were using the verbs “imaginate” and “observate”. Logically back-formed from “imagination” and “observation”, but nonetheless surprising that they didn’t connect the verbs “imagine” and “observe” with those nouns. I personally liked “imaginate” because it could be a blend of “imagine” and “create”.
But no informate, alas.
Meanwhile, from Wikipedia, I learn that informate as a technical term in information technology was coined by Shoshana Zuboff in her book “In the Age of the Smart Machine” (1988). There are plenty of cites in IT contexts in various fields (business, education, medicine, etc.)
The verb is sometimes glossed as ‘dispense information’, but that scarcely conveys its intended import in context, where it’s frequently contrasted with automate. From the abstract for Bruce A. Friedman (Pathology, Univ. of Michigan Medical School), “Informating, not automating, the medical record”, J. of Medical Systems 13.4 (August 1989):
The author suggests that reference should be made in the future to the need to informate and not to automate the medical record. The reason for this recommended semantic change is first to avoid the mistaken notion that the computerization of medical records will reduce the number of personnel processing medical information. Instead, personnel will shift their attention from rote clerical activities to analytic activities made possible by the creation of new data bases by computers.
This comes close to ‘extract information from’. (Note the reference to the terminological innovation as a “semantic change”.)