Monday, January 23, 2012

The A-List: Words I Am Not Too Thrilled About

Words are just plain awesome. Words allow us a common language by which we can communicate with each other.  While all living things communicate in some manner, only humans have both the capacity for creating words and the desire to communicate with others using those words.  Without words, there would be no reading or writing, and the world would be the poorer for it.  

I love words.  All kinds.  When I was a kid, I would open up the dictionary and just read through the words and their definitions.  I was just that kind of weird.  But just because I loved words didn't mean that everyone else did.  One guy  hated the word "pussyfoot", for example.  I did not understand his dislike, so I made sure that I used that particular word as often as possible when having a conversation with him.  I was just that kind of obnoxious, and besides,  he kept stealing from my secret stash of candy bars.  

Now, with my years of experience with the whole speaking, reading, and writing schtick,  I have a different viewpoint.  Here are a few words that I really don't care to hear or read anymore.

1. Struggles.  I get this word a lot on referrals for special education. It annoys me and makes me want to go on long verbal tirades.  "XXX struggles with math."  Really?  Here's a newsflash:  If nobody is struggling to learn a new concept, then it is too easy!    What I should see on a referral is "When XXX is given word problems, he is unable to pull the required information from the text in order to create an equation."  See the difference?  That tells me a whole lot more than "he struggles".     

2. Pugilist.  This word means someone who fight with their fists.  Great.  So why not call them a fist fighter or a boxer?   Pugilist just sounds naughty to me; like some sort of weird bodily function.  Just because it comes from Latin doesn't automatically make it a great word; the Romans drank prodigiously.  They could have made it up while on a bender, just to mess around, and not intending for it to be sent into posterity. 

3. Schadenfreude.  This is a German word that people use when they want to feel superior to other people.  Say it aloud right now.  Are you suddenly contemplating the idea of some minions to gather round your throne?  I told you so.  This word means 'pleasure at someone else' misfortune'.  It's the reason that people watch Jersey Shore, and those Kardashians.   My theory is that if this particular word is banished from use, those crappy reality shows will go with it.  A girl can dream.

4. Oxymoron.  This actually isn't a bad word.  It has a certain pleasant rhythm to it.  I am just tired of it.  Every time someone around me says a phrase like "bipartisan Congress",  "military intelligence", or "education spending", some other person will snort and say "Isn't that an oxymoron?"   We don't need for you to tell us what we already know, Captain Obvious.  Knock it off.

5.  the C-word.  I have always hated this word, even before I knew what it meant.  It's a horrible word.  It's gutteral sounding, like the worst German accent ever.   It doesn't flow off of the tongue lyrically, but explodes from the mouth like vomit.  I am not alone in my dislike; has a man ever gotten a date with a woman by using this word?   It's just plain icky.  And really, aren't there about a million other words which refer to the same part of the female anatomy that are much less aurally offensive?

Are there any words that bother you?  Do tell!


  1. my grandmother's useof the word upchuck makes me want to vomit!

  2. The c-word and when someone says they are going to think outside the box. I know that's a string of words but that makes me cringe, Every Single Time.

  3. 1) Pussy. It's just crass. I have no issue with the c-word, but it's nothing I say.
    2) Moist. I don't know why. When someone talks about how moist a cake is i just cringe. I don't have any issue with the word moisture. . . but the word moist. . . yuck.
    3) Juicy. In Matrix the Joey Pantaleone talks about how he's eating a steak and the matrix tells him it's juicy and delicious. He just sounds like a dumbass. Juicy just makes you sound vapid. Even though it probably IS the best word in many instances. I'd still find another.

    Subset: Words I hate because people cannot say them correctly
    1) Samwich. When I hear it, I have to say SAND-wich out loud to wash the memory out of my brain.
    2) Nucular. I especially hate it when someone says nucular bomb. Nucular missile seems smarter somehow.


I welcome comments, but reserve the right to correct your spelling because I am OCD about it!