Thursday, August 11, 2011

Last night on Twitter, I made a comment that one of my clients purposely uses a word in his manuscript that he knows I loathe. It's been a running joke with us for years. It's always there, and when I come across it as I read I usually email him a giant scream that looks like this:

aieeeeeeeee!


of course that prompted several people to wonder what the word was.
And to offer up their own detested words:









Aside from grammatical errors (impacted; safety deposit box; laid down) do you have words that just annoy the bejeepers out of you?

83 comments:

Danielle Gaither said...

Goodness, yes. My nails-on-chalkboard word is "deliverables." What, "goals" and "results" aren't good enough words for us anymore? Also, I note with delight that my spell-checker flags the offending word. HOPE!

Really, just about any business jargon term qualifies, but that particular one brings out a special kind of homicidal rage.

Scott Stillwell said...

Moist (shudder). It makes my skin crawl, even when in reference to cake.

Loralie Hall said...

*laughs*

I'm entertained that you still haven't shared 'that' word.

sharktastic said...

how is safety deposit box incorrect? i'm an editor so i'm curious. i know it's used commonly - so is it the bad grammar structure that irks you?

Laurel said...

I'm with Danielle on the business jargon. Particularly the hyphenated variety. I don't ever again need to hear any of the following:

game-changer
team-building
goal-oriented

But most especially "work-life balance." As soon as corporate or HR starts talking about work-life balance, you know you aren't going to have any.

Shannon Heather said...

Gaze - gives me gooseflesh

Makes me think of mannequins and they're just creepy.

Marsha Sigman said...

I was going to say moist but Scott beat me to it.

jan said...

Grimace?

I agree with Danielle and Laurel--the business quips: team-player, prioritize, productivity quotients. I hate them all. They make me grimace.

Janet Reid said...

Sharktastic, the correct phrase is "safe deposit box" as in it's safe to deposit your wads of stolen cash in this box at the bank.

Common usage has almost destroyed the correct phrase, sadly.

ryan field said...

Anything ending with "ingly." Lovingly, laughingly, etc...

And, "underpants."

Bill Cameron said...

I love hated words. The more the hate, the more I love.

Moist moist moist may be my all time favorite.

Shaunna said...

I have a list of words that make me cringe every time I have to say them, pump (as a verb) and nugget (in any context) being two of the worst.

Marissa Doyle said...

Turning certain nouns into verbs makes me want to shriek--like gift and task. You really, really don't have to gift someone with something--you can just give it to him or her already.

grumblegrumblegrumble

Rick said...

Few things really grate my cheese as sharply as people using the infinitive of "grow". It's not grammatically incorrect, per se, but every time somebody says, "We really want to grow our media presence" I reach for the nearest sharp object and fantasize about gouging out their eyeballs.

Janet Reid said...

"Few things grate my cheese as sharply" may just be my favorite phrase today.

I'm stealing it of course.

Lauren B. said...

Is it "verdant"? That's a common purple-prose offender.

I think "fecund" is a weird word, but I don't have a strong animosity for any particular words, only incorrect usage.

Sarah said...

I think impactful is worse than inpacted.

It's so silly, but I hate raging: raging rivers, fires, and winds. I think because it's rare to meet a description of a natural disaster that doesn't use the word.

But the aversion makes me look like a horrible person. A newscaster will report a "raging flood", and suddenly, I'm calling back, "Raging, really!?! Can't your writers pick a better word?"

ryan field said...

"I think "fecund" is a weird word, but I don't have a strong animosity for any particular words, only incorrect usage."

This is a true story. When I was a kid in Catholic school we had a priest who used the words "Holy Fecundator" all the time. Imagine "fecundator" coming from a priest with a heavy Italian accent and thirty boys in plaid clip on ties trying not to laugh.

Lauren B. said...

@ryan - Ok, "fecund" still sounds weird, but "fecundator" might be my new favorite word!

Darlene Underdahl said...

"Knocked-up." It sounds really mean. It's an ancient term my parents used, and it came up with a friend some years ago. She must have spread it around.

I don't care for "baby-bump" either.

There's a corruption of the word "estimate" that my husband hates with a hot rage. I must have blocked it out of my mind.

WV is "hiploses." Would be nice.

Jael said...

Granted.

Steve Ulfelder said...

I had a fraternity brother whose nickname was Moist. I refuse to say more than that.

Alice said...

Disrespect when used as a verb as in "don't disrespect me". Arrgh. But no disrespect intended.

Anon. said...

In education, far too many teachers have taken the noun "conference" and used it as a verb, "conferencing."

"I will be conferencing with at least 6 students this morning about their essays."

My steadfast use of the word "conferring" in this context has had no impact. *sigh*

Christina Auret said...

I want to say that I have never met a word I don't like.

Unfortunately I have to amend that to: I never met a word, except for the ones commonly used to make others feel inferior due to their race, class, gender or sexuality, I don't like.

Which is quite a lot of words.

Skipperhammond@gmail.com said...

Rick, you beat me to "grow." Grow wealth, grow presence, etc. Maybe because I'm used to growing trees and collard greens and can't imagine anyone planting, fertilizing, and harvesting inanimate objects.

Unknown said...

"Whimsical" because it usually translates as toe-curlingly cute.

JES said...

Not a word by itself, but "hone" in place of "home" in phrases like "He honed in on the correct answer": crazy-making.

Feaky Snucker said...

Insouciance. I see it in chick lit all the time as of late. It screams of someone trying to make their book seem intellectual, but I've never heard anyone use it in real life. Ever. It's like everyone decided to cram it in their book at once.

Sheila JG said...

Awesome. Pathetic. They were once great words, but are so overused they don't mean what they used to mean.

And chillax.

You're not going to share yours, are you? Not even a hint, maybe? Is it a noun? Adjective? Expletive?

Kristin Laughtin said...

I'm with Christina Auret. I don't think there are any legitimate words I can't stand to see, except a few of the more vulgar variety. "C---" just sounds bad.

My problem is more with incorrect words that have gained common usage. "Irregardless" is like nails on a chalkboard for me.

Ulysses said...

I once read a book where the author insisted on using the word "conundrum" repeatedly. In dialog.

Kurt Hartwig said...

U-ey. As in "u-turn." Just sounds gross.

Kate Larkindale said...

I loathe the word spongy. Just makes my skin crawl....

Colin Smith said...

When I first started working in IT about 18 years ago, my cheese was thoroughly grated (yes, we're all stealing that one now) by the word "functionality." All my years growing up in England, I had never come across that word. It has now, of course, become common parlance (it's probably even in the OED), and I confess to having used it myself on occasion. It still makes my skin crawl, though.

Colin Smith said...

@Kate Larkindale: Does the fact that we both used the phrase "makes my skin crawl" at *exactly* the same time... make your skin crawl? :)

jesse said...

Nonplussed.

Jared X said...

Culinary.

The spelling and pronunciation don't match up. If it's going to be a short 'u', it should be spelled cullinary. Or keep the spelling and pronounce it "kyoolinary."

Either way, it's a curiously unappetizing adjective meaning "related to cooking."

Blech.

gregkshipman said...

'Ebonics' is my most favoratty hated word... I hate it so much I never, ever, ever miss an opportunity to use it. I also rant over 'black cinema', 'black caucus', 'Blacula' and finally... black coffee (oh wait... black coffee's not racial... never mind that one). Anyway, that's my slanted rant for the day (ebonically speaking).

black in alaska

Adrienne said...

Juxtaposition.

I had an art history teacher who would use that word to describe every other piece of art we studied. When i hear it now it makes me want to go back in time, slap her, and give her a Thesaurus.

Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

Vomit

It's just a nasty sounding word for nasty business.

Christi Goddard said...

Lotto.

I hate it as much as it hates me.

TSW said...

The word I dislike most is "enthused." Blech.

vistadenada said...

opine? or garter snake? Yes, yes, it is 2 words, but they just don't work well together, like the one word "rattlesnake" does. "Wretched" is another word that is...well...wretched.

Tasha Alexander said...

Heh.

I so know the word.

Kate Outhwaite said...

Gosh, poor old "moist"! I had no idea it was capable of inspiring such strong feelings. My mind is racing now, trying to work out what kind of a dashing, secret existence "moist" has been out living while I was sitting at home thinking it was a dull but perfectly serviceable adjective indicating moderate dampness. I'm such a poor judge of character!

In the spirit of sharing, the nails-down-the-blackboard word for me has to be: "unputdownable" (however much I might hope my writing will achieve that state one day). :-)

Lydia said...

Rejection. For fairly obvious reasons.

Kirsten said...

"Suddenly" is a useless lazy word.
I also don't like "it" -especially when starting a sentence, paragraph, chapter or book.

Emily said...

I think, when referencing a state of the bowels, "impacted" is grammatically correct. As in "the poor little guys bowels are impacted." But I could be wrong, as I am not a medical professional.

As for what grates my nerves? This: "squeeeeeeeeee!" is not a word. It's a sound you'd expect from a pekingese on speed.

Cara said...

Puckered.

I'm not sure why, but that word just makes me cringe.

Lauren B. said...

Oh wait, I have one: "Mouthfeel"

Landra said...

Words that drive me crazy??
Interesting post. I have to say that I don't turn into a screeching rage monkey at the sight of any word in particular. The only aggravating word I deal with is 'slightly'. It pops up everywhere when I am writing, to the point that I find all uses and delete.

I'm never going to slightly twist that knife into someone's belly again.

stephen matlock said...

lambent

fulgent

crepuscular

diaphanous

verdant

Please, people. Stop saying "I HAVE A THESAURUS!"

And, of course, badly used words:

Hopefully. As in "Hopefully you will arrive soon." Meh. I get crazy when I hear adverbs used like that.

Poor old "hopefully" has lost his identity & now has no meaning other than "I, the speaker, am hopeful" instead of "that person had hope."

And what happened to "o'clock" as in "it was two o'clock"? Now we just say "2:00" and let the reader fill in the missing worlds. FILL IN THOSE WORDS FOR US.


/grumble

alwayscoffee said...

I love this post. And all of you. I dislike a large portion of these words.

I hate the way the media uses the word "flaunt." A woman walks out of the house, pregnant, and she's flaunting her (Coffee help us all) baby-bump. That's not flaunting. That's simply a current state of being. Also mentioned, baby-bump. I'm sorry, but that just reminds me of a speed bump. I don't know why.

Oh, and anyone who seriously says "irregardless" should be flogged with a wet noodle.

Tami Veldura said...

Putting another tick in the 'moist' column for a friend of mine. We love tormenting her with it.

I personally don't have any words (used correctly) that I can't stand. It's the incorrect useage/words that really get to me.

Expecially.

Sorry, no matter how often you use it, that still won't be a word.

Beth Dunn said...

Utilize. There is absolutely never a good reason to use this word when you could just use, you know. "Use."

Terri Lynn Coop said...

Back in my best ever writing class, there were three words and phrases we were not allowed to use. If they were in your paper, it came back with red circles and you could fix and resubmit. These words were beaten out of us and to this day I cannot stand the very sight of them:

1. impact in all of its glory: impacted, impacting, negative impact, etc.

2. utilize instead of use

3. "due to" instead of "because of"

She called it techno-babble and she was right. These words suck.
I crit folks on them and they look at me funny. I tell them to try it without them and their writing will improve.

Also, pretty much anything ending in -ize, -izing and ized, to steal Rick's metaphor, grate my cheese.

Terri

Steve Stubbs said...

“Aieeeeeeeee” is actually not a scream, but the correct pronunciation of the English word that is a translation of the Latin ego, the French je, and the German ich. (“I” is a diphthong, thus “Ah-ee.”)

In response to the other posters, I love words like moist, vomit, shit, and barf. The word that gets me is the one the taxman uses when he relieves me of my not-so-hard-earned, but nonetheless well-deserved cash. That word is “Gotcha!”

Now I am going to have to order and read all the books written by all the authors on your client list to find out what your trigger word is.

Michael Seese said...

Not a word, but a phrase: "At the end of the day." Of course, I hate a lot of business-speak.

Janet Reid said...

Who knew that "moist" would grate so much cheese!

Don't get me started on impacted either.

Spring said...

"Irregardless" makes me want to scratch eyes out.

Lorelei Armstrong said...

I dislike a collection of food-related words: "portion," "serving," "meal."

And now "moist," of course.

Embers said...

normalcy. Its not a real word. If I read it I get jolted out of 'read space' and back into normality, where I am just looking at black marks on paper instead of enjoying a story.

Sommer Leigh said...

I don't think there are any words I just don't like. I mean, how can you not love all these wonky, weird, squishy words that inspire so much emotion in people?

wry wryter said...

Reject, as in rejection, as in your work sucks. Hate it.

So, what's your favorite word?

I have two: 'love it', they can refer to just about anything.

And all this time I thought you hated the dreaded creature, the ALOT.

Rachael said...

My high school English teacher hated the word "plethora." So, of course, we inserted it into every essay, short story, and writing assignment that we could.

I hate flaccid and panties too. I also hate the word panting.

Dave said...

A word that really frightens me is "logophobia".

kregger said...

Mature when it is pronounced ma-toor.

As my ex-wife was fond of saying to me, "You are so im-ma-toor!"

It makes me want to frolic out of doors, in the na-toor.

or

Clean my den-toors.

I know...I'm acting childish.

Stephanie said...

Bareback. Whenever I hear or read the word, I envision a naked woman riding a horse through a meadow -- in slow motion. Maybe as a kid I just assumed the rider was bare and not the horse? And yes, I see her now. No, I'm not crazy.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

"No," irritates the devil out of me, especially if my pet knobby kneed Scot is the one saying it.

Other than that, I can't think of anything that bothers me except vulgarities. I hate cussin' and such, damn it!

Deep River said...

"Hunker down", which is the favorite phrase of media people whenever a hurricane approaches my Beloved Florida.

Replace "hunker down" with a synonym such as "squat", and you will see how ridiculous such advice is.

"We're all squatting here at the Emergency Operations Center."

"The eyewall is approaching the beach, so it's time for eveyone to squat."


"Stay indoors and squat."

Jennifer said...

Wouldn't it be fun if the host of this wonderful blog chose words from the above e-wall of shame for the next contest? Prizes for jargon, usage fouls, and dampness?

John "Ol' Chumbucket" Baur said...

Wellness

What was wrong with health and healthy? Fah on wellness.

But really, that's my nly taboo words. What I really hate are words that are consistently misued, such as "like," "hopefully," "ironically."

But "wellness?" FAH!

Chris Johnson said...

"Going forward"

Lauren said...

Literally is literally overused and clearly, clearly is, too.

stephen matlock said...

At this point in time (well, when else?)

In my own opinion (as versus the opinions you hold for other people while they take a vacation maybe?)

In the near future (as opposed to the other kind of future that won't happen in the future?)

If I can be honest (no, keep lying. That makes me happy.)

And my English prof in college told me he'd beat me with a sharpened stick if I used "being" with any other word than "human" as in "human being." (He didn't realize, I think, that he'd be better off poking me with a sharpened stick, but maybe the lawsuits frightened him off.)

So I used to include in EVERY essay the phrase "being as how" to to be sure I increased his blood pressure.

And every day I'd hear him in his office, grinding sticks to a sharp point, and muttering. Muttering and grinding his teeth.

mm said...

Incidences--when the speaker means instances or incidents--sets my teeth on edge.

Helen DeWitt said...

Well, truth be told, "irregardless" never fails to cheer. Irregardless! The suffix -less was too feeble to give the full weight of the irrelevance of whatever it was, no, we need a prefix to beef up that suffix, it's just adorable.

No, my pet hate is "veritable." A veritable flood. A veritable cathedral. A veritable blitzkrieg. What does this MEAN? It doesn't mean that it's the real thing. What it means is something like "I am using a metaphor, but I'm nervous using metaphors, so I am using a dead metaphor; I want both to apologize for my presumption and also rouge the cheeks of the corpse.

What is this word doing in the language?

Becky Mushko said...

Ensues, as hilarity enuses or tragedy ensues Or, even worse, both hilarity and tragedy ensue. (And I won't even mention the number of times I've seen it misspelled as insues.)

After reading some of the comments upstream, I now have the phrase "moistness ensues" stuck in my brain. Moistness would of, course, ensue after a veritable flood.

stephen matlock said...

I have to tell you, nothing makes me laugh more than someone writing "Hilarity ensues." In fact, when I am writing a parody of bad writing I always include this.

The fear is that I am unintentionally always creating bad writing - can I ever write something that is not, secretly, a parody of much better writing?

Doubt ensues as this writer questions his abilities and self-awareness.

Kitty said...

do you have words that just annoy the bejeepers out of you?

Yes, bejeepers.

Fanfreakingtastic Flower said...

I am with Kaleen12 - I HATE "panties." MURGGHGIHOINAQAAAWWWWWWWWWWWWWW..... That's the sound my soul makes whenever it hears the word, "panties."

Fanfreakingtastic Flower said...

Hey, what's wrong with impacted? I hear/use it frequently in relation to colic in horses. For example, "Coastal hay too often leads to impacted bowels." Is that incorrect in some way?