Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Do You Hate Any Word?

Jonathan Swift hated the word bowels. Gloria Swanson, the faded silent movie star in Sunset Boulevard, hated the word glamor, while the character she played, Norma Desmond, hated comeback. Chicago newspaper columnist Mike Royko hated the word relationship ("the kind of sterile word used by lawyers and sociologists and other menaces"). Carson McCullers hated the words prose and poetry, though she wrote both.

British novelist V.S. Naipaul hates the word novel, documentary filmmaker Irving Saraf hates documentary, and news anchor Katie Couric hates the word panties ("a cheesy word for underpants"). Of course, many of us claim to hate the word hate.

People have various reasons for disliking (or downright loathing) certain words. It may be a buzzword that has worn out its welcome (such as paradigm or proactive). Or an overly familiar redundancy (added bonus, future plans), mispronunciation ("nuc-u-lar" for nuclear), or usage error ("between you and I").

Some of us have "zero tolerance" for elision (definally for definitely), malapropisms (mitigate for militate), blends (bromance), or verbing (to effort or incent). All of us have words that make us want to bang our heads on the desk.

I decided to collect my verbal peeves for a couple of months. These come from many sources - newspapers, web pages, sports broadcasts and even weather reports on the radio. There are many, many more where these came from!

Awesome, isn't it?


agree to disagree

Aim high.

a.m. in the morning

And you are?



Are you serious?


as everyone knows

at the end of the day (It gets DARK!)

axe (instead of "ask")

back at you

basic fundamentals

beside her/himself

big society

body of work (as used by sportscasters)

bored of (instead of "bored with")

buy-in (management-speak for "agree")

card (used as a verb)



cold slaw (instead of "cole slaw")

come on board (instead of "join")

completely forget

continue on (instead of simply "continue")

conversate (instead of "converse")


dialogue (used as a verb)

die for (as in "a dessert to die for")

Do the math! (I was an English major - YOU do the math!)

drug (instead of "dragged")

empower and empowered

epicenter (misused as a synonym for "center")

even (as in "I don't even know what to think")

exscape (instead of "escape")

face time

for all intensive purposes (instead of "for all intents and purposes")

free gift


ghetto (used as an adjective)


gots (as in "I gots no)


grow (as a transitive verb for anything in the business or financial world, as in "grow our audience")

have a dialogue

I heart (anything)

I said to her I said

I thought to myself

ice tea (instead of "iced tea")


if I would have (instead of "if I had")

if you will

illegal alien (instead of "illegal immigrant")

I'm good

in actual fact

in a sec

invite (as a noun instead of "invitation")

It goes without saying.

It's all good.

just so you know

kumbayah moment

last (instead of "most recent")

long story short

of a certain age

partner (as a verb)

personally (as in, "I personally . . .")

price point (instead of "price")



should of and would of (instead of "should have" and "would have")

Shut up! (in response to an interesting bit of information)

small little

solution (in a business context)

so over it

speak to (an issue)

teachable moment

that being said

there you go (instead of "thank you")

the thing is is

throw (somebody) under the bus

a time when and a time where

try and (instead of "try to")

undoubtably (instead of "undoubtedly")

up (used as a verb, as in "You should up your efforts.")


verse (instead of versus)

vice a versa (instead of "vice versa")

wanna (instead of "want to")

wax paper (instead of "waxed paper")

way more (and any other use of "way" as an adverb)

We're done here.

Where are you at?

whether or not

white stuff (instead of "snow")

whole 'nuther

win-win for everyone

with regard to and with respect to (instead of "about")

with that being said

xerox (instead of "copy" or "photocopy")

You can't be serious!

you guys

No comments:

Post a Comment