Monday, December 29, 2008

Worst Words


I hate that word.  (Is it really a word?) It makes me a little icky and uncomfortable. 

Anyone else have a word that qualifies as "worst"? Is there some word that you wish you would never have to hear someone say, never again have to read it in an article or restaurant review? A word that qualifies as an abomination of the English language?  

I'd love to know what word bugs you the most! 


  1. Literally.

    It's almost ALWAYS used when the intent is figuratively.

    If you need to say "literally" or "figuratively" to clarify your meaning, then you need to get your thoughts straight before speaking.

  2. I'll have to think about this. Mostly I get caught up with my own little grammatical pet peeves, like when people say "further" when they mean "farther," and that virtually no one knows how to use the word "comprise" correctly. In fact, comprise is so often used incorrectly that some dictionaries have started to list both definitions--and that REALLY irks me!

  3. I saw this article today and thought of you. It's about Lake Superior State University's annual List of Words to Be Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness.

  4. Oddly, I don't seem to have any words that squick me aesthetically, though I share some frustration about "comprise" and "literally" (not to mention the lie/lay confusion, and the fact that almost no one seems to know how to use the expression "to beg the question" correctly). But I'm famously immune to annoyance at neologisms and portmanteau words - I'm far too deeply a Shakespearean to take offense at people doing new and clever things with language. I imagine some sour-faced crank in a ruff probably had a conniption about "assassination" once too, but history (and English) was not on his side...