Top 10 Words That Need To Die, Immediately

183 comments

The English language is full of beautiful words. Like effervescent, and skullduggery, and defenestrate

And then there are these. These blights. Affectations that are completely devoid of meaning. Crimes against the English language that, just by saying them, you can lower any IQ within earshot. 

You may look at some of the words and say, "Those are portmanteaus and acronyms and memes! Onomatopoeias and slang terms! Surely they do not count as words!"

But, these are all things I have personally heard people say out loud. Not to mention their constant, unending appearances in every corner of the internet. These are things ingrained in our language so deeply that, no matter where you say them, no matter who you say them to, these things will be understood. That makes them words. 

Words that need to die. 

10. Bromance

Origin: portmanteau of the words brother and romance, created in the 1990s by Dave Carnie (editor of the skateboard magazine Big Brother) to describe the relationships that develop between male skaters.

Why it sucks: The word bromance exists so two guys can be friends without being accused of wanting to touch each other's junk. It's not homophobia, but it's close. Maybe I'm a little European in my thinking, but two guys should be able to be friends without having to create some sort of no-homo shield around it. Also, portmanteaus are generally obnoxious. Putting two words together to create a new word is not a unique, creative skill. It's lazy kitsch. 

9. Man-cave

Origin: The origin of this phrase is not entirely clear. Some say it was born of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus by John Gray. In the book, Gray discusses the propensity of men to "retreat" to their caves, or safe havens, to sort out their problems.  

Why it sucks: Man-cave is less a word and more a marketing term, created to sell pool tables and sports memorabilia to guys who feel they need a masculine refuge from their nagging wives. Here's a fun statistic: 90 percent of people who see my home office call it my man-cave. It being in an attic and full of vintage paperbacks and computer equipment, I don't know what makes it a cave, or manly. Here's another statistic: I don't live in a damn cave. 

8. Awesomesauce

Origin: Unclear, though some people attribute it to Strong Bad, a character from the Homestar Runner series of Flash web cartoons, who refers to a cleaning product with the trade name of Awesome Sauce.

Why it sucks: I don't know why someone thought the addition of the word "sauce" to "awesome" would give it more impact. Maybe because awesome used to be a big, grand word meant to describe the beauty of the universe, not the nachos you had at the bar last night. And again, portmanteaus. They are terrible.  

7. Foodie

Origin: The word was created in 1981 by Paul Levy and Ann Barr, who used it in the title of their book The Official Foodie Handbook. A foodie is different from a gourmet; while a gourmet is considered an expert on food, a foodie is an amateur striving to be an expert. 

Why it sucks: Oh, you're a foodie? So you like food? Guess what? So does everyone else on the planet. People assign fancy titles to the things they do because it makes them feel better (than you). I'm a writer, but what would you say if I started calling myself a wordsmith? Foodies should choke on their locally-sourced organic chicken.

6. Irregardless

Origin: Unknown, but many believe it's a portmanteau of irrespective and regardless. Most dictionaries list it as nonstandard or incorrect. 

Why it sucks: This is not a word! It bothers me that I even need to put this on the list, but I still hear people say it, all the time, and not even ironically. They say it because they think it's a real word. But even on the face of it, it doesn't work, because it's a double-negative. The ir- and the -less essentially cancel each other out. This is a jumble of stupid. 

5. Fail

Origin: Unknown. Fail has appeared as an interjection in Urban Dictionary as far back as 2003. Google Trends indicates that internet users began exchanging and searching for pictures labeled with FAIL in 2004.

Why it sucks: This word needs to be put out to pasture, and not just because my mom used it in a text. It might have been clever the first couple of times it was used, because don't we all love laughing at the misfortune of others? But like any joke, by the 9 trillionth time it's been told, it's just not funny anymore. This word, by the way, is rendered even more dangerous by the addition of the word epic.

4. Nom

Origin: A derivative of om-nom-nom, which was first used by Cookie Monster in Sesame Street, and later made popular by brain-numbing web travesty, the lolcat. Technically an onomatopoeia, or a word that suggests the source of the sound it describes.

Why it sucks: More kitsch, and the worst kind. It's a cutesy, childish sound, nearly on the same level of babytalk, but adults use it. Adults! Who are talking to other adults! It's like saying wah when you're upset. Is this what we've come to, America? Babytalking each other?!?

3. Totes

Origin: Unknown. Some believe the word was coined in 2009 by Paul Rudd in the film I Love You, Man. Totes actually appears in Urban Dictionary as far back as 2003. 

Why it sucks: Every time I hear totes I think of tote bags, so the usage is a stumbling block on my path to understanding whatever idiotic thing was just said. It forces me into a hate-spiral of twisted logic: "Oh, this person meant to say 'totally,' but substituted an abbreviation, because shaving off two letters saves time, except for the fact that it took me longer to process what they meant, and then I started thinking about this... and now it's all gone to hell."

2. Winning

Origin: Charlie Sheen. 

Why it sucks: Charlie Sheen.

1. LOL

Origin: The oldest written record of LOL was from a message typed by Wayne Pearson in the 1980s on Usenet. On March 24, 2011, LOL was formally recognized in an update of the Oxford English Dictionary. 

Why it sucks: This is a bane on language. It is barren of meaning. It's barely a punctuation mark. Whenever someone types LOL in conversation, I want to hold them to that: Really? Did your epiglottis actually just constrict your larynx, producing the sound of laughter? Or did you just type it, to take up space, because, why not? 

I think it's the lack of authenticity that bothers me about LOL. To type it is to say that you're expressing a basic understanding of amusement, and nothing more. It's fodder. What um is to public speaking, LOL is to typing. 

And the people who say it out loud. Oh, the people who say it out loud. They are damned. 


Those are mine. Now show me yours. What words do you think need to be eliminated from the English language...

Photo by Pieter Joost Lemmens

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Comments

GuidScotsTongue's picture
GuidScotsTongue March 1, 2012 - 5:27pm

I agree with VeniAdVoluntatemMeam. I'd also ask that "The governor of State X Sucks" be changed to "The governor of State X is a scoundrel/liar/cheat/whoremonger".

But what I'd really like is a national campaign to replace the words "incredible" and "unbelievable" with "implausible" or even "highly unlikely", whenever they are used to mean "amazing/fantastic/the-greatest-thing-you-ever-heard"

Also, if an advertised product is described as "legendary", let's all think "mythical", or else just remember that legends are tales passed down by so many tellers that the reality is long forgotten.
 

GuidScotsTongue's picture
GuidScotsTongue March 1, 2012 - 5:34pm

As long as there are people who think it's OK to split an infinitive, I shall maintain a whole nother exception for "whole nother".

Joe Skandal's picture
Joe Skandal March 1, 2012 - 6:02pm

haha all the replys are great.

I hate it how people, especially News presenters, and weather girls/men cannot say the word Sixth.

Here's and example of what I mean:

"The new show is starting on the sikth of June."

Sikth? Aren't they an obscure but amazing British metal band..?

Totes Innapropes!

 

 

Shannon Davis Harrison's picture
Shannon Davis H... March 2, 2012 - 1:51am

Oh. No. You missed the WORST of them all.....Natch. Took me awhile to figure out it was for 'naturally'...

I cringe whenever I see it, which is far less now....Thank the universe! I quit reading several blogs over the use of that one.

PS...I agree with most of the others, too.

Lori Reynolds's picture
Lori Reynolds March 2, 2012 - 5:26am

Ginormous or perhaps the spelling would be gynormous, as well as the non-word Anywho.   

What loathesome creations.  

 

Nathan Hoskins's picture
Nathan Hoskins March 3, 2012 - 9:29am

Your distaste for foodie is off the mark; sounds like your it getting mixed up with a food snob. You are evidently not a foodie yourself if you think that everyone enjoys and attaches importance to it. Clearly we don’t when the norm is for shovelling vast amounts of unhealthy, bland and processed junk into our mouths and caring little for its origins. Food is a necessity but when conditions allow it carries great cultural and social significance and is something to be savoured and enjoyed. How many people can say that they truly appreciate food? Those of us who do have a passion for it need a word which differentiates us from the majority who clearly don’t care. What word do you suggest we use instead?

alisia's picture
alisia from Byron, NY is reading The Goldfinch by: Donna Tartt March 2, 2012 - 7:13pm

I was attending a book signing for a local scam artist. The man promoted himself online as having a small publishing house in the city nearest me. He'd taken in two others, but I wasn't about to be brought in without seeing his "company." He invited me to a book signing for two writers he was affiliated with. There was no set up at this signing and it was clear by his lack of socks that he was simply printing off Lulu.com and selling at a huge mark up. There wasn't even a sign promoting these author's books. No one seemed to notice that they were even selling/signing anything. It was confusing to me personally, until one of the other writers signed his book of poems to me: "Dear Alisia, Good luck in your adventures with wordsmithing." I think it was then that I knew I had to smile and back away slowly. Too be polite I bought both books of poetry. Both were tired, boring and entirely egotistical.

Beth Hinton's picture
Beth Hinton from North Carolina is reading Libba Bray's Beauty Queens; Lauren Oliver's Delirium March 3, 2012 - 5:47pm

Dialog, when used as a verb instead of a noun.  As in, "Let's dialog about that".  Blech.

D Michael Hardy's picture
D Michael Hardy from Tampa, FL March 4, 2012 - 11:18am

Although I'm sure it'll probably never go away, I'm not a huge fan of "blog"...it just sounds dirty.

 

Bobbie Lee's picture
Bobbie Lee March 7, 2012 - 5:13am

Veggies and fridge. Both are like fingernails on a chalkboard.

Kenneth Sibbett's picture
Kenneth Sibbett from North Carolina is reading A Contented Mind April 3, 2012 - 12:54pm

I can name you 50 more if you need them!

Mathieu Debic's picture
Mathieu Debic April 3, 2012 - 2:49pm

A confession: I say "lol" out loud almost daily. I also address people as "bro." Both of these vocabulary choices were initially motivated out of a sense of mockery for their users, I am neither a "bro" nor am I a denizen of the Hadean realms of the deep internet, but recently I've found myself using both of these words more and more without realizing it. I think I may have a problem.

innocentmaps's picture
innocentmaps from Washington, DC is reading Truth & Beauty by Anne Patchett; Tales From A Traveling Couch: A Psychotherapist Revisits His Most Memorable Patients by Robert U. Akeeret; Demian by Hermann Hesse; The Victoria's Secret Catalogue; The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson April 3, 2012 - 3:49pm

"Upcycled" - OMG this yippieshit wordsandwich makes me itchy. Pfffffft . . . REALLY???

"Interesting" - I might be alone here, but when someone describes something as being "interesting", I want (and have been wont to do in extreme cases) to grab them by the shoulders and shake them. What does that mean? NOTHING. You just told me something was of interest to you. Grow a pair, and give me an actual description or opinion. Or, admit you don't have an opinion, or just describe the damn thing.

 

Lakisha's picture
Lakisha April 25, 2012 - 12:24am

thank you so much! it is incredibly interesting to read!

I am into ethimology. It shows the nature of the words, their soul if you will.

I didn't know Fail has appeared as an interjection in Urban Dictionary.

 And it came as a surprise for me that LOL is older than me

_____________________________

winrar for free http://freearchiver.net/

 

Jane Wiseman's picture
Jane Wiseman from living outside of Albuquerque/in Minneapolis is reading Look to Windward by Iain M. Banks June 27, 2012 - 11:39am

"impact" as a verb or verb form, especially as a transitive verb, unless you're talking about intestines.

Jane Wiseman's picture
Jane Wiseman from living outside of Albuquerque/in Minneapolis is reading Look to Windward by Iain M. Banks June 27, 2012 - 11:40am

"impact" as a verb or verb form, especially as a transitive verb, unless you're talking about intestines.

Jane Wiseman's picture
Jane Wiseman from living outside of Albuquerque/in Minneapolis is reading Look to Windward by Iain M. Banks June 27, 2012 - 11:41am

Oops, it posted twice. Well, that's how much I hate it.

Leslie Wendle Wiebe's picture
Leslie Wendle Wiebe August 6, 2012 - 2:04pm

Edgy

At the end of the day...

 

 

Jane Wiseman's picture
Jane Wiseman from living outside of Albuquerque/in Minneapolis is reading Look to Windward by Iain M. Banks October 1, 2012 - 12:51pm

"Impact" used as a verb, unless you are describing intestines.

Kalani Perry's picture
Kalani Perry October 1, 2012 - 4:17pm

Unfortunately, irregardless has become so widespread that it now is a word (at least according to Merriam-Webster). Source: Wikipedia.

Kalani Perry's picture
Kalani Perry October 1, 2012 - 4:17pm

Unfortunately, irregardless has become so widespread that it now is a word (at least according to Merriam-Webster). Source: Wikipedia.

Jo Jo Le Tiel's picture
Jo Jo Le Tiel January 1, 2013 - 7:31pm

Dude, pls. I refuse to give up any of 'em, lol. Srsly.

Jo Jo Le Tiel's picture
Jo Jo Le Tiel January 1, 2013 - 7:34pm

p.s. a "foodie," btw, is not somebody who likes food. And I'm glad you didn't include "bullshit" because there is no other word in the English language that conveys the nuance of this wonderful word.

 

Jo Jo Le Tiel's picture
Jo Jo Le Tiel January 1, 2013 - 7:34pm

p.s. a "foodie," btw, is not somebody who likes food. And I'm glad you didn't include "bullshit" because there is no other word in the English language that conveys the nuance of this wonderful word.

 

Jo Jo Le Tiel's picture
Jo Jo Le Tiel January 1, 2013 - 7:35pm

p.s. a "foodie," btw, is not somebody who likes food. And I'm glad you didn't include "bullshit" because there is no other word in the English language that conveys the nuance of this wonderful word.

 

Jo Jo Le Tiel's picture
Jo Jo Le Tiel January 1, 2013 - 7:35pm

p.s. a "foodie," btw, is not somebody who likes food. And I'm glad you didn't include "bullshit" because there is no other word in the English language that conveys the nuance of this wonderful word.

 

Jo Jo Le Tiel's picture
Jo Jo Le Tiel January 1, 2013 - 7:35pm

p.s. a "foodie," btw, is not somebody who likes food. And I'm glad you didn't include "bullshit" because there is no other word in the English language that conveys the nuance of this wonderful word.

 

Jo Jo Le Tiel's picture
Jo Jo Le Tiel January 1, 2013 - 7:35pm

p.s. a "foodie," btw, is not somebody who likes food. And I'm glad you didn't include "bullshit" because there is no other word in the English language that conveys the nuance of this wonderful word.

 

Jo Jo Le Tiel's picture
Jo Jo Le Tiel January 1, 2013 - 7:36pm

p.s. a "foodie," btw, is not somebody who likes food. And I'm glad you didn't include "bullshit" because there is no other word in the English language that conveys the nuance of this wonderful word.

 

Jo Jo Le Tiel's picture
Jo Jo Le Tiel January 1, 2013 - 7:36pm

p.s. a "foodie," btw, is not somebody who likes food. And I'm glad you didn't include "bullshit" because there is no other word in the English language that conveys the nuance of this wonderful word.

 

Sirius's picture
Sirius January 3, 2013 - 6:04am

@Nathan Hoskins, re "foodie"

"What word do you suggest we use instead?"

What's wrong with epicurean?

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated January 3, 2013 - 6:11am
Aric Burns's picture
Aric Burns January 5, 2013 - 7:38pm

I love awesomesauce because it's like applesauce, but awesome.

Leaderofthefree's picture
Leaderofthefree January 9, 2013 - 1:31pm

Anyone who uses Yay, spoken or written, should be punched.

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like January 9, 2013 - 1:41pm

Yeah, it is spelled "yea."

truthinsecurity's picture
truthinsecurity February 3, 2013 - 4:01pm

Vacay.  Not only is it technically an abbreviation, but an extra letter was added to the end of it for no reason.

Andrew E Hansen III's picture
Andrew E Hansen III February 7, 2013 - 10:07am

Kitsch, is the perfect example of what you're railing against. Yet, you just used it. It's an English bastardization of the German word, kitschen. It only entered the English language in the 1920's and 30's.

That's the natural evolution of language.

Ax instead of ask, and f instead of th, are the ones that really bother me. Notice the number of hip-hop artists, rappers most specifically, that pronounce it this way. I understand that Th-fronting is common in a cockney accent. I also understand that children will frequently do this as it's a physicial limitation. But why do American rappers wish to sound like children?

Susanna Mulvihill's picture
Susanna Mulvihill April 9, 2013 - 2:27am

You've missed amazeballs off the list. It's relatively new but possibly the most irritating new word I've heard. People I know think they're using it ironically. Sadly, they find it just slips into their everyday language. There is no excusing it.

 

Rachel Dawn T's picture
Rachel Dawn T April 9, 2013 - 10:27am

adorbs.

Ryan Derr's picture
Ryan Derr May 16, 2013 - 9:52am

One that I hate is something you said in this post. The word "devoid". It's a double negative word. Apparently it has old English origins, but it still doesn't make sense when someone uses it. "My life is devoid of meaning." Void already means "nothing", or "complete absence". I keep seeing modern day writers in some of my favorite books use the word and it just sends me over the edge...into a void!

 

And then there is "unsweet". How can you unsweet something? You have plain tea, then you sweeten it. 

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like May 16, 2013 - 10:33am

"De-" is not necessarily a negative: e.g. denote, demarcate, describe.

Starlit's picture
Starlit July 2, 2013 - 8:37pm

Mybad. Worst word/phrase EVER!

Bianca Jackson's picture
Bianca Jackson July 26, 2013 - 12:41pm

Hmmm, I've always interpreted 'bromance' to be the opposite of homophobic. I describe the love between two men that would/could be sexual if it weren't for the fact that they are straight. If one believes that sexual orientation is predetermined and fixed, then those engaged in a bromance would be  Platonic soulmates. For those who accept some sexual fluidity, then a bromance could always lead to a true romance.

Lori Burgett's picture
Lori Burgett August 28, 2013 - 12:02am

PLOX and Plz: Plz in text messaging becuase it just shouldn't happen. Plox, however? So, even if you are a truly lazy fuqtard and can't type 'plz' you will add a letter and make it 'plox'? WHY? Plox doesn't even sound like 'please' at ALL. Is it a faux-French version of 'plz'? Is it a foreign code for 'stab me in the head, I'm an idiot'? I believe it is that last part.

Deacon's picture
Deacon from Central Illinois is reading Leonardo Da Vinci Flights of the Mind September 20, 2013 - 5:45am

I would like to propose the word 'earthship' as it is basically meaningless in every context in which it is uttered.

Also I'm a little concerned about the word 'disgruntled', since if people are not going to use the word 'gruntled', it's use seems a bit redundant.

 

Kristi's picture
Kristi from Connecticut is reading Anything I can get my hands on! October 19, 2013 - 1:57am

I don't usually literally lol I'm more of a lqtm kinda girl! (Laughing quietly to myself!)

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated October 19, 2013 - 5:05am

Also ships land, and I'm really hoping that Earth doesn't land.

Darcy Jansen's picture
Darcy Jansen November 11, 2013 - 12:20pm

I'm (hopefully) sure that all of this word-gluing onymphilia will be a phase that will exhaust itself from being over-played, something like how common puns were considered highbrow amusement with the aristocrats in the 18th century before it became tiresome. I'm just wondering how many babies born of today's hipsters will be growing up with "ironically-bad" names like Brangelina...

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated November 11, 2013 - 1:22pm

I'm amazed at people who seem shocked at the concept that the point of a child's name isn't to express the parent's personality, but to get the child's attention.

Dorie Jennings's picture
Dorie Jennings November 12, 2013 - 6:45pm

Do we count phrases that need to die immediately?

 

"helicopter parents".....everyone who says that waits for you to ASK them to explain it, clever, huh, get it, get it? STOOOOPID.

 

"I know, riiiiiiight?" with the nouveau-valley-girl inflection, to indicate "I agree.". Once exclusively teenage girls saying it, now it seems to have spread. 

 

"There, I said it." Very contrived, rehearsed way of saying that it was a struggle deciding to say whatever "it" is. Except it's usually obvious that the whole tone is fake fake fake.