Top 10 Words That Need To Die, Immediately


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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badhabitrabbit's picture
badhabitrabbit November 23, 2013 - 10:27am

I do believe swag is a bastardization of "swagger"
That is; to walk with an arrogant or cocky air

As Meriam-Webster put it: 
to walk or behave in a very confident and typically arrogant or aggressive way.
to conduct oneself in an arrogant or superciliously pompous manner; especially :  to walk with an air of overbearing self-confidence

And if we are talking about certain young celebrities who claim to have "swag" I cannot help but agree with them, that they do indeed seem cocky and arrogant.

57ford's picture
57ford December 14, 2013 - 11:36pm

Needs to die a rapid death,epic,like 5seconds ago.                                                                                                          thanks , walt57


ihateeverythingabouteverything's picture
ihateeverything... December 19, 2013 - 5:13am


Imagine that... if my ex husband says imagine that about anything one more time I will literally (I mean that one correctly) kill him!

I actually like FTW.

Abbott Costello's picture
Abbott Costello December 19, 2013 - 7:12pm

This article was totes magotes awesomesauce! LoL!



Sorry, just had to be said.

Nick Zeilinger's picture
Nick Zeilinger December 20, 2013 - 9:34am

Man the guy that wrote this article must be a thrill at parties. lol totes mcgoats awesomesauce 

Bob Howe's picture
Bob Howe December 21, 2013 - 8:24pm

Here are a couple along the lines of irregardless, which my stupid phone just recognized. I could care less. What else is new?

Amber Hart's picture
Amber Hart December 22, 2013 - 2:00pm

Loved the article!  Sniggles!

Tikvawake's picture
Tikvawake December 24, 2013 - 6:56am

You're a writer and you hyphenated locally sourced?

Teddy McArdle's picture
Teddy McArdle is reading short Novels of John Steinbeck January 15, 2014 - 2:14pm in "a whole nother"

I know, right?

John Eberli's picture
John Eberli January 17, 2014 - 6:58pm

Twerk and dank.

Pat Rowan's picture
Pat Rowan March 4, 2014 - 6:33pm

I believe most of the words listed above are very silly but the one word that really should be taken out of the english language is a four letter one.  F--K.  I think it shows a lack of education.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated March 5, 2014 - 5:16am

Odd you should think that, since I learned it at school.

Katherine Andrews's picture
Katherine Andrews April 7, 2014 - 8:34pm

The word I hate is weird. It's utterly trite. Everything is referred to as weird nowadays. Plus it has been given a negative connotation when in the dictionary it litteraly means that something or someone is described as fascinating, intriguing, different or unusual. This word is misused everyday.

Adam Bond's picture
Adam Bond June 4, 2014 - 4:29pm

LOL Grammarians are always such inveterate dogmatists and literalists. Study historical linguistics via diachronic analysis for a change and maybe you’ll feel less inclined to anathematize popular usage, since you’ll see the broad scope of language development. This pageview garnering, controversy seeding “listicle” is the tyranny of taste (om nom nom) at its best. Fo’ sure. Totes. LOL

By the way, everyone keeps talking about the “bastardization” and “corruption” of words without realizing that these pejoratives describe the natural mechanism of linguistic development. We really need to get over our “learned it in College English 105" Strunk & Whitian dogmatism. Language is fluid and evolving. Sometimes we won’t like its evolution. Oh well.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated June 5, 2014 - 4:18am

Maybe you'll convince people more if you don't sound so pretentious.

Philip McFake's picture
Philip McFake August 7, 2014 - 9:10am

Most internet abbreviations (LOL, ROFL/ROtFL, TY, TYVM, NM, YW...)
Most things can be assumed a rapper made up and reached the general public (Swag to mean something besides treasure, bling, other words your mother might use now)

"Alright" bothers me at least a little.

"Consumer" to mean a customer, it feels insulting. Yes, buy buying the object of desire we have "consumed", but why is it okay to call us that?

When books use "OK" instead of "okay".

I'm okay with bromance, what else am I supposed to call really straight guys who act really really gay towards one another just short of actually BEING gay? I wouldn't want to take away their friendship or make them feel embarrassed by it, so bromance is okay by me.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated August 7, 2014 - 10:12am

Most times bromance seems like people just don't know what a romance is, not like people are having a almost gay relationship.

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like August 7, 2014 - 11:47am

Is 'scrabble' an acceptable Scrabble play?

Faye's picture
Faye August 11, 2014 - 6:26am

Randi Keas,

bwahaha= evil laugh. It is annoying as h***.

The word Woo-Hoo, isn't a word and if you play the Sims game, that means romp in the sack.

I don't like the word "man-cave", it is so sexist and barbaric to me...If that is not going away anytime soon, then we should start a new trend "woman's den". 

What is up with "It's 5 O'clock somewhere". OK genious..., but that doesn't mean you can leave work. I can't stand Jimmy Buffet at all. I saw him here in Key West and he was very rude like he is an arrogant king..., king of what? Pain-in-the-ass? I think that suits him well.                          

The word "Tote ma-gotes" I don't get it, it does not make sense to me. Seriously it needs to die. English language has become lazzy.  

Good day, sir/ma'am

mcapodici's picture
mcapodici August 24, 2014 - 7:22pm

Awesomesauce is nothing. I've seen awesomesauceome. There is even awesomesauceomeness. The universe is this.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated August 26, 2014 - 11:34am

Has this in it, not is this.

Will T. Costillas's picture
Will T. Costillas October 24, 2014 - 12:41pm


David M. Goncalves's picture
David M. Goncalves January 21, 2015 - 7:32am

What could be as conceited and unproductive as railing against the lingua franca? As long as someone is not being offensive or hurtful, let them [sic] say what they want how they [sic] want.

But trying to preserve the sanctity of English, of all languages? LOL!  (yes, I literally just laughed out loud).  English at its best is a bouillabaisse of countless other languages and neologisms, but on average it has always been the slop trough of tongues.  As my aunt used to say "you can't polish a turd."

What's next? Disparaging entire musical genres enjoyed by American minority subcultures, but which you don't get because you're a middle-aged white male?

Every crotchety old fart since time immemorial has resented how youths disregard social and cultural boundaries, caring more about their own petty fads than worshiping the cultural pillars erected by [ostensibly greater] prior generations. Well, at least you're in good company:

“Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.  - Socrates

Laura Frances Wise's picture
Laura Frances Wise April 28, 2015 - 12:33pm

I can think of innumerable words that are either misused or I either just find down-right annoying due to their continuous use. 

For starters, lets begin with the phrase "couldn't care less."

What I actually hear is "I could care less how much he hates her." 

What I want to hear is "I couldn't care less how much he hates her." Unfortunately, that's not what happens when the above phrase is used. Sadly, I still see misuse even in writing. Maybe the answer is to elliminate it from the spoken word. 

Here's a word that I hear over and over and over. And I wish I could say that I didn't. The word "Inclement."  It is most often used correctly, but the triteness of the word drives me up the wall. I sort of brace myself when I receive an email that states "Due to inclement weather..." I have to ask, why is this word used so much? It makes me believe that the millions of office administratives using the word don't fully apprehend its meaning or aren't aware that there are other words in the dictionary. I guess I sort of put this word under the same umbrella as words like epic, organic, local, gluten-free, etc. 

I would have to say that there is a big list of words/phrases that I could easily be put under the "trendy-words-gone-wrong" category. 

Here's a few: pop of color, organic, eat local, minimal, rustic, hipster, small-batch....etc. 

These are definitely losing their appeal, not that they were all appealling, but they need to be replaced or something. 




Kimberly Hill's picture
Kimberly Hill May 1, 2015 - 4:48pm

In my opinion 2 words come to mind quickly. The first is using the word "gay" as a derogatory adjective. "That's awful...that is so gay."

Secondly is the use of socal or cali in reference to California.  It especially bothers me when spoken by someone in the Midwest who has never even been to California. I'm not sure why but I feel like only Californians should be able to use it.

David John Cottrell's picture
David John Cottrell March 4, 2016 - 8:36pm

To whoever wrote this ridiculous piece of nonsense should dig deeper.  Winston Spencer Churchill once received a memo/letter from a person in the U.S.A., sorry, but cannot recall all of the details, asking if he understood the meaning of LOL.  Winston wrote back that he understood it to mean Little Old Lady, which at his time of writing it did mean that.  Always, always, check 2-3 times before submitting anything for public reading.

Origin: The oldest written record of LOL was from a message typed by Wayne Pearson in the 1980s on Usenet. 

Didier Jujubes Fung's picture
Didier Jujubes Fung March 22, 2016 - 10:23am

Seriously? You got words that don't cause a wide number of people to rip their ears off, like "foodie", "fail" and "lol", when they hear them but "bae" is fine? The fuck is "bae"?! Are you just that lazy or stupid that you can't press the letter "b" a second time?

Xavier's picture
Xavier May 5, 2016 - 10:21am

I work with a mentally handicapped, annoying skunt who is constantly saying these words over and over: "Right on", "awesomesauce", "I know, right?", "right?", "ummmm", "it is what it is", "that's the understatement", "are you out of your ever-lovin' stupid tree?". On top of that she laughs like a cross between Peewee Herman and Alvin the Chipmunk at the top of her weed charred lungs. I'd kill her but I remember how much I hate prison life.

Wei Caifeng_2's picture
Wei Caifeng_2 June 26, 2016 - 7:39pm

Adam Bond, you can't describe people saying things like "I could care less..." or misuse of the word literally as fluid and evolving language. It's lazy and thoughtless. Litterally has now been given an extra meaning, being "used for emphasis while not being literally true." So we can now legitimately use the word literally incorrectly. Since so many people used literally when they really mean figuretively, it seems it was decided that misuse of the word literally was common enough that it warrented a new definition. Language is fluid, but when it stems from getting word usage completely wrong, and it then catching on because of a sheep mentality, it means it's being changed to accomidate people's ignorance, and in some people's cases, willful ignorance. I really dislike when people are rude about grammar, namely people who will insult others for bad grammar or spelling, or even dismiss someone's point for grammatical and spelling errors. For all they know the person may have learning difficulties or are not a native speaker of the language, and being bad at these things doesn't make someone stupid anyway. But people who misuse the word literally, say "I could care less..." and use all of the pathetic slang in this article don't tend to be stupid people, at least no genuinely. They're lazy, pretentious and often snobby themselves. Who would use a term like "cool beans" without being completely self conscious about how they're coming across? People who pose as nerds. And we know that changes have been made to the language already, but why people make endless attempts at further muddling english is beyond me. 

OutsideTheCity's picture
OutsideTheCity September 3, 2016 - 1:43pm

"Selfie" is one I despise. People have been taking self-photos ever since photography was a thing, but "selfie" is just another one of those godawful social media phrases that took off in popularity for no apparent reason.

Adding a # to the beginning of words when not using social media, such as a billboard reading "Make the most out of your #summer" or a t-shirt that says "#fun" on it - aren't words good enough without sticking a pound sign to one end?

The phrase "up your butt" - it's not funny, it's just crass, immature and disgusting. So is the phrase "butthurt"

"take a chill pill" gets on my nerves, it's something twelve-year-olds say. Same with "chillax"

Sticking the word "smart" over everything as a form of advertising - "smartphone", "smartcar", "smarthome", "smartboard" - dumbwords.

Using the phrase "po-po" for the police. At least "cops" and "pigs" are real words and not gibberish shorthand.

The word "retarded", such as, "You watch Law & Order? That's so retarded?" or "Look at him dancing,he looks retarded". That word is so out-of-date, not to mention offensive, and needs to go.

"Bootylicious" just creeps me out like nothing else. O_O

Alan Jenkins's picture
Alan Jenkins April 5, 2017 - 4:42am

Bloody hell, this post could encourage me to go on and on for hours about all the vile abysses into which the English language has plunged in my lifetime!

At the moment, I could cheerfully throttle all the people - the hundreds or even thousands of people - who have adopted the ridiculous verbal tic of adding the word "So" to the beginning of every answer they give to every question, when in every case it is entirely un-necessary!

I first noticed it amongst academics and "professionals" when interviewed on radio or television about their specialism:

"Professor Wimblepants, tell us what you did to extrude the graphene in useable form."

"So the carbon is contained in a vacuum cylinder with an opening only three microns wide..."

No! "The carbon is contained in a vacuum cylinder with an opening only three micrtons wide" is sufficient! Adding "so" to the beginning of a sentence adds nothing to its meaning.

"Dr Loveknott, why were you experimenting with ECT as a treatment for OCD?"

"So the figures demonstrate that an increased level of stability is prolonged by burning out the cerebral cortex...."

No! "The figures demonstrate that an increased level of stability is prolonged by burning out the cerebral cortex...." says all you need to say. The word "so" serves not to emphasise, but merely to annoy people who can speak English properly, and don't slavishly copy the academic morons whose grasp of their subject is only equalled by the paucity of their language skills.

No! Stop it! All of you, stop it, right now! The word "so" is a conjunction, either explicit or implicit. Most of the time it can only be used in the middle of a sentence - "The ball had been deflated, so I used a pump to fill it with air" - and even when used at the beginning of a sentence can only be done as a response to a statement, not a question - "Your car is parked over my driveway." "So what are you going to do about it?"

Stop using it unthinkingly at the beginning of everything you say! Stop using it at all! Just... stop!

Then there are the English English speakers who unthinkingly copy American English idioms which are either simply incorrect, or which are not only incorrect but actually make no sense, even to Americans, when they really think about it.

In the first category - leaving out of sentences the word "it", when the verb they are using is transitive, just because they've heard an American do it in some crappy tv programme which has staggered across the Big Pond: as in, "I like when a plan comes together" (incorrect and current) "I hate that my dog died of cancer" (incorrect and current), rather than "I hate it that my dog died of cancer", or "I love it when a plan comes together."

Usinf the verb "To get" when they mean "to have" - as in "Can I get a coffee?" when they mean "Can I have a coffee?"

Who the hell ever used that for the first time and didn't think, "I am beginning to sound like Joey in Central Perk in 'Friends'?"

In the second category - "I could care less" (American and completely nonsensical) instead of the correct expression "I couldn't care less" when both phrases are intended to convey the sense that the person saying it could not find it in themselves to care even the tiniest bit of one jot about a given subject or occurrence.

I like to hear Americans speaking American English. I hate it when I hear English people speaking American English, in a pale and unthinking imitation of our transatlantic friends. Y'all.

Finally, a personal moan - for the sake of mere politeness, when speaking about places in our country, would you Americans please learn to use local phraseology, especially in TV programmes being broadcast from or located in our country? Just because you always refer to the place where you live as being town or city, then state - Lubbock, Texas; Seattle, Washington; Charlotte, North Carolina - please don't assume we do that over here in quaint little old England. We don't. I was born in London. That's "London", not "London, England". I live in Colchester, not "Colchester, England". My mother is from South Kirkby, not "South Kirkby, England". If there has to be an identifier for the sake of clarity, we would do that by county, not by country - it would be "South Kirkby, West Yorkshire" or "Colchester, Essex" - but we don't do that to our big cities - they are London, Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle - because they are the equivalent of counties in their own right.

Thank you!

Keep up the grammar pedantry - you have friends and allies over on this side of the Atlantic as well!

kevinvmiller1964's picture
kevinvmiller1964 June 22, 2018 - 5:00pm

I would like to add one that irks me endlessly:Oh,Noes! I usually see it on my computer when a game doesn't go through. It's so childish with its BAD English I can't stand it! So,Game Site,you can't bring up my game,then just say,"Sorry,we can't complete your request,or at least,Oh,No.Singular! I've seen Oh Noes in other places too,but I can't remember where.Regardless,it's Stupid and Bad English and I hate it!


Cropduster's picture
Cropduster from New Jersey is reading Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life December 21, 2018 - 1:45am

Coming from a generation that proudly spawned great, practical and dare I say real terms like : douchebag, I would add the only way to curtail use of idiotic words is to immediately bitch slap the offender. It's strongly encouraged to begin practicing with your strong hand but do not overlook the very real possibility of needing your weak hand . Be prepared for douchebags using terms like: preggers, Bimmer(BMW), prolly,