The Guardian recently reported on words most hated by a selection of English poets. These included redacted, pulchritude, and appall.
My wife’s least favorite word is moist. It literally grosses her out to say the word in her presence.
Words that make me wince include:
Got: I just can’t find a way of using this word without sounding guttural and stupid. The words have or received are almost always suitable replacements.
Shortened words: It annoys me to hear someone use the word delish in place of delicious. Finish the word! It’s only one more syllable! I also do not like the avoidance of profanity through abbreviation (a-hole being the word that makes me cringe the most, but there are many, many others). Either swear or don’t. Abbreviating it only causes the reader or listener to mentally reference the actual word, thereby defeating the purpose of avoiding the word in the first place.
Homophobia: Webster’s defines this word as “irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals.” Not good. If you discriminate against someone based upon their race, you are a racist. If you discriminate based upon sex, you are a sexist. Neither makes any mention of fear or aversion. But if you discriminate against a homosexual, you suffer from homophobia and are a homophobe. You could possess an irrational fear or you could be acting discriminatory towards homosexuals, but there is no word to distinguish between the two. Thus the word homophobia does double duty, and in doing so, I believe it diminishes the prejudicial and discriminatory parts of its definition.
Do you have any wince-worthy words that you’d like to share?