"Toot chuckle lil' kidnap Snooki"

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Tominda Atkins, "Words we hate. Discuss.", 2/22/2011:

We all have them, and we can't explain why. Words that just sound like nails on a chalkboard to our unique little snowflake ears. Here are mine. What are yours?

toot
chuckle
lil'
kidnap
Snooki

There are probably more, but when I hear or read those words, I feel more than just a strong dislike; it's revulsion. The last one makes sense, I guess, but I have no explanation for the rest. These words actually make me physically uncomfortable, or angry, or both, and I can't help it. Just typing them up there was difficult for me. Why is that? I have no idea, but I hope you don't use them against me. If you do, I will put you in the same camp reserved for those who think it's a cute idea to tickle me.

I don't have an explanation either, but for more testimony and discussion, see

"Ask Language Log: The moist panties phenomenon", 8/20/2007
"Don't say 'tin' to Rebecca, you know how it upsets her", 8/20/2007
"Morning mailbag", 9/10/2007
"The long moist tail", 10/6/2007
"From cringe to offense", 10,26,2007
"The 'moist' chronicles, continued", 8/8/2009
"Moist aversion: The cartoon version", 8/27/2008
"Word Attraction", 5/13/2009
"Word aversion and attraction in the news", 5/19/2009
"Prescriptivist pain", 6/17/2009
"Word rage wins again", 7/12/2009
"Six words", 7/23/2010

Back at Tominda Atkins' blog post,  dcorsetto comments:

Oh I am so glad you started this discussion.

derring-do
rural
trifle
supple
stinky
coup d'état

Actually, re: that last one, I just really really dislike French.

And then HertOnLife veers off to express a classic case of Word Rage:

Around 1995, a word appeared in our language which makes me want to beat someone every time I hear it. That word is "guesstimate".

Did we really need a shade of grey between Guess and Estimate?

This is a somewhat different phenomenon, I think, since it seems to be an intrinsically social reaction — not a nails-on-a-chalkboard feeling about a word itself, but rather an intense irritation at the people who use certain words (or constructions or pronunciations).  Often (though not explicitly in HertOnLife's comment) the offenders are perceived as belonging stereotypically to a hated class. (See "The social psychology of linguistic naming and shaming", 2/27/2007, for discussion.)

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94 Comments »

  1. empty said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 9:03 am

    Actually, re: that last one, I just really really dislike French.

    I really dislike the word "re" when it's spelled with a colon but is not heading a message.

  2. Rodger C said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 9:08 am

    Maybe dcorsetto wants you to pronounce it "reeehhh."

  3. Theophylact said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 9:42 am

    Reaction to the unpleasant meaning or connotation or social status of a word is one thing; but could there be a subset of the population for which the mere sight or sound of a word is physically unpleasant (synesthesia, perhaps)?

    [(myl) Apparently the answer is "yes", as discussed at length in the linked posts.]

  4. Faldone said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 9:45 am

    Just more evidence supporting my contention that peeves do not make good pets. There should be a support group for people who want to free themselves from their tyrannical peeves.

  5. Carol Saller said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 9:46 am

    "Thick slice." Eeeuw.

  6. Juniper said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 9:46 am

    "ickle"
    "purty"

  7. TheRealThunderMonkey said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 9:47 am

    I don't have any words that I detest, however, my coworker loathes "picturesque" due to the fact that a former co-worker of ours used it rather abundantly.

  8. Sili said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 9:56 am

    I'm sad to see the dcorsetto is indeed Corsetto of Girls With Slingshots. I hate it when I have to separate the art from the artist.

    Interesting the "moist" didn't show up on top.

    By the way, isn't it "li'l" rather than "lil'"?

  9. Jonathan Mayhew said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 10:02 am

    I might not like "thusly," but what I don't quite understand is why I feel actual anger and disgust when I see it. I should be able to able view it with equanimity and gently suggest "thus" as a better alternative. But no…

    [(myl) "Le cœur a ses raisons, que la raison ne connaît point."]

  10. Gene Chambers said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 10:22 am

    For some reason the words 'gross' and 'burger' sound repulsive to me. In the Gene Wilder/Richard Pryor movie 'Stir Crazy' there was a mass-murderer named 'Grossberger' who was made even more monstrous by having that name — "Yeeech!"

  11. Ben C said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 10:26 am

    -moist, of course
    -glisten
    -dogwhistle phrases like "death tax", "entitlement programs", etc, including ones that are considered common and normal ("pro-choice", "pro-life")
    -ginormous
    -"to add value"

  12. Dennis Paul Himes said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 10:52 am

    The Latin word "pulcher", maybe because although it means "beautiful" it is, to me, an exceedingly ugly word.

  13. Eric P Smith said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 10:57 am

    There is only one word that I find physically unpleasant, and only in one context. The 1975 Methodist Service Book contained for the first time the words "Though we are many, we are one body because we all share in the one loaf." Revulsion at the word "loaf" in that context went some way towards spoiling the service for me. I cannot have been alone, for in the 1999 Worship Book it is changed to "because we all share in the one bread."

  14. Dan Milton said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 10:59 am

    Did the Romans feel the same way as Mr. Himes? "Pulcher" has no descendants in any of the Romance languages (except learned terms no more popular than the English "pulchritude).

  15. Mr Fnortner said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 11:07 am

    This sounds like one of those Mensa-type quizzes: "Tominda dislikes toot and chuckle, but likes cute and tickle. Does she also like knickknack and pookie?"

  16. mommy~dearest said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 11:13 am

    Ugh…. that would be "creamy".

  17. IMarvinTPA said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 11:29 am

    I dislike the was in "If I was" when it should be "If I were" and the other variants of it.
    I also get annoyed at hearing "so-and-so and I" when it should be "so-and-so and me" as in "They were coming to visit Joe and me." If you could use "us", you may use "[list] and me". If you could use "we", you may use "[list] and I".

    For specific words, I am not fond of "might" when used as "may".
    I just can't remember other ear-ache words at the moment.

    IMarv

  18. Amy Stoller said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 11:29 am

    I have always felt some bemusement at the idea of pulcher meaning beauty. Not a nails-on-the-blackboard thing, just a stop-and-notice every time I come across it. I'm slightly less bothered by pulchritude. No idea why I feel any of this, unless it's because words with a k in them are funny.

    @Faldone: I think I may have to save your remark and quote it liberally for the rest of my life!

  19. Jerome Chiu said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 11:41 am

    MPFC – Woody and Tinny Words
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gwXJsWHupg

    French seems to have quite a lot of woody words, I say. "Le cOEUr a ses rAIson, que la rAIson ne connait pOINt", for example. Or "PascAAAAAAl".

  20. Leslie said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 11:44 am

    I also strongly dislike lil

    Also:
    Ima
    shyt
    sumthin

  21. Jerome Chiu said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 11:45 am

    Ooops, obviously I didn't pay attention to MBL's links before I post. Mea culpa. BTW, "mea culpa", nice woody kind of words, innit? mEEEEEa culPA

  22. Nathan said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 11:56 am

    I was really really surprised to see myl leave the comments open on a word aversion post.

  23. Ellis said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 11:59 am

    Following my mother's example, I use 'moist' as an insult.
    'Crevice' is a foul word, tho' 'crevasse' doesn't bother me.
    My eye shies over 'moreover' in writing as it would over a spider. Pure visceral dislike. The spoken word doesn't bother me, however.
    On a related subject, I have an equally visceral reaction to name use: I try never to call anybody by name if it's in any way avoidable, and squirm when someone calls me by name. Don't know why, but find it most unpleasant.

  24. Robert Coren said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 12:02 pm

    @Leslie:

    I also strongly dislike lil

    Even if everyone knows her as Nancy?

  25. Rodger C said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 12:29 pm

    A novelist of my acquaintance doesn't like his blog called a "blog"; he calls the word "the ugliest neologism since 'brunch.'"

  26. Fear and Loathing in Lexical Vegas « The Coming of the Toads said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 12:32 pm

    [...] at Language Log we find a discussion on “words we hate.” I can’t tell if discuss is one or not. But some [...]

  27. Chris Waters said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 12:33 pm

    For the most part, I love words. The few that I hate mainly fall into the category of business jargon—words like "incentivize" (which my spell checker refuses to recognize, whether I spell it US style "ize" or UK style "ise"). "Paradigm" is on the edge, but I don't hate the word; I hate the way it's (ab)used.

    There are phrases galore that I hate, but for the most part, I love words.

  28. Bob Lieblich said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 12:41 pm

    Some pronunciations that set my teeth to grinding

    infastructure

    elecTORal

    aPLICable (and what does "plick" make YOU think of?)

    tempachurr

    coeVERT (although that's such a lost cause that most people don't know what the problem is)

    Aside from shouting "inFFFrastructure" and the like at the car radio (when nobody's in the car with me), I suffer in silence.

  29. Lisa Weiss said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 12:58 pm

    damp panties
    chunk
    discharge
    totes
    chillax
    fluid
    raw nerve

    eeeeeewwwwwwwwwww

  30. Shoe said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 1:37 pm

    Gobsmacked is a word that sets my teeth on edge.

  31. Charles Gaulke said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 1:43 pm

    I have no real word aversions myself (actually, half the words other people commonly find aversive make my mouth water). In my work, though, I do have to use the word "crevice" quite frequently, and I've noticed that a fair number of people wrinkle their noses at it a little. What's particularly odd to me, though, is that I now find myself wincing a little in sympathy – even when the person I'm talking to doesn't. It still doesn't bother me, I just catch myself making a face.

    I think word aversion is a lot like allergies – real, but once you get people started talking about it, there will be those who want to have the most for some reason.

  32. Faldone said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 1:54 pm

    @IMarvinTPA: "May" is potentially ambiguous between possibility and permission. "Might" clears up this ambiguity.

    @Amy Stoller: Feel free. You don't even need to credit me. Any of my remarks about the unsuitability of peeves as pets are in the public domain. I encourage free distribution of them.

  33. J Lee said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 2:16 pm

    foible

    game over

  34. Jerry Friedman said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 2:17 pm

    @Faldone: I've a peever myself and I've known a lot of others, but Jonathan Mayhew is the first I've ever seen who I could even imagine wanting to join that support group.

    @the person who posted at 11:59: An aversion to names is new to me (and onomatophobia apparently means a fear of certain words, which is appropriate to this thread, not a fear of names), though I must admit I can get tired of repeated vocatives, especially dude.

    Speaking of long lists of obscure phobia names, obscure collective nouns for animals have started to annoy me, not in the teeth-on-edge way but as pointless showing off. So I can say I dislike very few words, but bew and nye (not the surname) might be on the list.

    @Bob Lieblich: I join your pronunciation peeves (except covert) and I could add a few, though some of my own pronunciation swould "tairize" some people. But you mean "InfRRRastructure", right?

  35. Jimbino said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 2:17 pm

    absolutely

  36. Hermann Burchard said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 2:21 pm

    @Eric P Smith: Understandable your revulsion at the word "loaf" in that context, but sad at the same time, loaf is from ancient IE root, meaning bread , so that "loaf of bread" is reduplicated bread. German Laib, Russian хлеба, which Kluge says is borrowed.

    @Amy Stoller: Agreed on the Faldone quip.

    About pulcher, beautiful, etymology would help but unknown?

  37. Spell Me Jeff said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 2:31 pm

    Boy, has this thread devolved from myl's intention.

    . . . it seems to be an intrinsically social reaction

  38. Tom said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 2:42 pm

    Paradiddle sets my teeth on edge but I have nothing against drummers.

  39. Chandra said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 2:45 pm

    I also have a mild aversion to calling people by their first name (although it doesn't bother me at all when people use mine). For me, it just seems overly intimate somehow. Interestingly, I found out that this is a culturally ingrained phenomenon in Nepal; my friends there told me that it's considered unlucky to refer to somebody (even a close relative or friend) by name, which is why everybody uses family-relation terms (auntie, big sister, little brother, etc.) instead.

  40. MattF said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 2:56 pm

    enthuse

  41. Faldone said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 3:01 pm

    @Peeve owners: The first step is admitting you have a problem.

  42. Hermann Burchard said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 3:26 pm

    @Spell me Jeff, "this thread devolved from myl's intention.. it seems to be an intrinsically social reaction:"

    A related explanation seems to be Freudian, found at the LL link FROM CRINGE TO OFFENSE:
    http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/005057.html

    Not sure how to reconcile Freud with "intrinsically social reaction," but societal circumstances often were traumatic for Freud's patients.

  43. Ellis said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 3:37 pm

    @Jerry Friedman
    I don't have an aversion to names in themselves; I have an aversion to their vocative use. Indeed, I rather dislike using any voactives in English. No real problem with them in any other languages I speak, tho', and I love the Roman vocative forms of personal names.

  44. Spell Me Jeff said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 3:46 pm

    @Hermann Burchard

    Not sure how I feel about "Freudian," but the social development of the "moist" aversion is interesting. Almost like, "I'm sure glad I was told that 'moist' is offensive to women; otherwise, I might fail to be offended, and that would be unbearable." I suspect the history of many offensive words tracks like that.

    When I first read myl's post, I did not expect a list of peeves to appear at all, since the examples cited seemed to say more about the peeved than about the usage that did the peeving. Saying that one dislikes the sound of all French words is a bit of harmless hyperbole, I suppose. But imagine someone writing that she had an aversion to the sound of Ebonics. I have no doubt (unfortunately) that some people really have such an aversion. But admitting to it in a forum such as this — naturally, no one has done so.

  45. Risma said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 3:49 pm

    Question to the people with visceral reactions (leaving aside, for the moment, those reactions that are due to questionable usage): I'm curious to know if there's any part of the meaning of the word that's causing the reaction. Is "abduct" as bad as "kidnap"? Does "country" elicit any part of the same feeling as "rural"? If you had to speak of "fluid", what do you do?

  46. IMarvinTPA said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 3:56 pm

    Another I just remembered.
    Pleaded as in "She Pleaded Guilty" as opposed to "pled". The "ed" form sounds wrong to me.

    Both apparently are valid: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pled

    IMarv

  47. Nathan Myers said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 4:03 pm

    I don't have any word aversions. Despite that, I can understand what would be disliked in at least half of the words noted, and can identify words that others will find easy to hate. ("Aversion", for example, and "abrupt".) With only a little encouragement, one might develop aversions to a huge swaths of the lexicon, amplified by madness-of-crowds echo-chamber effects.

    I wonder if fads in this area have led to abrupt language evolution. Can the Great Vowel Shift be laid at its door?

  48. Diane said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 4:21 pm

    I hate words like "terror" and "aurora" and "rural." This is due entirely to the fact that I couldn't say the letter R as a child. I eventually invented my own way of shaping my mouth so it makes an R-like sound which suffices for most words (no thanks to my awful speech therapists who succeeded only in giving me a complex about my speech), but words like the ones above are physically difficult to pronounce and don't come out right anyway.

    They actually make me angry, in a Why-In-The-Name-Of-All-That-Is-Good-And-Decent-Does-Such-An-Unpronounceable-Monstrosity-Need-to-Exist? kinda way.

    Maths, too, I consider unnecessarily unpronounceable but since I live in the US I rarely have to hear and never have to say that word.

    Must go calm down now.

  49. Rubrick said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 5:14 pm

    I have a strong dislike for "brainchild" and especially "pick your brain", but there's no question as to why: I'm unable to divorce the sense of brain as "locus of ideas" from "slimy mass of tissue". "Brainchild" sounds like some sort of horror film monstrosity, and I'd prefer to only have my brain picked at by a qualified neurosurgeon, and then only in dire need.

  50. zaphodora beeblebrox said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 5:40 pm

    –pluck
    –sniffle
    –gratuitous
    –realistic
    –tour-de-force (not because I hate french, it's just so overused)
    –fundamentalist

  51. The Ridger said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 6:00 pm

    I think it's fascinating how quickly a discussion of words people hate simply and purely for their sound turns into a list of grammar/syntax/pronunciation/dialect peeves.

  52. Jeff said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 6:00 pm

    Pampered. Can't stand the word. I don't know why.

  53. Carl Burke said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 7:38 pm

    @Shoe: I'm glad I read the comments before I posted how utterly stunned I am that people have an aversion to specific words. Your word was the one I was going to use.

    @Robert Coren: Bless you for that gratuitous use of Firesign.

  54. Atmir Ilias said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 7:44 pm

    It’s true that the "Pulcher" has no descendants in any of the Romance languages, but in Albanian is the only term for:
    1. Adjective
    i bukur(=beautiful) m , feminine /e bukura/, plural /të bukur/
    2. Noun
    Bukuri(=beauty) m,femmine /bukuria/, plural /bukuritë/
    3. Adverb
    Bukur(=beautifully).
    My guess is that: b>p, u>ë, and the rotation of “r”.

  55. Robert Coren said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 7:49 pm

    @Carl Burke: Happy to oblige, but it's not Firesign, it's the Beatles.

  56. m.m. said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 8:29 pm

    The Ridger said,
    I think it's fascinating how quickly a discussion of words people hate simply and purely for their sound turns into a list of grammar/syntax/pronunciation/dialect peeves.

    Obviously, when everyone in the thread hates the same thing, that proves it's a rule. Think of poor english! It's being mangled and corrupted!

  57. the voz said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 8:59 pm

    Twitterpated may make a real comeback as a word meaning "upsetting".

  58. empty said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 9:43 pm

    Get those peeves spayed or neutered, people.

  59. John Cowan said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 10:25 pm

    "Blawg".

    Also the idiom "to eat your own dogfood". Any actual dogfood manufacturer who made its employees do such a thing would be speedily go out of business.,

  60. Otto Krumholz said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 10:45 pm

    Chockablock.

    For my mother, it was "clabber". This made it difficult for her to deal with a popular product called Clabber Girl Baking Powder. She had a cousin who was similarly affected by "bosom".

  61. MK said,

    February 23, 2011 @ 11:59 pm

    1) Using "data" as singular. It's wrong.

    2) Using "data" as plural. It's pretentious.

  62. Aviva said,

    February 24, 2011 @ 12:28 am

    Management-speak drives me nuts!
    Examples:
    "We've got a lot coming down the pipeline"
    "I'll flip you this e-mail. Can you FLIP that back to me?" (instead of SEND, ugh!!!)
    Value-added
    Synergy
    Team player
    "Are we all squared away?"
    Skill sets
    Bring to the table

    Also, the incorrect use of "awkward" is quite annoying! My brother is in his early 20's and uses it to describe everything!!!

    Others:
    Bodily fluids
    Vessel
    Mucus
    Puberty (I also think it's ridiculous when people pronounce it "POO-")
    Drop dead gorgeous
    Delicious (I can never bring myself to use this word!)
    To "massage" an idea… blech!

  63. Aaron Toivo said,

    February 24, 2011 @ 3:02 am

    Gratuitous French.

    My aversion is nothing to do with France or its people, nor normal loanwords, nor with the language as a language, but rather with the gratuitous use of French ("tour-de-force") and French-ified ("creme") words by anglophones to make themselves or their buildings or their restaurant menus sound posher than necessary. I suspect this may be the case for others who complain about French.

  64. Robert said,

    February 24, 2011 @ 4:29 am

    "Chillax" really made me squirm the first time I heard it. But I've kind of grown to like it now.

  65. Jill said,

    February 24, 2011 @ 8:27 am

    Firstly, Secondly, Lastly, etc. GRRR!!

    It's First, Second, Last, etc.

  66. Rodger C said,

    February 24, 2011 @ 8:35 am

    @IMarvinTPA: "Pled" is the one that annoys me, since "plead" is a French-derived verb. But whenever I see or hear "slayed a dragon," I always want to yell "SLEW, SLEW, SLEW!!!"–thereby bolstering my reputation as a flaky English professor. If people are going to use obsolete verbs, why can't they get the tenses right?

    @Aaron Toivo: I think the FDA restricts "cream" legally to that stuff that comes to the top of milk. Everything else has to be "creme."

    And since we've invoked Firesign: "They came from places with names like Smegma! Spasmodic! And the far-flung Isles of Langerhans!"

    Anyhow, all these language peevers are just aidin an abettin the terraced!

  67. DEP said,

    February 24, 2011 @ 8:45 am

    "Wholly"

    After 55 years I still have to pause and figure out this word when I run across it.

  68. pj said,

    February 24, 2011 @ 9:00 am

    @Rubrick,
    You're not the only one to find the image of a 'brainchild' disturbing:

    "Brainchild" is an odd word. You hear it a lot in explanatory voiceovers and I suppose I was trying to join in, but I don't really like it. I'm not keen on the idea that my brain could have a child. Would it be made of brain – a child, made of grey brain, like a squelchy zombie? As metaphors for inspiration go, I prefer the lightbulb.

    Bad, dangerous or evil concepts are never called brainchildren. Our imagined ideas playground doesn't contain bullies or failures. Nasty little scrotes like Eugenics and Nuclear Weapons aren't allowed free rein to give sensitive Sliced Bread a wedgie or steal runny-nosed Roll‑on Roll-off Ferries's lunch money. And severely disabled brainchildren, like Aromatherapy and The Amstrad Emailer, are never let out to play or laugh like a healthy little brainboy or girl.

    Calling the product of an organ its "child" is a massive load of steaming bowelchildren. It relegates an actual child to a "wombchild". And how should I think of my urine and semen? Are they respectively bladder and testicle children, or non-identical penis twins? Anyway inventions don't spring from the brain fully formed. Just ask Trevor Baylis – it also takes a lot of artery, dermis and eye children.

    From a column by David Mitchell a couple of months ago, here.

  69. Risla said,

    February 24, 2011 @ 10:31 am

    I loathe "healthful" and "wacky." Especially "healthful," which is a word deserving of nothing but the utmost spite.

  70. Ellie said,

    February 24, 2011 @ 11:01 am

    "Whimsy," especially when the speaker really puts wind behind the "wh."

  71. C. Jason said,

    February 24, 2011 @ 12:38 pm

    "Tummy"

  72. Faldone said,

    February 24, 2011 @ 1:44 pm

    Aaron Toivo: … but rather with the gratuitous use of French ("tour-de-force") and French-ified ("creme") words by anglophones to make themselves or their buildings or their restaurant menus sound posher than necessary.

    But there's just a certain je ne sais quoi when you say something in French that's just I don't know what when you say it in English.

  73. The Ridger said,

    February 24, 2011 @ 3:19 pm

    @ Rodger C: If people are going to use obsolete verbs, why can't they get the tenses right? Only obsolete verbs? Or do you also hold out for "crew, holp, shew" and the like?

  74. Rodger C said,

    February 24, 2011 @ 4:31 pm

    @The Rider: I grew up in WV hearing "holp" on occasion but have never used any of these. "Slew," however, was familiar to me from the KJV. I just feel that if people are going to use "slay" instead of "kill," presumably in order to foster a certain arch. & poet. tone, making it a weak verb sort of gives away their game. Nowadays, of course, even most of my Christian students have never opened a KJV, I dare say.

  75. Rodger C said,

    February 24, 2011 @ 4:31 pm

    *Ridger

  76. Rodger C said,

    February 24, 2011 @ 4:33 pm

    @Faldone: "Always speak French when you can't think of the English"–the Red Queen.

  77. Dahlink said,

    February 24, 2011 @ 4:37 pm

    Most of these words don't bother me at all (why hate moist?)

    One word that makes me grit my teeth is "beverage," as in "Would you like a beverage with that?" What's wrong with "Would you like a drink?" "Why, yes, thank you!"

  78. Rodger C said,

    February 24, 2011 @ 5:03 pm

    @Dahlink: I think "drink" suggests alcohol to many people.

  79. M said,

    February 24, 2011 @ 5:52 pm

    I have the same reaction Dennis Paul Himes et al. to pulcher, but I have something similar toward fecund, which sounds to me a rather fetid word. I think the similarity in sound between the two is part of it, possibly also influenced by "fecal".

  80. Adrian Bailey (UK) said,

    February 24, 2011 @ 7:05 pm

    What was that about "woody" vowels upthread? Have I missed something?

    @Rodger: afaiac "beverage" has the same problem as "drink" in possibly suggesting an alcoholic beverage/drink.

  81. Gypsy said,

    February 24, 2011 @ 8:12 pm

    "Fanny." My Grandma Helen always used that one. I could hardly bear the sight of our Fanny Farmer Cookbook in the kitchen.

  82. LassLisa said,

    February 24, 2011 @ 8:39 pm

    Fecund, pulchritude – pulchritude to this day sounds to me like something that you'd want in a good private eye or detective. But I can't say that I have an aversion to them; just that my brain refuses to believe they mean what they mean.

    But on the 'drink/beverage' front – "I bought him a drink" or "let's go get a drink" implies 'alcohol', "beverage" doesn't imply anything either way to me. (neither does 'something to drink' as in the typical waiter line I hear, "Would you care for something to drink?")

  83. Tominda said,

    February 25, 2011 @ 1:50 am

    It is I, Tominda! @Mr F: 'Knickknack' is fine in my book, as is 'pookie'. I actually had a favorite stuffed raccoon named Pookie years ago, and he may have saved that word for me. 'Toot', however, is frequently used by my mother, and has been since I can remember . . . and it's always just killed me. She also likes to add an 'ie' to the end sometime, creating a word I hate so much that I cannot even type it here.

    Aren't words WEIRD? Thank you for the links. I'm stuck on a Greyhound at present and will shortly devour them.

  84. maidhc said,

    February 25, 2011 @ 3:48 am

    "Thusly" never fails to give me a mental picture of W.C.Fields pushing up his nose to produce a nasal pronunciation of the word, hence for me it has only positive connotations.

  85. Rodger C said,

    February 25, 2011 @ 8:13 am

    @Adrian: Maybe there's a transatlantic difference here. I think "beverage" was popularized by the food industry to avoid the alcoholic connotations of "drink," but as often happens with euphemisms, that meaning may be creeping into it.

  86. empty said,

    February 25, 2011 @ 10:26 am

    @Adrian Bailey: "woody" is a Python reference.

  87. Nijma said,

    February 25, 2011 @ 11:04 am

    @Eric P Smith, The 1975 Methodist Service Book contained for the first time the words "Though we are many, we are one body because we all share in the one loaf."

    It still contains the words "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the lord." which our entire congregation renders enthusiastically and in unison as "Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord." Apparently it's a group aversion to non gender neutral terms.

  88. Rod Johnson said,

    February 25, 2011 @ 2:11 pm

    What puzzles me–not to be too meta about this–is why anyone imagines other people should be interested in their personal irritations. I'm not saying this to troll–I have my own peeves. But reading through this thread, it was interesting how quickly my eyes glazed over. So you don't like the word "globular," or "shoetree"? How… not-interesting. I compare this with the case of "moist," where what's interesting is how widespread the dislike is, not the fact that Random Internet Person dislikes it.

    @Diane: ever see the episode of 30 Rock where they have a Baba Wawa-type person interviewing someone about her new movie "The Rural Juror"? It's amusing how many of that sort of word they were able to work in.

  89. Owen said,

    February 26, 2011 @ 2:12 pm

    "Incent" is as bad as you can get, and "incentivize" is almost as bad. "I.e.," when spoken is also very irritating.

  90. Jenny said,

    February 26, 2011 @ 11:32 pm

    I hate "gainsay." My husband gets very upset when he hears "hunker."

  91. Glennis said,

    February 27, 2011 @ 6:04 am

    thrilled

    Stupid, ugly, silly word. "Little Johnny was thrilled to bits with his birthday present." Just awful.

  92. Skaught said,

    March 3, 2011 @ 11:45 am

    @Ellis – How interesting. I find I have a similar aversion to using names. I've worried that it makes me seem standoffish (I predict someone has a peeve for that word), and could even be career damaging. Apparently most people prefer "Good morning, John!" to the non-specific "Good morning!" Anyway, this comment has zip to do with the article, but there are three of us in here now; maybe there'll be a future article on name aversion.

  93. Emily said,

    March 4, 2011 @ 12:58 am

    My aversive words include "exude", "scrounge", "pulchritude", and "stimulate" (and its derivatives).

    Not a word per se, but it also annoys me when people use extra plural morphemes (is there a technical word for this?) to be cutesy, as in "catses" and "dogses".

  94. Linda said,

    May 26, 2011 @ 12:20 pm

    I dislike "thrill," when used as a certain kind of verb.

    Example: "In the 1960's, the public thrilled to the idea of space exploration."

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