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Friday, December 21, 2012

An A-to-Z Guide to 2012's Worst Words | Jen Doll, The Atlantic Wire

We mean no offense to these words, even when we call them despicable. One woman's worst word might be another's best. Bad words are a matter of opinion, and each is entitled to his own. And sometimes by hating a word, you—strangely—grow to love it. ...
With that warning, Doll also writes:
But agree with me on this: There is no better way for a semantic-minded person to remember the year than with a list of the words we used and saw and heard, those words we'd just as soon never write or see or hear spoken again.
Her first word is one I use too often:
Actually. Adverb, mostly. When Sarah Miller declared war on literally over at The Awl, I argued that actually was worse, the "talk to the hand of the adverb community," or "the word that you use when you're actually saying, 'You are wrong, and I am right, and you are at least a little bit of an idiot.'" Actually, I still agree with that.
Doll's list includes these and other words, with comments on each:
  • Baby Bump. Horrid compound noun.
  • Curate. Verb.
  • Ecosystem. Noun
  • Epic. Adjective.
  • Fiscal Cliff. Noun.
  • Gaffe. Noun with political inclinations.
  • Hehehe. The way a serial killer chuckles. 
  • Historic, historical. Adjective.
  • INITIAL-WORDS. Usage type.
  • Legitimate rape. Adjective-noun clause.
  • Organically. Adverb.
  • Really?! Expression of incredulity.
  • Sustainable. Adjective.
Doll concludes, however:
Disclaimer: Simply because a word appears above does not mean we will cease to use it. That's just the way the word world works.
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Doll's article is featured today, Dec. 21, in my daily online paper, Garbl's Style: Write Choices--available at the Editorial Style tab above and by free email subscription.

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