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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.
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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