A couple of years ago I did a blog post on my five least favorite words. Since then, the list has grown with a few more words I wish I could banish from the English language. Below are five more words who when spoken or read really grinds my gears.
Pop: I’m not so much against the word itself rather the phrase “Makes it pop”. I watch way too much HGTV where the phrase “Makes it pop” is uttered at least half a dozen times in any given program. I also hear this phrase outside of HGTV in reference to anything that makes something else standout.
While it’s a great, easy word to describe something which is more noticeable, I’d like to see different words and phrases mixed in. For example, how about using stands out, contrast, or noticeable?
Tremendous: Since the 2016 Presidential election, this word has lost meaning for me. Instead of tremendous let’s use marvelous, wonderful, great, incredible, fantastic, magnificent, any number of synonyms for this word. Let’s go back to using this word sparingly so that when we do hear it or see it, we don’t roll our eyes or make fun of its usage.
Misogyny: First, let’s have the actual definition. Pretty straight forward and simple, yet I see this word misused all the time. It seems many people believe something or someone is misogynist if at any time anything bad happens to a woman. As a writer, I see this word overly used to describe an author, always a male author, as being a misogynist simply because a female or females endures trauma. Never mind that a work of fiction is not a reflection of how the author thinks or feels as a human. However, I have yet to see a female writer be labeled a misogynist if female characters in her story suffer rape or abuse. In that case the female writer is probably lauded as bringing the experience of female suffering to the masses.
In looking at the definition of misogyny we see no gender distinction. See, I don’t believe misogyny is exclusive to only men. There are women out there who despise their own gender and act with prejudice against other females. Would this not make them misogynists?
Curiously I do not see the male equivalent of this word, misandry, used. Certainly, there are females who harbor a hatred, dislike, or mistrust of men or who harbor prejudice against men. Do we not have books, movies, and TV shows where women inflict abuse upon men simply because they are a man? Do we not see how it is social acceptable for a group of women to rip on men? But if a group of men did the same thing, used the same language in the same tone of voice, we’d scream “Misogyny!”
The overuse and misuse of this word revels a double-standard in society and why we need to think before using it.
Terrorism/Terrorist: Two more words which, in my opinion, are overused and used incorrectly. Here are the definitions of terrorism and terrorist. Ever since 9/11, terrorism and terrorist have been overused and more troubling, misused. We have seen these words used in a bias manner to create a dangerous “us vs. them” narrative. After all, what is the difference between someone who identifies as a white supremacist and who attacks parishioners of a black church and the 9/11 attackers? Both committed crimes meant to scare and intimidate people based upon intense hate.
Not only do these words show bias, they are way overused. People have been committing acts of terrorism for thousands of years. History is littered with revolutionaries who, yes, committed what could be considered terrorist acts against numerous governments. Groups of people have killed and intimated others simply for being different. Is this not terrorism? After all it is a deliberate, calculated attempt at scaring others. Yet humans have rarely uttered the words terrorist or terrorism until the 21st century.
There you have it, a few more words I can’t stand. As you can tell the theme of why they bug me so much is either incorrect use or being repeated so much they become white noise. To me this shows a lack of creativity or ability to use a thesaurus. It also changes the impact of those words. Some are meant to illicit anger and outrage to push a hate-filled agenda. Others lose their impact by becoming white noise. Words hold so much power, let’s be smarter about how we use them.