Words and phrases I can’t stand

I’m in Grumpy Old Man mode today, as it’s broiling hot and I was just outside, singeing in my own fur. And there’s lots of noise outside my office because they’re not only redoing the roof, but digging up the sidewalk to replace the ceiling of an underground tunnel to the adjacent building. TONS of annoying and disruptive noise!

So, you get to hear four words or phrases that I can’t stand. I managed to find all four, used in headlines, in about two minutes, just by doing a Google search for the word and adding “Huffington Post.” For if the PuffHo does anything, it tries too hard to be cool and current—or maybe it’s because most of the editors are privileged white women, clearly not long out of school, who have decided to appeal to their readership by using the Young Folk’s Argot.

Now I know I can’t stop the progress of language, whatever that means, but I can highlight words and phrases that rankle. Here are my choices for today.

  • Epic” should be reserved for things that are related to an epic, i.e., something in the grand scale, preferably related to a poem or tale. Even the Oxford English Dictionary doesn’t sanction its current use: as “something out of the ordinary” (i.e., perhaps a notch above “amazeballs”).  Here PuffHo applies it to a fricking PIE:

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 9.25.30 AM

  • The adjectival “genius”: The OED lists its use as an adjective as “colloquial,” and I can almost tolerate that, but NOT when applied to something like how to recycle Parmesan rinds:

    Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 9.26.51 AM
  • “Throwing shade” is a phrase I can’t stand to hear. It means to publicly criticize or denigrate, although it originally referred pejoratively to the shade-thrower, not the throwee. Now, however, it simply means “criticize” or “go after.” It’s used only by those who want to show how hip they are, as here.

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 9.27.37 AM

  • “Rocking a ___”. To “rock something” means to use or wear an item in an attractive way; as far as I know, it usually refers to clothing, as in the unbearably au courant headline below.  As George Orwell pointed out in his famous essay on the English language, if you use a metaphor like this, it should convey something tangible, bringing a real image to mind. “Rock” conveys a misguided image. So when I hear of someone “rocking a dress,” I envision them cradling the dress in their arms and rocking it like a baby. When I hear the phrase, the soles of my shoes curl up.

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 9.28.56 AM

Can we use them all in one short paragraph? Of course! Here goes: “Don’t throw shade on Professor Ceiling Cat for his genius cowboy boots. They’re epic, d00d*, and he’s rocking ’em!”

 *Another disgusting word, especially when spelled with zeroes instead of “o”s. It’s invariably meant to denigrate men, and by women who would never stand to be referred to as “chicks.”

I know most of you have words or expressions that rankle you just as much. Do share them below.

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518 Comments

  1. Maria
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    I hate when people say, “I will ‘reach out’ to you” when they mean I will call (or contact) you. It creates a weird image of the person with arms stretched out. 🙂

    • Posted July 19, 2016 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      That’s exactly what I was going to write. It’s completely absurd.

    • Dave
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      That’s probably the one that irritates me most as well.

    • gayle
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

      Yes! I’m glad this was #1. This horror is even starting to be heard in New Zealand now.

    • Dominic
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 4:01 am | Permalink

      “Our hearts go out to their loved ones”…

      • Dominic
        Posted July 20, 2016 at 4:02 am | Permalink

        My heart is staying in my chest – if I have any say in the matter!

        • rickflick
          Posted July 20, 2016 at 5:12 am | Permalink

          Me too. It’d be quite a stretch.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted July 20, 2016 at 11:16 am | Permalink

        I have a gory Aztec mental image.
        Totes pyramidballs!

  2. Merilee
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Sub

  3. Robert Seidel
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    “Dragonfly” – in my opinion the most ugly mismatch between word and subject the English language has to offer.

    • Stonyground
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 1:58 am | Permalink

      Dragonfly was the name of a racehorse that featured in an episode of UK sitcom Fawlty Towers.

  4. Cate Plys
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    What about the term “Mom Body”–also used in the HuffoPo headline? It’s a term used to quickly denigrate all women who don’t measure up to current cultural body requirements due to the fact that they took the time, trouble and not inconsiderable risk to themselves to create another human being. It’s agist too of course, but mainly it’s sexist. As we all know, it’s OK to have a Dad Body. Even though Dad has no excuse for it–he didn’t spend nine months pregnant and give birth.

    • Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, that’s in there, too, and so is “LBD”, so you could consider it triply offensive.

    • ChrisB
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      I’ve never heard the term Dad Body, although I assume it means generally out of shape. Having a kid encouraged me to put more effort into fitness rather than less. I wanted to be able to do things with my kid as he grew up, rather than kick off in my forties and miss it all.

      • Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

        That’s the problem; “dad body” is not a phrase that’s in use like “mom body” is. Men don’t get assessed and categorized by their physique like women do.

      • Cate Plys
        Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

        Sorry, I should’ve said “Dad Bod”–it was a thing that was given a term and finally talked about last year, that the out-of-shape older man is actually seen as attractive.

        And good thinking to get in shape now for your kids! It’s a great extra motivator to exercise, because the purpose is to be healthy and enable you to do things, rather than achieve a body that will make strangers want to have sex with you. Which is what women are expected to do. Just saying!

        • Posted July 19, 2016 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

          Is “old and out-of-shape” actually attractive, or is it more that, in our culture, male attractiveness isn’t generally tethered to age and appearance the way female attractiveness is? Those old and out-of-shape men who come across as attractive are probably coming across as attractive for reasons other than being old and out-of-shape.

          Age and appearance being largely irrelevant for men is still an unfair inequity since men don’t have to deal with being judged on those superficial criteria in professional and/or romantic contexts.

    • bluemaas
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      This, Ms Plys, this — what you state — cannot be said enough.

      Particularly to very wee boys from their beginnings to the ends (at least) of their minor – hoods. Helping the daughters to know of this sexism has not at all been enough. In the quietened ages of childhood as much as possible and away from the media – blitzing against humans who are female, perhaps, just perhaps: the littlest boys, then, … … can know things that ought to be known.

      Saltypie !
      Blue

      • bluemaas
        Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

        — the effects of pregnancy. Ms Liz, attorney, states the effects thereof: http://goo.gl/eyWh2p which effects can only be felt or had by humans who are female ones.

        Blue

    • Christopher
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      What if the guy sporting the Dad Body wears Dad Jeans and gets a manzilian wax?

      • ChrisB
        Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

        What’s the point of a manzilian wax if you’re wearing Dad jeans?

        • Cate Plys
          Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

          See “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and you’ll drop the wax idea pretty quick.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted July 20, 2016 at 11:20 am | Permalink

        You know, I’d rather not find out what those terms mean.

    • Siggy in Costa Rica
      Posted August 1, 2016 at 8:10 am | Permalink

      Maybe my understanding of the terms is off, but I’ve found that mom bod and dad bod aren’t pejorative in most use. They in fact rarely get used in reference to people who are carrying an unhealthy weight. Rather the use I’ve seen is in reference to middle age adults with a healthy but normal body type.

  5. Posted July 19, 2016 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    ‘AWESOME.’ ‘Awesome’,’110 percent’ and ‘Two times’, apart from these I am he epitome of tolerance. (Apart from Monday mornings)

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

      Yes, the most overused word, it is nearly meaningless. It is good that I don’t “hang” with any of those people. Can’t stand that one at all. Either we hang together or we hang separately. We don’t hang, we meet or we get together.

      • Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

        Well met. This subject is unparalleled for getting the goat, such a valid source of gripe .

    • ChrisB
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      I usually use awesome in a sarcastic fashion, when something is decidedly not awesome.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

        Totes amazeballs.

        • bric
          Posted July 20, 2016 at 2:51 am | Permalink

          +1
          (and I’m not even joking)

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted July 20, 2016 at 11:21 am | Permalink

        Why doesn’t English have “aweless”?

    • Kiwi Dave
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

      Oh yes. Even though the check-out operator says ‘awesome’ during a $10 grocery sale, I suspect she is not really conveying feelings of respectful fear or wonder.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 19, 2016 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

        For LOLz, I sometimes say “awesomesauce”.

        • Wunold
          Posted July 20, 2016 at 8:38 am | Permalink

          A plural of “laughing out loud” makes no sense. When used for “lots of laughs”, LOL [i]is[/i] the plural. B)

          • Wunold
            Posted July 20, 2016 at 8:42 am | Permalink

            Oh my, I just can’t keep the right HTML tags in my mind. %)

          • Posted July 20, 2016 at 9:42 am | Permalink

            I think the accepted expansion of the acronym “lol” is “laughing out loud”.

            • Wunold
              Posted July 20, 2016 at 9:52 am | Permalink

              Wikipedia mentions both meanings. A web search for “lots of laughs” list many other sources.

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted July 20, 2016 at 11:30 am | Permalink

                For arcane and ancient computerese, I’d go to the Jargon File, since it has a reasonably well attested history into the early 1970s. LOL – laughing out loud
                The ancient grey beards also note “‘Talk mode’ has a special set of jargon words, used to save typing, which are not used orally. Some of these are identical to (and probably derived from) Morse-code jargon used by ham-radio amateurs since the 1920s.”

      • Posted July 20, 2016 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

        and check-out operators being age-patronising , I forgot that …

    • rickflick
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

      I had a boss who told me during a performance appraisal that he gave 110% on the job. I inferred he thought I gave somewhat less. I wanted to move closer to him and stick my thumb in his eye, but thought better of it and slunk back to my cubicle. I never want to hear that expression, 110%, ever again. First of all, 110% of what? and…how does one do that without abrogating the laws of physics? Or is the expression just useful put-down?

      • Posted July 19, 2016 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

        You should have said, in a subtle Cockney accent, “well, I go to 111”.

        • rickflick
          Posted July 19, 2016 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

          If that had occurred to me, it would have been much too late. The thumb in the eye was all I could come up with. The image sticks with me to this day.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted July 20, 2016 at 11:34 am | Permalink

          This line has extra force if the PHB is also a drummer.

      • Posted July 20, 2016 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

        It’s funny how some things erk one, think you have good reason there 🙂

    • Posted July 20, 2016 at 1:02 am | Permalink

      It’s especially awful (or should I say “aweful”?) when it is followed by the word “dude”, which gets it an immediate Delete from me.

  6. Posted July 19, 2016 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    “Revert”, when (mis)used to mean “reply”. I first saw this usage in the Middle East, where it spread from an apparent origin in South Asia. Now it’s become endemic to the US and Europe as well.

    • Lee
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      Along the same lines. I hate when some one says “revert back.” Either you revert or you go back. When you revert back you must be changing direction twice and now going forward.

      • W.Benson
        Posted July 19, 2016 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

        Memories of Yogi Berra, bless his heart.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      /SELF : Excavates new suite of lime pits. [Clickitty-click]

  7. Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Logical Place.

  8. Merilee
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Copied this from Thomas McGuane’s Driving on the Rim: “We are as empowered toward decision making as you each should be empowered toward healing.” All of us could feel the generalizations rise toward a disorienting crescendo, and we were on our guard, sensing there was a fucking afoot.

    Not a particular word, just a load of bureaucratese.

    I don’t mind rocking something when used tongue in cheek.

  9. Paablo
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    The ubiquitous misuse of “begs the question” in place of “raises the question.”

    • Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

      Yes, this drives me crazy! Another is the use of the word “STUNS,” as in Kim K. stuns in a new bikini!

      • Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

        “Slays” is often used that way, too. Equally irritating.

        • Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

          ‘Slay the infidel wherever you find him.’ I could go with that interpretation.

        • Merilee
          Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

          Imo a good joke can still slay appropriately.

          Just saw the James Bond spoof, Spy, last night. Melissa McCarthy slayed me.

          • ChrisB
            Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

            Very funny! IMO, Melissa McCarthy is currently the funniest actor.

          • Posted July 21, 2016 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

            Kudos to Statham for sending himself up totally.

            /@

            • merilee
              Posted July 21, 2016 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

              Yes! He’s great in everything I’ve ever seen him in. Snatch is one of the funniest movies ever.

    • E.A. Blair
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      People keep telling me that “the meaning has changed” on that phrase. They wouldn’t think that way if they’d ever been through one of Professor Eckman’s syntax classes. Every time I hear or see that misused (instead of “raises the question”) I want to punch someone in the face.

  10. Philip Elliott
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    The four you list don’t bother me, but there are some that do.

    “Out of pocket”, used to mean unavailable.

    “Drink the Kool-aid” just gives me shivers. I can’t hear it without thinking of Jonetown.

    “Bye Felicia” bothers me because I don’t get the reference. I’m old.

    • Reginald Selkirk
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      There are a lot of pop cultural references I don’t get because I don’t watch TV or play video games.

    • Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      “Bye Felicia” is fantastic. Makes me smile every time I see or hear it. Friday is one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      “Out of pocket”, used to mean unavailable.

      Not on this side of the Atlantic. Here it just means things that you need to deal with at the time, and will sort out reimbursement later, and which couldn’t be reasonably booked in advance. For example, when on a business trip, Beancounter Central might organise your flights and hotel in advance, but taxi fares and a meal while you wait for the next flight would be “out of pocket expenses.” Very literal.

      “Drink the Kool-aid” just gives me shivers. I can’t hear it without thinking of Jonetown.

      Did it ever have another meaning?

  11. naomifein
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Excellent. Let me add “legend” — which seems to mean “hey s/he still gets into the gossip columns and/or is still alive — and the related “icon.”

  12. Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    What pisses me off is when when people talking on some news show pose themselves questions and then answer them. Does that piss me off? Yes it does. Do I think I can get them to stop? No I don’t.

    On the positive side, people have greatly reduced the number of times they say “here’s the rub”. And it’s several years since I’ve seen anyone write “First!” at the top of a comments section.

    • Merilee
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

      Actually here’s the rub sounds almost elegant compared to much current jargon.

      • Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

        Bloody Shakespeare. Always talking in clichés.

        • ChrisB
          Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

          Have you ever seen any of the ‘You’re quoting Shakespeare’ clips on YouTube?

          • Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

            No, Chris, but ’tis a consummation devoutly to be wished. I’ll go and have a look on youtube. That’s one good thing about living in Birmingham, England. The Royal Shakespeare Theatre is 20 miles down the road. Cheers.

            • Claudia Baker
              Posted July 19, 2016 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

              The actual quotation is: “there’s the rub”(Hamlet, Act III, Scene i, line 65). So, if people are going to use it, they should at least get it right.

              And speaking of quotation, almost everybody says quote, when they mean quotation. As in: “I saw this quote in an article.” Quote is a verb. Quotation is the noun.

              Just sayin’.

              • Posted July 19, 2016 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

                Just quotin’, Claudia.

                My favourite Shakespeare play is ‘The Tempest’ which I saw 2 years or so back at the RST in Stratford-upon-Avon. The actor who played Prospero was mesmerizing.

                The Epilogue: the lights darkened, Prospero stood alone at the front of the stage for Shakespeare’s sign-off in his last major play. Silence: the monologue, darker and more silent, the audience in the palm of the actor’s hand…

                ‘Now my charms are all o’erthrown,
                And what strength I have’s mine own,
                Which is most faint: now, ’tis true,
                I must be here confined by you,
                Or sent to Naples. Let me not,
                Since I have my dukedom got
                And pardon’d the deceiver, dwell
                In this bare island by your spell;
                But release me from my bands
                With the help of your good hands:
                Gentle breath of yours my sails
                Must fill, or else my project fails,
                Which was to please. Now I want
                Spirits to enforce, art to enchant,
                And my ending is despair,
                Unless I be relieved by prayer,
                Which pierces so that it assaults
                Mercy itself and frees all faults.
                As you from crimes would pardon’d be,
                Let your indulgence set me free.’

                And some smart-arse onanist clapped on the beat of the last word ‘free’. How to ruin a great poetic moment. I could strangle that self-advertising literalist. Couldn’t he have let us bask awhile, quiet in the beautiful moment?

              • Alexander
                Posted July 20, 2016 at 2:11 am | Permalink

                You got me worried, I’ve been saying “quote” as a noun talking to my editors for 30 years.

                Merriam Webster:
                quote
                noun
                Definition of quote
                1
                : quotation
                2
                : quotation mark —often used orally to indicate the beginning of a direct quotation

              • Posted July 21, 2016 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

                It’s a USism, deprecated on this side of the pond.

                /@

    • ChrisB
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      When I first heard ‘here’s the rub’ I didn’t know what the person was trying to say. Now when I hear it I picture the speaker trying to hand me a can of dry spice mix.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      I pose questions and answer them all the time. I call it “talking to myself.”

  13. Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    This is brilliantly observed, brilliantly written and brilliantly timed. I am beaming over here.

  14. Reginald Selkirk
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    the fact of the matter is…

    This implies that there is only one fact,
    that the speaker is in sole possession of it,
    and it is often followed by an opinion, not a fact.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

      The fact of the matter is…if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.

      Another one – “having said that”. Why would you need to say that? I heard you. Maybe I should say, said what? Then they would have to say it again.

      • John B.
        Posted July 19, 2016 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

        I think Hitch was annoyed with one Yale professor who kept saying “the fact of the matter is” during a debate about Iraq on Charlie Rose.

        “Having said that” – Larry David and Seinfeld covered that one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pgd2w0SQEYI&t=0m6s

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      Even worse, “The thing of it is.” Thanks for being specific.

  15. Cindy
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    I was just talking to a friend and he told me that he hates the word ‘narrative’ when used in phrases such as ‘that goes with the narrative’ and so on.

    Oh, and I hate the term ‘woke’. It’s a new one for BLM and it just sends the wrong message, imo.

  16. Cindy
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    forgot to sub

  17. alexandra moffat
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    closure
    passed away
    disinterested misused for uninterested
    than misused for from
    err pronounced air

    • bluemaas
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      And as well as loathing “passed away” is, for me, these so – not – comforting spews after a person has died: “gone to a better place” or “to rest now in the arms of his Jesus.”

      At memorials or wakes if held there, I have a truly difficult time just walking in to any such building of religiosity, so that when my one working eardrum is met from any other attendee with that muck, why, then that is my high cue to boogie on down outta there.

      Blue

      • David Harper
        Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

        I’d feel more comforted to be told that a deceased loved one was now quaffing ale and arm-wrestling Odin in the halls of Valhalla. It sounds a lot more fun than the Christian vision of heaven.

        • Christopher
          Posted July 19, 2016 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

          Getting pissed with Odin sounds far better than sitting on a fluffy cloud listening to harp music (Heaven for the climate, Hell for society, as I believe Twain said) then again, if jebus could drop by, do his little water magic trick, but Mo can keep his virgins. If I have to spend eternity bonking, I’d rather be with one person who knows what they’re doing rather than 72 novices.

          as for passing away, I’d prefer the WW2 pilots’ slang, “he’s gone for a Burton”.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted July 20, 2016 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

        Art thou being a tad Norwegian, Blue?
        All True Pythonians should include a presentation of “The Parrot Sketch” in their funeral arrangements.
        Actually, that probably wouldn’t be a bad tradition to start. The number of people who say they want their funeral to be a “celebration” is high, but it is hard to do. Like the rock star’s apocryphal “bowl of M&Ms” clause, that would be a good “are my wishes being observed?” litmus test.

    • Claudia Baker
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

      Or even worse, just “passed”.
      Did the person die or were they writing an exam?
      What the hell is wrong with: “My aunt died.” Why does everyone have to “pass”. Ridiculous.

    • Posted July 19, 2016 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

      Not putting quotation marks around words one is mentioning rather than using.

      😉

      • Posted July 21, 2016 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

        Putting “quotation marks” where they’re not needed.

        /@

        • Wunold
          Posted July 22, 2016 at 12:03 am | Permalink

          At my former worplace, the canteen always put “fresh chanterelles” in quotation marks. No other dish got the marks. I we often joked if that was written on the can.

  18. Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    John Rentoul of The Independent wrote an article about this here:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/features/banned-list-the-war-on-words-2371397.html

    …which he turned into a book.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Banned-List-manifesto-against-jargon/dp/1907642420

    He’s also a collector of Questions To Which The Answer Is No.

    You’re welcome.

  19. Kevin Meredith
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Price Point. Used by business people to refer to price when they want to sound businessy. Actual definition: the point on a price-to-quantity-line where revenue is maximized.

    • Merilee
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      Aaaaarrrrggghhhh. I HATE price point! Did I mention I don’t like it? Almost as bad is color-way…

    • Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

      Yes. That’s the worst one of them all. Absolutely no reason to say “price point” when you mean “price.”

  20. Pliny the in Between
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Stakeholders
    providers
    Donald Trump

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      Oh, that last one is really bad.

    • Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      Oooh, do say more about the ranklingness of stakeholders and providers.

      • Pliny the in Between
        Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

        A proper stakeholder is usually a fork, not the weasel-word used in modern management and decision-avoidance.

        I believe Leonard McCoy said it best on the Enterprise – DAMMIT JIM! I’m a doctor not a provider!

        • Pliny the in Between
          Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

          Hand-Crafted beverages – I don’t want your bloody digits in my drink!

        • Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

          Ha! DAMMIT PLINY! You’ve ruined stakeholder for me! We use it all the time in policy to talk about how those with stakes in a matter have power. But never will I be able to say it again without an inner snicker.

          Love the McCoy quote 🙂

          • Pliny the in Between
            Posted July 19, 2016 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

            “You’ve ruined stakeholder for me!”

            Then my work here would appear to be done 🙂

        • Christopher
          Posted July 19, 2016 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

          Surely the proper stakeholder would be Van Helsing.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      You would probably hate my stakeholder analyses then.

      • Pliny the in Between
        Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

        It would depend upon the topic and the (term stakeholder/page count) ratio. 😉

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted July 19, 2016 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

          I do them in wikis so there is no page count (I don’t like paper) and they are usually in a table that identifies who the stakeholders are, what their needs are and how we can meet those needs.

          There are also the stakeholder analyses that are top secret because you identify where your stakeholders fall on a quadrant of promoters, detractors, etc.

          I use them as inputs into planning a project.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      Stakeholders
      […] Donald Trump

      I have a mental image of stakeholders at a Trump meeting. Accompanied by torchholders (of the “flaming torch” variety), pitchfork wielders, and a lot of coves of garlic.
      For the precise use of the stake, I’d probably move from Bram Stoker to follow Vlad Tepes (to whom one can arguably ascribe the defeat of the Ottomans and the continuation of Christianity in 15th Century Europe. Insh’Allah!).

    • Posted July 21, 2016 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

      disinterested … actually has had both meanings for a long time; it’s not just recent sloppiness.

      /@

      • Isaac
        Posted July 23, 2016 at 10:33 am | Permalink

        “disinterested … actually has had both meanings for a long time; it’s not just recent sloppiness.”

        From the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language:

        “In five surveys spanning almost fifty years, the Usage Panel has consistently disapproved of sentences that use disinterested to mean “uninterested.” In our 2013 survey, for example, 86 percent of the Usage Panel found the sentence It is difficult to imagine an approach better designed to prevent disinterested students from developing any intellectual maturity to be unacceptable. This figure is essentially unchanged from the 88 percent of the Panel that disapproved of the same sentence in 2001.”

        Most careful writers still make the distinction when they write. Even so called descriptivist linguists who tend to be more lenient with language malfeasants are always caught in the act of writing “properly”.

        I can’t think of an instance where any of my favorite authors has used disinterested for uninterested interchangeably.

        • Posted July 23, 2016 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

          Why should one dictionary’s usage panel be the arbiters of this? We should consider the evidence for any long held distinction or lack thereof.

          NOAD notes, “the earliest recorded sense of ‘disinterested’ is for the disputed sense” – i.e., meaning “non interested”.

          The OED’S Michael Quinion, in World Wide Words, November 2003:

          [James Cochrane] wants to keep the old distinction of sense between
          “disinterested” and “uninterested”, despite evidence that the
          distinction has never been as clear-cut as our teachers would like
          to think
          and that the battle has been lost in any case; [my emphasis]

          I agree it would be a useful distinction, but English is littered with words that do double duty – dubious, curious (“The curious thing about curious squid is that they are curious…”), sanction, … 

          My editorial advice (and I make a living writing, among other things) would be to use an unambiguous alternative, such as impartial.

          /@

          • Isaac
            Posted July 23, 2016 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

            As a fellow scribe, I am telling you that the distinction is very much still alive in serious literature.

            I agree that the roots of the distinction might be fuzzy, but so what? NO one I know adduces the history of a word as evidence of its correct usage in modern times. In fact, I am not even sure what you consider good evidence for appropriate usage.

            I think a consensus among usage panel members is a pretty good guideline. Do you have a better idea?

            Do you use disinterested and uninterested as mutually fungible in your writing? I do not, and I correct it when one of my writers misuses it.

            • Posted July 23, 2016 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

              I think you want to have your cake and eat it.

              /@

              • Isaac
                Posted July 24, 2016 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

                I do like cake 🙂

  21. Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    Is this post usage-splaining or curmudgeonly usage-kvetchery? 🙂

  22. Gerry Warren
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Iconic

  23. ChrisB
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Irregardless has always annoyed me. It’s pretty well accepted now but it hurts my ears.

    Also when people preface the answer to a question with “Look”. Especially since what they really want is for you to listen.

    • Merilee
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      I hate when talking heads on the news say Look before ‘splainin’ somethin’. It goes without saying thst irregardless is abysmal…

      • bluemaas
        Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

        O O O O, as do I this start, “Look, blah blah and yada yada,” to their commentary to follow !

        Blue

      • Posted July 20, 2016 at 10:15 am | Permalink

        Reza Aslan does this all the time. “Look! Blah blah blah.”

      • Posted July 20, 2016 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

        Tony Blair is the worst “Look”-merchant of all.

        Even more irritating to me is the ubiquitous politician’s favourite:

        “Let me just say this….”

        Arrrgghhh!

    • Claudia Baker
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      Or when people begin their explanation of something with “I mean”.

  24. rudolphpaul
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    I just hate it when anyone calls a lectern a podium. Stand on a podium, stand behind a lectern. Anyone will look foolish standing on a lectern and even more foolish once they have fallen from the lectern to the podium.

  25. Alan GE
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    “cray-cray” and “hubby”

    • Merilee
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      Wtf is cray-cray??

      • Cindy
        Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

        crazy = crazy

        • Merilee
          Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

          Thanks, Cindy. Missed thst one. As in The Donald is cray-cray…

    • darrelle
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      That made a term I hate instantly appear in my mind, and I CAN’T GET IT OUT!

      The despised phrase is vajay-jay (no idea of the correct spelling, if there even is a spelling that could be said to be correct).

      I also despise baby-momma.

      • Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

        But without “baby-momma” there’d be no “baby-momma drama.” And “baby-momma drama” is a very useful phrase. Also, it rhymes.

        • darrelle
          Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

          Haven’t heard that one. I have to admit, the rhyming does somehow make it much less disgusting to me than just “baby-momma.”

    • Posted July 21, 2016 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

      Hubby? I can’t think why you’d find that objectionable.

      /@

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 21, 2016 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

        I don’t like it either. Seems term-of-endearment-y/ type of furniture you put next to a credenza.

        • MaryL
          Posted July 21, 2016 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

          Hubby has always sounded like baby-talk to me.

  26. Michael Scullinm
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    Here in the Des Moines, Iowa area we have a lot of stuff which is noted in our local newspaper (the DM Register)as being “artisinal” that one think they were going to Paris (hardly). The other well worked word is “iconic.” We have so much iconic burgers, mixed drinks, and assorted other “stuff” that it’s quite apparent that no one who over-uses these adjectives even knows their meaning. Mrs. Trump’s plagiarized speech could well be artisinally iconic (as could Trump’s ever open mouth – well, at least it’s iconic.

    • ChrisB
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      I’ve noticed that ‘artisanal’ can often be translated as ‘overpriced and mediocre’.

  27. Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    “Insane” used in place of astounding.

    • Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

      However, the British use of “mental” is wonderful. I also like “end of.”

  28. Tom
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Can I complain about written language? Double spaces between sentences, colons followed by hyphens, dashes everywhere, paragraphs with no full stop at the end, people using i.e. and e.g. at random but somehow always incorrectly, singular media, criteria, bacteria.

    • David Harper
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      And ‘data’. My Latin teacher did *way* too good a job. Even after forty years, I still cringe to hear ‘data’ used as a singular noun.

      • Bric
        Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

        Some have decided otherwise

        http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2012/07/05/is-data-is-or-is-data-aint-a-plural/

        • Doug
          Posted July 20, 2016 at 6:56 am | Permalink

          As with “data,” I was taught to always use “media” as a plural. This seems to be a lost cause.

          Another one that I hate is using “lay” for “lie;” as in “I was laying on the couch.” Like “the media is,” this is probably here to stay. It will always sound wrong to me, no matter how widely it is used.

          Oh, and “literally” used to mean just the opposite: “I literally died laughing.” No you didn’t.

          • Posted July 20, 2016 at 9:24 am | Permalink

            I would suggest that “media” referring to television and print journalists has taken on a new collective singular definition, similar to “government” or “congregation”. When people say “the media is doing this or that” they’re not referring to the actual media: TV screens and pieces of paper; they’re referring to a group of people.

          • Posted July 20, 2016 at 9:32 am | Permalink

            I also think “literally” works just fine as an intensifier. It is quasi-poetic overstatement, the same as you see in phrases like “I could eat a horse”, or “that meeting took forever”. In fact, its function as an intensifier depends on knowing its (heh) literal definition.

            • Isaac
              Posted July 20, 2016 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

              Using it as an intensifier would just create confusion given that its literal meaning is actually very useful.

              Your examples can be seen a clearly metaphorical since no one could really eat a horse, and meetings are rarely eternal.

              The same thing doesn’t happen with literally. If we started using literally metaphorically as an intensifier, then a sentence like this would be quite ambiguous:

              Last night, my brother literally drank the whole bottle of gin by himself.

              Am I using literally here as an intensifier? Did my brother drink the entire bottle, or did he let me do one shot and drank the rest?

              My point is, the word is useful. Don’t dilute it by using it where it doesn’t belong.

              • Posted July 20, 2016 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

                Doug’s example is equally clearly metaphorical. His interlocutor is obviously not dead.

                I think most people understand or at least have an intuition that using “literally” as an intensifier is best done in a context that makes it easy to eliminate the, er, literal interpretation. Will there be times when the correct interpretation is not completely clear? Sure, but so it is for most idioms and instances of wordplay. People frequently say “I have no time” when what they mean is “I have very little free time, and I’m saving that for something I deem more important than your request”. No one complains about such a response diluting the meaning of “no/none”. If, for some reason you need to know if they actually have zero spare minutes you ask for clarification.

        • Posted July 20, 2016 at 11:41 am | Permalink

          Problem with this (which I used to worry about) is that normative linguistics is eventually a losing battle. So when does one give up?

          That said, I’m still trying to prevent the new meaning of “begs the question” from taking over …

    • Barry Lyons
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      Yes, the dash business annoys. For example, I’ll bet Jerry has received some emails that start like this:

      Jerry-

      Why do people do this? I see it in emails to me and I see it all over Twitter. I can’t tell you how much this annoys me. Well, actually, I just did.

      Yes, I also can’t stand seeing double spaces between sentences! Farhad Manjoo wrote a piece on this for Slate a few years ago. I’m sure it’s still available online

      • Posted July 21, 2016 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

        B –

        I do that all the time in email, but I can’t say where or when I picked up the habit. It literally never occurred to me that some might find it annoying.

        /@

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted July 21, 2016 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

          I use it too. I think I picked it up when I was an editor.

        • merilee
          Posted July 21, 2016 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

          ditto

    • Dave
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

      What’s wrong with double spaces between sentences? Some of us were taught that way. Doesn’t take much to get you going, does it!

      • Tom
        Posted July 19, 2016 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

        Just Google it. It’s wrong and awful and God kills kittens by the dozens every time you put more than one space between sentences.

        • bric
          Posted July 20, 2016 at 2:57 am | Permalink

          Mr Farthing, my English teacher way back in 1950something told me that was the correct way to do it and that’s good enough for me. Looks nice.

          • HaggisForBrains
            Posted July 20, 2016 at 5:36 am | Permalink

            I’m with you, bric. We may be old-fashioned, but we’re right!

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted July 20, 2016 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

              I’m generally a two-spacer. Too. (though the effect is lost when people use proportional fonts instead of monospace fonts.
              Can I have a rant about nannopalaeontology?

              • Posted July 21, 2016 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

                Yes, it comes from ( onospaced) typing, but not from printing with proper typefaces. Now we have these here newfangled devices with proportional fonts, you don’t need the extra space for clarity.

                /@

        • Merilee
          Posted July 20, 2016 at 7:52 am | Permalink

          Are we talking about spaces after a period ( or full stop) as opposed to double-spacing when typing? I had two spaces after a period drilled drilled drilled into me.

          • Posted July 20, 2016 at 10:21 am | Permalink

            that was no doubt in typing class. That’s how it was taught in the fifties. It’s ugly and that’s why typographers don’t like double spaces (“white holes”) after a period.

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted July 20, 2016 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

              s/fifties/seventies/
              Or at least, so my sisters’ typing manuals asserted. Of course, as a boy, I wasn’t allowed to be taught how to type, and had to teach myself.

              • Dave
                Posted July 20, 2016 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

                So sed you!

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted July 21, 2016 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

                Awk! I feel pulled up.

            • Merilee
              Posted July 20, 2016 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

              Ahem. I never took typing class but believe that my Stanford Freshman English teacher insisted on it for all of our papers.

        • Dave
          Posted July 20, 2016 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

          “Just Google it.”

          Whoa, it’s on the Internet?! Why didn’t you say so. 🙂

  29. Dave Weaver
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Using utilize instead of use.

    • Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      Any fancy verb (or word or phrase) where a simple one [word] will do.

      • Posted July 19, 2016 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

        Indubitably. I have a particular aversion to over-wrought and circuitous circumlocutions.

        • rickflick
          Posted July 20, 2016 at 4:51 am | Permalink

          Duplicate redundancy has the same difference.

  30. Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Using “loose” instead of “lose”.

  31. Mark Perew
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Is one allowed to take umbrage if another is throwing shade?

    • Merilee
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      Taking umbrage +1

  32. ChrisB
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    ‘mad props’.

    Just yuck.

  33. Barry Lyons
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    I suppose this is a different kind of thing, but I hate seeing “Frankenstein” when people mean to say “Frankenstein’s monster.” The monster doesn’t have a name, people!

    And I wish “bae” would go away.

    • Stuartg
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

      Isn’t the monster called Adam?

      • Barry Lyons
        Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

        Funny!

      • JonLynnHarvey
        Posted July 19, 2016 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

        The monster does in fact compare himself to Adam in Shelley’s original novel. The monster in the book reads “Paradise Lost” in its entirety, and has full English vocab. Shelley intended the novel as a semi-quasi-blasphemous rewrite in Milton’s PL in which it is the incompetence of God (Dr. Frankenstein) rather than anything Adam (the monster) did which causes the fall.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted July 20, 2016 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

        I’d have to go back to re-read “A Modern Prometheus”, but I don’t think so.

    • Merilee
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      Apparently bae means poop in Danish.

      • Christopher
        Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

        Reminds me of the american snack “food” called Poppycock, which is of course an old phrase people used to use denoting, well, bullshit, and comes from the Dutch word Pappekak, the literal translation being “soft crap”.

        Now how about an interesting word that I learned from watching Stephen Fry:
        Irreaffentittenturbosuperdupertyp

        A German word that translates directly into:
        Mad Monkey Tits Turbo Super Duper Guy

        • Posted July 20, 2016 at 11:43 am | Permalink

          A less family friendly version of the Teeny Little Super Guy?

  34. David Harper
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Apropos “epic”, I can’t help but recall the poster for the movie “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”, which carried the tagline “Makes Ben Hur look like an epic!”

    • darrelle
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      Another fun thing to gripe about, movies. It irritates me that Ben Hur is so uniformly considered to be a great movie. I really don’t like it, for many reasons. Mainly because it is boring as hell.

      • Richard
        Posted July 20, 2016 at 6:19 am | Permalink

        Really? I always find the great chariot race exciting, regardless of how many times I have seen the movie.

        • darrelle
          Posted July 20, 2016 at 7:20 am | Permalink

          Just an example of “you can’t please everybody.” I will admit that the chariot race is the most exciting part of the movie but, for me, that ain’t saying much!

          • Richard
            Posted July 20, 2016 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

            True. How boring life would be if we all had the same tastes!

    • Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      Years ago the great cartoonist Jules Feiifer presented a man giving a book review of the Bible. He said that “one might even call it epic”.

  35. Kevin
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    “Perfect”

    F**king nothing’s perfect. Get over it people. Perfect is what teenage girls say when they happen to get to the party twenty minutes late.

    We live in the real world where complex systems, chaos, and quantum mechanics reign supreme.

    On a very side note, Carroll has an interesting recent research adventure into allowing gravity to emerge from quantum mechanics. Check it out:

    http://www.preposterousuniverse.com/blog/2016/07/18/space-emerging-from-quantum-mechanics/

    • Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      I generally only use “perfect” sardonically …

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      F**king nothing’s perfect.

      Perfect numbers?

  36. Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    I really hate tautologies, especially the tautological ones.

    • darrelle
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

      T^2

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      Pleonastic phrases can be overly wordy, too. 🙂

  37. Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    All the usual business buzz-words.

    And “how do you roll?”

    I don’t roll, I walk, bicycle, drive, or snowshoe.

    Get off my lawn! 🙂

    • Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

      Examples of business buzz-words to be humorously found here.

      • Merilee
        Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

        Hilarious!!

      • chris moffatt
        Posted July 19, 2016 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

        Reminded me of that WeaselWord Bingo game we used to play in meetings.

        Cringe word? – proactive. Newton didn’t say “proaction and reaction are equal and opposite”.

  38. ChrisB
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    For the record, dropping a parmesan rind into a pot of food you are cooking is not “genius”.

  39. Mark the Hiker
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    I’m just saying!

    • Posted July 20, 2016 at 6:56 am | Permalink

      Oh yes! Thanks for reminding me (not!).

  40. Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    This.
    By this “this”, I mean the current trend of adding a single word comment “This.” to an online post. To me, a “This” comment means “I agree with the post, got nothing else to add, but I’m too good to use the Like button”.
    Also, in this weather, “throwing shade” actually sounds like a good thing.

    • Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      The only thing worse than “this” is “This. A hundred times this”, which of course means “I agree strongly.”

      I just remembered that I despise the cutesy shortening of celebrities’ names, like “Rihanna” to “RiRi” or Taylor Swift to “TSwift.” What’s worse is the combining of the names of celebrity couples, but I can’t bear to write out any of them.

      • Christopher
        Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

        This So Much.

        A phrase that is ever so slightly more annoying than This.

        As for the name shortening, here in KC, land of the fair-weather baseball fans, our center fielder, Lorenzo Cain, gets his name shortened to LoCain. Not that I expect much in the way of cleverness coming out of the mouth of sports commentators.

        • Robert Bray
          Posted July 19, 2016 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

          Not since Jack Buck died.

      • Posted July 22, 2016 at 2:20 am | Permalink

        Hiddleswift!

        /@

    • Zado
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

      I don’t mind a “This.” comment too much, especially on a site like this without likes or thumb-ups.

      I’ve used it once here, not just because I agreed with the comment, but because I thought the commentor addressed the topic perfectly and succinctly. I might have written “Couldn’t have said it better myself,” but I thought that would seem verbose.

    • JonLynnHarvey
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

      Quite lazy. How about “what (s)he said” or “ditto” instead?
      Somehow I’m now flashing to the hilarious song from “Spamalot” called “The Song that Goes like this”.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted July 20, 2016 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

        Going in the opposite direction to most threads, is it just my impression, or is “ditto” going out of use?

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      This.
      By this “this”, I mean the current trend of adding a single word comment “This.” to an online post.

      Actually, when I first started seeing this construction, well over a decade ago, it was in a context (a site for nerds, and particularly programmer nerds) where the usage was very obviously and explicitly a nod to a self-referential structure in the declaration of objects in “Object Oriented Programming” languages. And since I was trying to learn OOP around that time, I appreciated it as an in-joke.
      It does seem to have spread to numpties who couldn’t programme their way out of a paper bag and who just think they’re being lazy, and therefore cool.

      • Posted July 22, 2016 at 2:21 am | Permalink

        This.

        /@

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted July 22, 2016 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

          I single sheets, using flour-and-water paste. It’s less smelly than wattle and daub, but not as warm.

  41. madonzubin
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    “Honestly”. As in: “Honestly, I don’t know why they use that word”. People add it to sound more credible I guess.

    • Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

      Sometimes when someone I know is talking to me and says, “To be honest. . “, I immediately say, “Oh, you mean most of the time you’re not being honest with me?”

      • Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

        I don’t mind “to be honest.” I think it’s generally used in specific situations and means, “the easy or expected thing for me to do in this type of situation is to tell you what I know you want to hear, but I’m not going to do that…”

        • Posted July 19, 2016 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

          Yes. Many of the linguistic conventions being shredded here actually serve a purpose: providing subtle clues as to the proper interpretation of what is being said.

    • Posted July 19, 2016 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

      I’m guilty of “to be honest” and “honestly,” but to be fair, when I use it, I mean “to be frank.” I will now consider using “to be frank,” instead, but I’m on the fence.

      The function of the phrase is intended to signal that what is about to be shared can’t be shared in more formal contexts without the speaker incurring the penalty of rudeness. It’s a bit of a “trigger warning,” a heads-up about breaking the unsaid dictums of polite conversation at whatever level of socializing is happening.

      In most of the instances where I’d use it, my conversation partner is antagonistic to my view. Signaling that I have another layer of “privileged” information might promote some credibility. Obviously, though, it won’t do that if what you follow it with is an insult: “Honestly, you’re an a**.”

      • Posted July 19, 2016 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

        I think most people who use the phrase “to be honest” mean it in the same way you do, i.e., as a signifier of frankness.

  42. Alexander
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    “Consuming” the news. This explains why I never can find a newspaper on the train when I have forgotten to buy one.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

      No, *that* is because they didn’t fill the arse-wipe dispensers in the toilets. At least, on Virgin trains.

      • Posted July 22, 2016 at 2:23 am | Permalink

        Which way should you hang the newspapers?

        /@

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted July 22, 2016 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

          On the bent-over nail.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted July 22, 2016 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

          Alternative : “next to the Bible, for those who don’t like paper that bites back”

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted July 22, 2016 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

          “From Murdoch’s feet – while he too is being hung for his crimes against newspapers.”

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted July 22, 2016 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

          With the picture’s eyes to the wall.

  43. Diana MacPherson
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    “Dude” denigrates men? I thought it was just how men, who are also surfers, talked to one another. I call my female friends “dudes” as well. Also, I call females “chicks” and even, “chickeepoos”. As in, “I have to call this chickeepoo back.” But maybe I can get away with it because I’m a woman. Like when I call my fellow women (and men), “bitches”. Also, D00d is cool because it’s 1337.

    Epic has another meaning in IT as it’s used in Agile development and it means a big requirement that spans more than one sprint or iteration of work. User Stories go beneath Epics and tasks go beneath user stories so it all makes sense.

    • Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      Dude only became derogatory in the last few years, and really only in very specific usages such as “d00d” and “dudebro.” It’s point is mainly that white, cis, hetero, males are bad because they’re white, cis, hetero, and male.

      • Christopher
        Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

        oh, there’s one that really pisses me off, “cis”.

        unless we’re talking cis bonds in fatty acids or something.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted July 20, 2016 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

          Just a second … I’m drawing -ene structures in my head and surely in this context “cis” means “trans”, not “cis”?

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 19, 2016 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

        Dudebro I can see but d00d is just 1337 5p34k. It’s no different than saying “dude” so I think the derogatoriness is in the context rather than the word.

      • Posted July 19, 2016 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

        But doesn’t “dudebro” specifically refer to a particular type of unintelligent, macho, frat boy? In that case I’d say the derogation is eminently deserved.

    • Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      I said “d00d”, not “dude.” And yes, pacopicopiedra is right: its “d00d” and “d00dbro” incarnations are derogatory to men, and meant to be.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

        Weird. I’ve never seen it written that way and anything with 00 I assume is just 1337 speak.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted July 19, 2016 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

          And I should’ve written 1337 5p34k. How wrong of me. Dudebro I think is derogatory but d00d is just 1337 5p34k the same as w00t.

          • Posted July 19, 2016 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

            Diana, as a fellow classics lover, I used to think that we shared some sort of common language, but I must confess that with all these numbers, I don’t have a clue what you’re talking about!

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted July 19, 2016 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

              That’s my geek side. I have met other Classics grad geeks in IT as well.

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted July 20, 2016 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

              3 = ‘e’ ;
              5 = ‘s’ ;
              4 = ‘a’ (or ‘A’) ;
              0 = ‘o’
              There’s probably^H^H^H^H^H^H a Wiki page for it. But not a Jargon File entry.

    • JonLynnHarvey
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

      “Dude” has morphed in its meaning more frequently than almost any other word in English. It seems to change its connotation every 10 years.

    • Henry Fitzgerald
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

      I use “chicks” all the time. I think it’s because my high school crush also used the word all the time, I think in an affectionate sense; I copied this habit and now it’s stuck with me.

      But every so often – maybe once every five or more years – I’ll innocently use the term and find someone is offended by it. I don’t care. I’m sticking with “chicks”, even if I’m male.

      As for “bitch”, I used to give my dog her food and say, “Sup, bitch,” but that was a strained joke which she never understood.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 20, 2016 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

        I say variants of “chick” so much that people look at me funny when I refer to all women that way as I guess it’s supposed to be for young women. One variant is “chicky”.

        Haha that the dog didn’t get the joke.

        • Cindy
          Posted July 20, 2016 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

          I use ‘chick’ all of the time to refer to women.

          I guess that makes me a misogynist!

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted July 21, 2016 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

            Me too!

    • Posted July 20, 2016 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      The Agile use is also very vague and open ended. We started using Agile for some things here and I read a book on it and I was appalled at how unspecific it was. (I couldn’t find *anything* about how to document environments and platforms.)

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 20, 2016 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

        Agile assumes team members know or will decide how to document things. It isn’t prescriptive on that stuff because typically their are existing methodologies that deal with that: IIBA, TOGAF, ITIL, what have you. Often PMs would ask me if they could do something in Agile and I’d ask them what they normally did. Most of the time it was an expert PM thing and not an Agile thing.

        It is disciplined in other areas concerning project delivery: delay decisions as late as possible, create something that is just in time and good enough.

        The issue is a lot of people think they can “do Agile” without using some of the knowledge of experts. I’ve done Agile coaching and I’ve found this to be really helpful for teams to learn hands on and reinforcing concepts.

        • Posted July 21, 2016 at 11:25 am | Permalink

          The funny thing is I could easily find in the references I was given and found in the text had stuff for all sorts of *other* documentation, but not this …

  44. Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Maybe its just MSNBC that overuses this but I hate “Boots on the Ground” Every goddamn pundit on MSNBC manages to work this into a sentence or 2 or 3 every time they speak. At first it referred to combat troops as opposed to air power. Now it refers to anyone anywhere. A reporter at a convention. A teacher at a school etc etc. And they’ve started to abbreviated it as “on the ground”

    • Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

      I believe I’ve mentioned that, too. Also, when the newscaster, say in Istanbul, says, “The situation here on the ground,” meaning “The situation here. . ” What else could it be–the situation in the air?

      • Posted July 19, 2016 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

        I think the truly guilty one is Chris Hayes on MSNBC. I think it was he that referred to a teacher in the classroom as ‘on the ground’ I guess that’s to help us distinguish those teachers from the teachers that drop laser-guided bombs on their students from an F-16

      • Posted July 20, 2016 at 7:09 am | Permalink

        Yes, hate that one too.

        It is supposed to mean: “I so know the details of this situation.”

        … while it means the exact opposite of that.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      Wasn’t someone parodying Fox News recently about “Boobs on the ground” ; they’re in the excrement and nearing the end of tea break over some sexual harassment legal action.

  45. Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    Not a phrase I dislike, but three times while traveling recently from Milwaukee to New Orleans by way of Chicago and St. Louis, someone said to me “no worries”. The only specific place of the three I can recall is in the St. Louis airport. The phrase was used appropriately, but I’ve always thought of it as an Australian (perhaps NZ, too) idiom. It seems to be spreading in the US. Anyone else heard it in the US lately?

    • Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      All the time.

    • Posted July 20, 2016 at 7:11 am | Permalink

      I say it all the time, as a substitute for “your welcome”.

      I picked it up from a lot of time in Australia,, NZ, and, mainly, Ireland, where it is used this way ubiquitously (in my experience). The other Irish substitution found very frequently is “cheers” for “thanks”.

      I find them both charming and use them all the time.

  46. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    When people leverage “leverage” instead of “use”.

    • Richard
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 6:29 am | Permalink

      At one company for which I worked, someone senior in the management chain used to send around emails in which he would misuse “leverage”. I would reply to him with a list of his previous misuses of the word, and the apparent meaning each time, and ask which of those meanings he intended in the latest email. Oddly, I never got a repy.

    • Posted July 22, 2016 at 2:37 am | Permalink

      But it means more than just “use”; it’s use of something to get additional benefit, perhaps opportunistically; exploit. Think exaptation.

      /@

      • Posted July 22, 2016 at 2:38 am | Permalink

        PS. I dislike “leverage” and tend to use “exploit”, but my (security) colleagues think that that suggests an attack, so they tend to suggest I use “leverage” …

  47. Historian
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    In government and business when a person signs a document, it is often said that he “signed off on” the document. I tried to educate people to just say “signed,” but my efforts usually failed.

  48. Diana MacPherson
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    Just sayin’. I hate that phrase!

    • Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      I like it, especially when used as, “I’m not sayin’, I’m just sayin’.”

    • Dave
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

      Agreed! It’s cowardly and snide.

    • Posted July 20, 2016 at 7:12 am | Permalink

      THE WORST RECENT USAGE, IN MY OPINION. Just sayin’ …

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      I’m cleaning the lubricant from the cattleprod and replacing it with barbed wire and battery acid.
      Where is the offender?

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 20, 2016 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

        😂

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted July 21, 2016 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

          Is that emoticon “POLITICIAN GRITTING TEETH EYES POPPING”? Do you have a code page and hexadecimal for that, it’s sadly under-used.

  49. Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    I’ll add one more, which irritates me only mildly but drives some people wild: saying “No problem” instead of “You’re welcome” in response to “Thank you.”

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

      I say “no worries”. I think “no problem” is similar to Spanish “de nada” which literally means “it’s nothing”

      • Posted July 20, 2016 at 7:12 am | Permalink

        Or de rein. Same same.

        • Posted July 20, 2016 at 7:13 am | Permalink

          DUH! De rien (of course).

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted July 20, 2016 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

            [showing off my rusty Russian.]
            Na zha sto!

    • Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      They’re not at all the same…I agree with you!

      • chris moffatt
        Posted July 19, 2016 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

        here in rural Virginia they just say “uh-huh”.

    • bluemaas
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

      O, for every positive thing done or said, the following response heard incessantly within media as well as elsewhere is “Thank you so much.”

      “ … … so much ?” Doesn’t the two – word “thank you” mean the same thing ? cuz with only the two words of gratitude I am not providing enough thankfulness ? Why is “so much” tacked on to the sentiment ?! (Is this thoughtlessness like a sentence end’s eight exclamation points when four — or one — will certainly suffice for the conveyance of one’s astonishment ?

      Relatedly then, the just – thanked person responds with the same “thank you” or “thank you so much” immediately back ! What is that ? “You are welcome” isn’t enough, proper or adequate acknowledgement ?

      I wonder, too, re the media persons as well: Why, now, does nearly every spoken sentence begin with the word “So” ? When did that entry into the discussion, at its first even, become acceptable speech etiquette ?

      Coming from Grumpy Old Woman mode then, there is the correct “its”, a smashing Scrabble – filler word. The “it’s” one cannot even make itself onto the board !

      Blue

  50. phoffman56
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Applying the adjective “unbelievable” to something which very clearly occurred.

  51. Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Like the folks in Comment #1, I cannot stand ‘reach out.’ Another one I don’t think has yet appeared here is I/We “will break it down for you.” Thanks, but I am smart enough to figure it out by myself.

    • Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      Even worse is “drill down.”

      • Posted July 20, 2016 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

        I’ll see your “drill down” and raise you “engage”.

  52. Ann German
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know if anyone else is bothered by this, but my latest CAN’T STAND IT is “going forward,” as in, “I’m going to be fine going forward,” or, “going forward, I’m going to be fine.” argh

    • Doug Gray
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 8:22 am | Permalink

      If you are looking for someone else who is bothered by this I am your man. This phrase is entirely superfluous – given the constraints of physics it is not like there are other options.

  53. Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Lots of grumpy people today. Grumpy loves company.

    • Posted July 19, 2016 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

      I kind of like being a little grumpy. You might say being grumpy makes me happy.

      • Posted July 22, 2016 at 2:43 am | Permalink

        THere’s a Seven Dwarfs joke here somewhere … 

        /@

        • Posted July 22, 2016 at 8:41 am | Permalink

          Running with the oxymoronic situation and Seven Dwarves motifs, I once saw an interview with a child who as sleep apnea. He said “sleeping makes me tired”.

  54. Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    1. Awesome – the only awesome thing I’ve ever seen in the US is Mt. Rushmore.

    2. Supposably – it is a real word but not used properly by most NYers and illiterate YouTubers – this sets my teeth on edge! The word they’re looking for is supposedly!

    • W.Benson
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

      Have you seen the Grand Canyon? It impressed me more than about anything, except the Amazon.

      • Merilee
        Posted July 19, 2016 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

        Grand Canyon orders of magnitude more awesome than Mt. Rushmore!

        • Posted July 19, 2016 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

          Seems like apples and oranges to me. The GC simply happened. People created Mt. Rushmore by dint of intelligence and ingenuity. So in the GC’s case one finds the natural, brute appearance impressive, but in MR’s case one finds the work people did impressive.

          • Merilee
            Posted July 20, 2016 at 7:56 am | Permalink

            I’m ducking preemptively at the apples and oranges you’re probably going to throw at me, Beef, but I find Mt. Rushmore “cheesy.”

            • Posted July 20, 2016 at 8:10 am | Permalink

              Not at all. I can see the cheese. I’d say the fear of creating it is still impressive, and for those who are moved, that is what they’re reacting to (as opposed to brute aesthetic).

              • Merilee
                Posted July 20, 2016 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

                You mean feat, not fear, I trust😀🎶

                Let’s hope there’s never a Trump on Mt. R. The weight of his hair in front…

            • Posted July 20, 2016 at 9:04 am | Permalink

              *feat*

      • Posted July 20, 2016 at 7:16 am | Permalink

        The south face of Mt. McKinley (Denali), especially when looking up to it with the intent of climbing to the summit.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted July 20, 2016 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

          You want “awesome” and McKinley/ Denali in the same sentence, look up the Sourdough’s flagpole.
          OK, so they guessed wrongly as to which of the two peaks was the higher. BFD.

  55. Posted July 19, 2016 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    YouTubers are frequently “obsessed” with the most trivial crap that is “everything”!

    Really? Is your new eyeliner everything? And are you really obsessed with it?

    Can’t it just look good?

    • Posted July 20, 2016 at 7:19 am | Permalink

      Just part of the narcissism that is the main driver of social media. It has the be important — after all, I’m doing it! Look at me, look at me, look at me!

  56. Posted July 19, 2016 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    Someone should invent a word to describe the slightly pleasant feeling you get when you find other people who hate the same things you hate. I agree with many of the above posts. When I think of why these expressions annoy me I think its because they somehow seem like a lazy way of expressing oneself.

  57. chris moffatt
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Everything already noted above plus: the chronic universal use by journalism and english majors of homonyms. It betrays an appalling ignorance of language which should be the writer’s stock in trade but is no longer.

    Oh and ads for gluten-free beer and vodka.

  58. Vaal
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    “Famous” or worse, “World Famous” is so over-used in restaurants, usually lower tier restaurants.

    I was reminded recently while driving by a total dive restaurant that there is no restaurant so small, so hole-in-the-wall, that they will not use that phrase on a sign or menu for any item that happens to be a popular order: “Come in for our World Famous
    home fries!”

    “World Famous Hot Cross Buns!”

    “Famous Muffins!”

    “World Famous Chilli-Dawg!”

    • Merilee
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

      Not to forget world-class, preferably in quotes.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 19, 2016 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

        You’re municipality used to have that as a motto: “A World Class Place To Be”. I don’t know if it still is.

        • merilee
          Posted July 19, 2016 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

          Oakville?

          • Vaal
            Posted July 19, 2016 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

            It was a slogan for a while for Halton Ontario.

            Yeah, Canada has quite a number of embarrassing attempts to raise some sort of
            local pride. It never sits right with us Canadians.

            • Merilee
              Posted July 19, 2016 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

              Here I’ve lived in Halton for 30+ years. I must have just unbrained that slogan😖

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted July 19, 2016 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

              Yeah Hilton Reginald they had a Commander Tom globe in their logo. Hilarious.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted July 19, 2016 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

                Halton Region. Stupid autocorrect.

              • Merilee
                Posted July 19, 2016 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

                Don’t know Commander Tom…

        • HaggisForBrains
          Posted July 20, 2016 at 5:52 am | Permalink

          You are municipality? Tsk tsk.

  59. Tom Czarny
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    I find myself shouting like a lunatic at the radio when I hear an interviewee begin every sentence with “So,” and when agreeing with point being made will respond with “Absolutely.” Yikes, I’m yelling at the computer screen.

    • Robert Bray
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      Yes, ‘absolutely’ is an English plague-word these days.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 19, 2016 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

        Someone I work with says it constantly and it saddens me. I want to yell, “don’t talk in absolutes!!”

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 5:57 am | Permalink

      “So” seems to have replaced “well” as a thought-gathering placeholder.

      I agree with your point about “absolutely”. In Scotland we frequently get “definately” [sic] instead. Accent on the third (incorrect) syllable.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted July 20, 2016 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

        Oh, you just reminded me – haggis in the fridge. Haggis’n’tatties for scram! And that fine blue cheese from Tain for dessert. Sounding good.

    • Posted July 20, 2016 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

      I loath “absolutely” too, but, to be fair, those using it are generally forced into it looking to an alternative to “yes” to fend off an interviewer unleashing an amateurish and unceasing stream of closed questions.

      • E.A. Blair
        Posted July 20, 2016 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

        You mean “loathe”.

  60. Barbara Radcliffe
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    Radio National, (part of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation) urges us to listen to their morning and afternoon news commentary programs by telling us to ‘bookend your day’ with them. Perhaps l’m wrong, but I’ve always regarded bookend as a noun, not as a verb!

    • Posted July 20, 2016 at 7:22 am | Permalink

      Yes, turning verbs into nouns and nouns into verbs is silly.

      Impact as a verb

      Disrespect as a verb

      etc., etc.

      • Posted July 20, 2016 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

        Impact! Hate it. Whatever happened to “affect”?

        • E.A. Blair
          Posted July 20, 2016 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

          The same thing that happened to people who can’t tell the difference between “affect” and “effect”.

      • Posted July 22, 2016 at 2:57 am | Permalink

        Steven Pinker, in his book The Language Instinct (1994), points out that “easy conversion of nouns to verbs has been part of English grammar for centuries; it is one of the processes that make English English.” Elizabethan writers revelled in it: Shakespeare’s Duke of York, in Richard II (c1595), says “Grace me no grace, nor uncle me no uncle”, and the 1552 Book of Common Prayer includes a service “commonly called the Churching of Women”. (via)

        I’d hazard that you’re quite happy to phone your friends?

        /@

        • Posted July 22, 2016 at 3:17 am | Permalink

          PS. And you’re criticising Jerry’s, “I can’t brain today.”!!!

    • Posted July 22, 2016 at 2:49 am | Permalink

      Misplaced commas… 

      /@

  61. Robert Bray
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    As Kenneth Clark observed in ‘Civilisation,’ in the 18th century ‘awful’ and ‘terrible’ meant what they said, describing sublimity that scared the peawaddin’ out of you.

  62. Hempenstein
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    1) “Same-old, same-old,” in reply to asking the status of one’s well-being.

    2) “try and (do something)”, when “try to (do something)” is what the person really means.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

      That’s similar to my aversion to “alls I’m saying”. Why “alls”? Just say “all I’m saying.” I once heard myself say “alls” & almost fainted.

      • merilee
        Posted July 19, 2016 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

        Isn’t it annoying when we hear ourselves saying the things we hate??

        Anyways is another thing that bugs me.

        • HaggisForBrains
          Posted July 20, 2016 at 5:59 am | Permalink

          Yes.

  63. MP
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    After misusing the words “natural”, “organic” and “fresh”, seems it’s time to abuse the word “genius”.

    After reading this post, I remembered watching commercial (or billboard?) of “genius” water. And thanks to Google, I found out the “culprit”.

    Somehow the marketing people of this beverage company think that adding flavour of plants/vegetables to water makes the water somehow genius. Now, I can only hope that after drinking this water, I am next in line to Newton, Einstein and Hawking.

    Here is the link to Twitter feed and website of that product

    https://twitter.com/PureGeniusWater?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

    http://www.dangelobrands.ca/prod-beverages.shtml

  64. Cindy
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    “Like”
    “Totes”
    “Sweet” (as in, ‘that’s a sweet deal you got)
    “Good deal”

    I like, totes admit to using and abusing all of the above.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      In NZ, “sweet” is even better. People will say “sweet as” with no comparison. I’ve also heard, “Kiwi as” for “very Kiwi like”. 😀

    • Larry Smith
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

      I was waiting for someone to add “totes.” On a radio station out here in the L.A. area, the young, hip group of personalities consistently shorten words… the only example I can think of right now though is “totes adorbs,” meaning “totally adorable.”

  65. Vaal
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    Also, I seem to remember mentioning this one before, but this started getting on my nerves a number of years ago:

    “Perfect.”

    For some reason, that has become the default reply in the service industry.

    “What would you like to order?”

    “I’ll have the steak, thanks.”

    *Waitress takes menu*: “Perfect.”

    “Will that be cash or charge?”

    “I’ll pay cash.”

    “Perfect.”

    “When would you like to come in and pick that up?”

    “Wednesday”

    “Perfect.”

    Everything, everywhere, all interactions with anyone serving, the finishing reply for the interaction is now the word “Perfect.”

    • Kevin
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

      It’s a reduction of all sincere gratitude. This word is now considered the go to expression in my community for anything I do. Maybe I will jump on a moving car strip naked and throw tortillas to homeless and they will all cheer, “Perfect!”

      • Vaal
        Posted July 19, 2016 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

        Kevin,

        I’m glad someone noticed this aside from me!

        For a few years now I’ve felt like I live in the twilight zone. When I’m out with friends and, say, the waitress says “perfect” I bring up the issue with that word, and they all say “Really? Never noticed anyone saying perfect…”

        Even as we would have heard that word 3 times that night, by then.

        It was like being in a twilight zone where it seemed like I was the only one perceiving an obvious, ubiquitous phenomena.

        I feel just a tad less crazy that you have mentioned it as well.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted July 19, 2016 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

          When my nana visited from New Zealand, she noticed we all said “here you go” a lot. I hadn’t realized it, but I still say “here you go” when giving things to people. Kind of funny. I wonder if that started in the same way as “perfect”.

          • Vaal
            Posted July 19, 2016 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

            I wondered whether if the “perfect” reply was a Toronto, or Canadian thing. But I seem to remember picking it up in trips to the USA as well.

            As for us Canadians, once I heard of the cliche of Canadians saying “sorry” a lot, I have noticed this ever since, sorry to say.

            • Posted July 20, 2016 at 7:27 am | Permalink

              Perfect is becoming extremely widespread.

              I do occasionally use it when something someone has agreed to really does fit my needs exactly.

              And Canadians do say “sorry” a lot. 🙂

              • Vaal
                Posted July 20, 2016 at 8:19 am | Permalink

                Sorry about that.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      Everything, everywhere, all interactions with anyone serving, the finishing reply for the interaction is now the word “Perfect.”

      A different face of much the same coin – the way that the ONLY acceptable answer to any (customer) feedback sort of question is “totes amazeballs”. Ebay (sorry, “ebaY”) is particularly atrocious for this. I’m sorry, but delivering the item I ordered (not something else) in the timescale proposed and not charging me three times is not “totes amazeballs” customer service, it is service to the standards I expect from a professional organisation. So it gets feedback of “acceptable”, not “totes amazeballs”. You would think from their response that I was accusing them of eating someone else’s babies. So I just don’t leave feedback. (I am considerably more forgiving of amateurs selling tat from home, and do leave feedback for them.)

    • Posted July 22, 2016 at 3:00 am | Permalink

      “If it’s not, you’ll not get a tip!”

      /@

  66. phoffman56
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    Many uses of “multiple” but definitely not multiple uses of “many”. I suppose many “multiples” began with those who wished to sound scientific or even mathematical. But by now it’s a lost cause.

    Maybe there will be a 4-syllable word to replace the 3-syllable word which replaced the 2-syllable word. Any suggestions?

  67. kieran
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    “Brewskies” “StPatty’s day” and people who stand in doorways and stairs….

    • Posted July 20, 2016 at 7:29 am | Permalink

      A very common Wisconsin and Minnesota usage (brewskies).

      A verbal enhancement of “brews”.

  68. keith cook + / -
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    At the end of the day,
    especially when said by politicians.. Its not whats at the end of the day I’m funking concerned about, twat.

    Going forward,
    we’re going to make a left turn? the sun will shine, hmmmm, tomorrow will be better? worse? but where are we again?
    forward.

    • Claudia Baker
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

      “At the end of the day” is the worst! One hears it constantly. Grates on me big-time! Oops! “Big-time” is annoying as well, though I don’t hear it as much anymore.

      • Posted July 20, 2016 at 7:31 am | Permalink

        “Big time” was 1980s and is mostly gone.

        You need some phrase to indicate, for example, “when all is said and done”, “when all is saucered and blown”, [if you have any idea what that really means!] etc.

        “At the end of the day,” doesn’t bother me. Though it is overused.

        Do you have an alternate, more acceptable phrase?

  69. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    As of 3:25, the only annoying phrase any commentator has listed that I actually really really like is “drink the Kool-Aid”.

    A lot of these phrases once had a much narrower context once (like ‘facts on the ground’ as a diplomatic term referring to colonies and settlements) and have become inexcusably broadened, as to be stretched like a piece of silly putty almost to breaking point.

    Amusingly, the online Urban Dictionary defines “epic” as
    “the most overused word ever, next to fail. for even more asshole points, use them together to form “epic fail.””
    (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=epic)

  70. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    Best read with vocal yap

  71. S Dud
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    Playdate

  72. Posted July 19, 2016 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    Let’s look into the matter, shall we? I cringe every time some YouTuber says it.

    I can’t even. I also fear I have developed an allergic reaction to social justice metaconceptese of delegimized marginalizations of the lived experiences kind. The reaction is a mixture of suppressed laughter inside and disbelief that people seem to write this in all earnesty. I guess the fact that these people are usually deadly serious only enhances the effect.

    • merilee
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

      earnesty?? Is that a word? I love it anyhow.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

      Ha ha. I had a “I can’t even” kind of day today. I never used the phrase but today, I thought it to myself. Then I bought this:

      • merilee
        Posted July 19, 2016 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

        foxy;-)

      • W.Benson
        Posted July 19, 2016 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

        Agreed.

      • Posted July 19, 2016 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

        🙂

      • Posted July 19, 2016 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

        This is epic!

      • Dave
        Posted July 19, 2016 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

        Didn’t pay attention to the fox initially and thought it was a sake mug – my kind of sake drinking vessel!

      • Posted July 19, 2016 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

        So that is the cup from which the fox drinks his rice wine?

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted July 20, 2016 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

          Maybe I will fill it with sake as I’m going to take it to work and there is no other place where sake is desperately needed.

      • Posted July 22, 2016 at 3:07 am | Permalink

        At least it’ß not the (supposedly) University of North Texas mug.

        /@

  73. Posted July 19, 2016 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    1. That damned, ubiquitous word ‘like’. I’ve stopped listening to some podcasts because the word ‘like’ occurs so often I just can’t keep track of what (else) is being said. It’s a ‘filler’ used by speakers whose brains can’t keep up with their mouth and whose vocabulary would fit on a postage stamp.
    2. “I could care less”

    • Peter Gardner
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

      Yes. Especially people who say “I could care less” when they mean “I couldn’t care less.”

  74. curt nelson
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    Cognizant

  75. Posted July 19, 2016 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    Customer: I’ll have a flat white thanks.
    Waitress: Too easy.

    Everything, it seems, is now “Too easy.” The people who use it need to be vigilant; their bosses will start looking at cutting their hourly rate.

    • Claudia Baker
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

      “speak to”

      I noticed this at meetings at work. Someone addressing an issue would say: “I’d like to speak to” instead of “speak about”. It drove me crazy. Happily retired now and don’t have to endure anyone speaking “to” anything!

  76. Dave
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    how did “drawing a line in the sand” come to mean making a definite decision.

    • Posted July 20, 2016 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      Not so much a decision as a position that will be fiercely defended. At least in the usage I hear (rare).

  77. Peter Gardner
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    Where do I start?

    “Likely” used as an adverb as in “The sun will likely rise tomorrow”;

    “Reach out to” meaning “call” or “telephone”;

    “Pass away” or “pass” meaning “die” (or better still, “croak”);

    “Mansplain”. What reaction would you get if you started using “womansplain”.

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 6:04 am | Permalink

      Talking of adverbs, when were they abolished? I certainly didn’t get the memo.

      • Posted July 22, 2016 at 3:12 am | Permalink

        Their use stopped quite sudden.

        /@

        • HaggisForBrains
          Posted July 22, 2016 at 4:04 am | Permalink

          😀 😀

    • Posted July 20, 2016 at 7:41 am | Permalink

      OK, you’ve pointed out one I hate: Hopefully.

      I have almost fully trained myself to only say, “I hope”.

      Pass away will never pass away. It’s a softened way of expressing the idea.

      Mansplain: It’s perfectly acceptable to be sexist (as you please) if you are female. The stuff I’ve seen on womens’ FB pages simply appall me. I have always wanted to take the statement and invert it in a comment and then state, “It’s OK to be sexist if you’re female?”

      It’s part of the idea that if you are “oppressed” then you can do just what you complain about doing to you, to the “oppressors”, and feel righteous about it.

      I’ve heard several “community leaders” “of color” in the Minneapolis area explain to the public that it is impossible for a black person to be racist towards white people.

      Yeah, right.

  78. E-cubed
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    I don’t like when someone uses the phrase, “same difference” when I point out an inconsistency in their analysis or statement. It’s as if they know you’re right but don’t want to admit it and just say, “same difference”. Yes, it is the same difference but it isn’t the same thing.

  79. Peter Gardner
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    “It is what it is.” Inevitably prompts me to reply “Are you sure?”

    • Posted July 20, 2016 at 7:42 am | Permalink

      Substitute for “c’est la vie”.

      But very overused, I agree.

  80. MaryL
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    “By and large.” What does that mean?!

    • Posted July 19, 2016 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

      It means “in general” or “on the whole.” It is derived from sailing era nautical terms, but I can’t remember the details. I certainly do not hate it. It is example of the rich, evolutionary history of the English language.

      • MaryL
        Posted July 19, 2016 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

        I know how it’s used. If it has a nautical derivation, I’d like to know what that is. I appreciate the history and richness of Englsh, but some phrases grate.

        • Posted July 19, 2016 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

          I found this, Mary.

          “By and large is originally a sailing term meaning “alternately close-hauled and not close-hauled.” A ship that is sailing “close-hauled” is sailing as directly into the wind as possible (typically within about 45 degrees of the wind). The “by” part of the phrase means “close-hauled.” (This “by” also appears in the term full and by, meaning “sailing with all sails full and close to the wind as possible.”) “Large,” by contrast, refers to a point of sail in which the wind is hitting the boat “abaft the beam,” or behind the boat’s widest point. A 1669 example of a variant spelling of “by and large” gives us a sense of the range implied: “Thus you see the ship handled in fair weather and foul, by and learge” (S. Sturmy, Mariners Magazine). The suggestion of a wide range carries over into the term’s “in general” sense.”

          • MaryL
            Posted July 19, 2016 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

            Thanks. I learned something today.

            • HaggisForBrains
              Posted July 20, 2016 at 6:08 am | Permalink

              you should have a look at World Wide Words for lots more interesting explanations of common phrases. Warning, very addictive.

              • MaryL
                Posted July 20, 2016 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

                I’m a subscriber.

  81. Ed Neubauer
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    A couple of phrases I hate come from the right-wingers in my life.
    1. “Why do they have to shove it down our throats?” In response to court rulings or legislation they don’t like.
    2. “Well, you can always leave the country and live somewhere else” in response to criticism that questions any conservative ruling or military action.

    The next time I hear them say #1, I may respond by throwing #2 at them.

  82. David Embree
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    Hack. It the one I find useless. Guess they got tired of using the word “idea”.

    • Posted July 20, 2016 at 7:44 am | Permalink

      It’s “cool speak” I think.

  83. Posted July 19, 2016 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    It bothers me when people say “methodology” when they really just mean “method.” This happens a lot in scientific discourse, probably because people feel pressured to use higher-level words. The same goes for “terminology.” And in the above sentences, I feel like the period should actually go outside of the quotation marks. Which way is correct?

    • Merilee
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

      Not higher-level words: longer words.

    • bluemaas
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

      It has been my instruction that you placed the period properly.

      But. I agree with your take on this grammar !
      What does the Chicago Manual of Style offer ?

      http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/home.html

      Blue

      ps: I know the book title should appear as underscored. I do not know how to make that — or italicization — happen here.

      • Posted July 20, 2016 at 7:50 am | Permalink

        Use html tags.

        Important: In all cases, substitute for ]

        (If I wrote them correctly here, the computer would interpret them as tags — of course!)

        [i] [/i] for italics (put italicized phrase between these two markers)

        [b] [/b] for bold

        [u] [/u] for underline

        Go HERE for many more (including special characters).

        • Posted July 20, 2016 at 7:51 am | Permalink

          I tried to write in the instructions.

          Where I show [, substitute the less-then sign

          Where I show ], substitute the greater-then sign

          • Posted July 20, 2016 at 8:07 am | Permalink

            than, not then. Yikes.

            Must proofread.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      While I accept that the “style manuals” agree with Blue, usage is changing, at least in some circles. It is becoming more common in fora involving lots of programmers to treat quotation marks as simply another type of parenthesis. In which case the end-quote mark would be before the full stop.
      Not “right”, but definitely becoming adopted. Particularly amongst groups people of people whose fluency in mutual languages goes (more fluent to less fluent) something like “C” ; “C++” ; Java ; Intercal ; Brainfuck ; English ; i86a assembler.

      • Posted July 22, 2016 at 3:25 am | Permalink

        That’s certainly my preference, at odds with the company’s house style.

        But, especially when you’re describing how to use an application, including extraneous punctuation within the quoted text to be entered can create … interesting results.

        /@

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted July 22, 2016 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

          For this, you have the >code< and >/code< tags (and yes, I do know I’ve got the .LT. and .GT. operator symbols in the wrong order. I’m sure that readers can do the formula transfer themselves.

      • Posted July 22, 2016 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

        I definitely appreciate the logic of the programmers’ way of looking at it. This tortures me: I cringe when I write the punctuation inside of the quotation marks (for this type of situation) because the punctuation is *not* part of what’s being quoted; but I also cringe to see the punctuation outside because that goes against what I was taught in school and against what I’m used to seeing. Maybe I’ll just stop using quotation marks altogether…

  84. Ken Phelps
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    There is a meme that has spread among servers in restaurants: “How are those first few bites tasting?” I hear this at least 50% of the time when we dine out. At this point in time (yes, I know) we are just waiting for it and usually start laughing when the server asks us. No, we don’t explain it to them.

  85. John B.
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    For all intents and purposes

    For what it’s worth

    For the sake of the argument/for argument’s sake

    • Dave
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

      Hey, those are time honored expressions you’re trashing there!

    • darrelle
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      I thought it was “for all intents and porpoises?

      • Posted July 20, 2016 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

        No. It’s “for all intensive purposes”.

        Get your mistaken idioms right. That’s one of the tenants of my life philosophy.

        • darrelle
          Posted July 21, 2016 at 6:22 am | Permalink

          Intense porpoises?

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      For all intents and purposes

      For all intense and purposes.
      Seriously, I’ve seen this “in the wild”.

  86. Larry
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    The word “brilliant” when applied to athletes. Now, maybe in the U.K. context they’ve managed to insert the word into the appropriate context, but when used in American football, as in “Oh, what a brilliant juke by the running back!” it sounds forced.

    • darrelle
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      So, what’s the difference? The accent?

      • Larry
        Posted July 20, 2016 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

        The accent? Ha, no. I accept the usage of the word as applied to an intellectual endeavor, not a physical one. However, I am open to the possibility of being wrong.

  87. Dave
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    86 comments – someone touched a nerve. Have to admit I’ve never run across “throwing shade” in my recollection. Of course, I’m relatively new to this country.

  88. bluemaas
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    … names of newly on – the – market and fresh – from – R & D pharmaceuticals !

    Why can’t they have the name BCD#147, say, as in ‘Breast Cancer Drug #147’ or, as in the case of Ms Melanoma Trump and the drug “Keytruda,” the name MT#666, for Melanoma Therapy #666 ? cuz Keytruda ! wtf – relevance, in any way, is that one ?

    Somebody actually has this greeting card – sentiment gig — and gets paid for it: thinking up such gewgaw and folderol !

    I want out !
    Blue

    • Posted July 20, 2016 at 7:53 am | Permalink

      Companies are afraid to roll out any new product without consulting a branding company for the trade name.

      Most from the company I work for make me cringe.

  89. Larry
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    Just to clarify, I am not saying athletes are not, or cannot be, brilliant. My comment is about sports commentators when they use “brilliant” to describe a physical motion.

  90. Dave
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    “And then he/she goes …” instead of he/she said. Drives me nuts.

    • Merilee
      Posted July 19, 2016 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

      Even worse is he/she is like….

      • Doug
        Posted July 21, 2016 at 12:19 am | Permalink

        Or “all.” “So he’s all, ‘Where are you goin’?” And I’m like, ‘Out.’ And he’s all ‘That’s not an answer.'”

  91. Dave
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    Did I mention single sentence paragraphs that seem to be the main format in newspapers (electronic editions) these days? Not to mention “news articles” that are nothing more than just enough words to tie a bunch of pasted tweets together! (This post has now got me really grumpy!)

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

      Did I mention single sentence paragraphs that seem to be the main format in newspapers (electronic editions) these days?

      As someone who is learning German, I look forward to the legendary single-sentence multi-page paragraphs, when the verb is on the last page of the sentence.
      Dickens? Why is the name “Dickens” rattling round my head?

      • darrelle
        Posted July 21, 2016 at 6:33 am | Permalink

        Dickens indeed. Call me nekulturny but I’ve never enjoyed actually reading anything by Dickens. Slugging my way through a Middle English edition of Le Morte d’Arthur was much less tedious and more interesting.

        • Merilee
          Posted July 21, 2016 at 9:03 am | Permalink

          OK- had to look up nekulturny. Thanks for the new word. I, otoh, get a real kick out of Dickens, especially his wonderfully eccentric characters.

          • darrelle
            Posted July 21, 2016 at 11:00 am | Permalink

            I have to agree with you on Dickens characters, and I’ll even admit that several other aspects of his writing are good. I just find the overly verbose, often torturously serpentine writing style tedious after a while. And there are a whole bunch of whiles in a Dickens novel!

            • Merilee
              Posted July 21, 2016 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

              Whiles??

              Andrew Davies has done some great screenplays for various (BBC?) mini-series. Bleak House springs first to mind. I hardly ever listen to audio books, but have enjoyed some Dickens on our cross-country car treks. Some really good readers!

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted July 21, 2016 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

              That’s my exact dislike of Dickens. I also feel that way about Melville’s Moby Dick which is the reason I didn’t take the American Literature course when I did my English degree – Moby Dick was on the course!

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted July 21, 2016 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

          Slugging my way through a Middle English edition of Le Morte d’Arthur was much less tedious and more interesting.

          Actually, having read some of that (why? It was definitely after I’d left school. I forget why.) – you’re right!

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted July 21, 2016 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

          I completely agree! I don’t like Dickens either and I really liked ready Morte d’Arthur (which is one of the more difficult things to read in Middle English).

          • darrelle
            Posted July 22, 2016 at 9:53 am | Permalink

            A funny coincidence. Lately my daughter and I have been watching Xena Warrior Princess episodes on Netflix and we watched one last night. Guess which episode? The one based (rather loosely) on Dickens’s A Christmas Carol of course.

            I love cheese of nearly all kinds but the ending of that episode was Limburger-like (Oops, now I’ve got a B-52s earworm going. Not bad as far as earworms go.) gag inducing. They just happen to run across a poor couple with a baby and Gabriel kindly gives them a donkey she had recently acquired. Shortly thereafter a star begins to shine unusually brightly.

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted July 22, 2016 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

              Ugh to on the nose!

    • Posted July 22, 2016 at 3:48 am | Permalink

      It improves readability on tablets and phones.

      I’ve published a white paper using “tweets” as a format – 100 single-sentence paragraphs of 140 characters or less (or fewer, if you must).

      /@

  92. Dave
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    Less instead of fewer. “x amount of” Gawd, I’m going to be up all night with these!

    • Posted July 20, 2016 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      Yes, even though Pinker says we should get over it, I hate this misuse:

      Fewer / many if you can count it

      Less / more if you can’t count it

      How much less pints of water do we have?

      How much less water do we have?

      There were to much players on the field.

      There were too many players on the field.

      How many land do you own?

      How much land do you own?

      How many acres do you own?

      How much acres do you own?

  93. serendipitydawg
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

    I am seriously late to this party (and I haven’t finished more than a third of the comments)… in the UK there is an ever increasing use of the phrase “get go”. We have several words to express this concept that have been in English for a very long time, the main one being the third word of the King James translation of the babble. I assume some middle age social media equivalent gifted us “out set” that gave spleen to fogies of yore, though outset raises not a hackle in this fogey.

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 6:11 am | Permalink

      Early doors!

  94. Nat
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    1) “promise” for “swear”
    2) “lay” for “lie”

    • Posted July 20, 2016 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      The battle for lie is almost lost.

      People lie down.

      People lay carpet.

      But the battle is lost I think.

      • Nat
        Posted July 20, 2016 at 8:11 am | Permalink

        Alas, I agree.

        I have a feeling that there’s something cultural at work more than just evolutionary simplifying–no one wants to be caught “lying.” Similarly with “promise” & “swear” — IMO it has to do with an idea that it is somehow taking the deity’s name in vain….

  95. E.A. Blair
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    I hate “reason why” as in “…the reason why I did that…”

    When you think about it, the “why” is totally unnecessary unless, of course, you are using “reason” as a verb, as Tennyson did.

    • Posted July 20, 2016 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

      This redundancy bothers me, also. But do you know who always, always, always says “reason why”?

      Sean Carroll.

  96. Gayle Ferguson
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

    “My bad”. I hate this. I want to reply with “my bad what?”. It’s not a bloody noun!

    • Posted July 20, 2016 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      +1

    • Richard
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      I always thought this one was a “Valley girl” translation of “mea culpa”. 🙂

  97. haymanj
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps we have different usages and phrases in Australia; two that ‘curl me up’ are ‘benchmark’, meaning perhaps an acceptable standard and ‘let’s workshop this’ meaning ‘I do not agree but let us discuss it’.

    • Posted July 22, 2016 at 3:56 am | Permalink

      Oh, but “benchmark” is long established with this meaning.

      /@

  98. Rhonda
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 12:03 am | Permalink

    I hate the word “bespoke”; I don’t know why, I just hate it.

  99. Posted July 20, 2016 at 1:06 am | Permalink

    One of my long-term no-nos is the way the word tragedy is used to denote something despairingly sad. That is not what it means. (No, I have not checked the dictionary. I know that I learned and that is correct enought, thank you.) It denotes a story in which a person (who may be a real bastard) not only realizes how things have come about as the result of his actions or character, but either he or an author expresses it magnificently. Yes, magnificently.

    • Posted July 20, 2016 at 1:07 am | Permalink

      Forgot: “I’m good.” when one means “I’m fine.” Whether she is good or not is my opinion, not hers.

      By the way, I have been waiting for this question for a long time. Thanks!

      • HaggisForBrains
        Posted July 20, 2016 at 6:14 am | Permalink

        Thank you, John. I hate the way this has become common usage.

    • Dominic
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 3:59 am | Permalink

      Ahem… ‘no-noes’ is the correct spelling!
      😉

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      I shall attempt to not let spittle fly from my lips as I type.
      whenever smeon news flack or documentary maker describes “treacherous weather”, or a volcano or some other force of nature, I have to restrain myself. I wear a harness, and have bolts mounted through convenient joists, studs and structural walls.
      Could someone please show me the oath of allegiance, faith or whatever which the weather (etc) signed? Could someone show me the mind that these impersonal forces used to understand the bloody agreement before they signed it. Is there any record of the diplomacy by which the negotiations were carried out.
      They are blind, impersonal forces of nature, and they’re going to kill you without even caring that you exist. If the fact that you can end up dead and there will be no subsequent guilt may disturb you, but that is one of the things that life does. And for most people, it is going to be a mind-free microbe or mutation that is going to kill you.
      It’s this sort of thinking that led to domesticated animals being put on trial for murder. Then being convicted and executed.
      RANT MODE : OFF.
      Haggis for tea, if not brains.

      • HaggisForBrains
        Posted July 22, 2016 at 4:15 am | Permalink

        Enjoy!

    • Posted July 22, 2016 at 4:00 am | Permalink

      It means “goat song.”

      /@

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 22, 2016 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

        Indeed it does.

  100. Posted July 20, 2016 at 1:29 am | Permalink

    Interd*sciplinary.

    Oy, does this one rankle me. Isn’t interd*sciplinary research more the norm than not these days? How often are papers published for which all the coauthors are from the same field?

    My PhD program calls itself interd*sciplinary, as if to call out how special it is, rankling me with a sense of disdain. At the same time, I’m actively working on projects in two different fields. So do many folks, though. And they don’t need the jargon.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      It’s a buzzword. Soon it’ll be a swear word. Like “nuclear” was a buzz word in the 50s-60s and a swear word by the 90s.

    • Posted July 22, 2016 at 4:06 am | Permalink

      “How often are papers published for which all the coauthors are from the same field?”

      I’m puzzled. Why isn’t that still the norm? Surely, post papers published in, say, Zeitschrift für Physik C are still written by coauthors working in particle physics … ?

      /@

      PS. One of the journals I published in during my Ph.D.!

  101. John B
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 1:40 am | Permalink

    Agree with all the above Brothers, Sisters, Comrades (miss you Hitch)
    I’ve noticed, in the UK at least, that immersive and existential litter many pieces of text where they serve no purpose other than to “big up” the writer (OMG this offends on ” so many levels”).
    I nearly forgot those beauties “elevator pitch” and “deep dive”.

    Sent from my iPad

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      To me, “elevator pitch” is 10 degrees (the maximum pitch under which the elevator will work, and “deep dive” is limited by the length of the umbilical cable.

    • Posted July 22, 2016 at 4:09 am | Permalink

      But “elevator pitch” is really quite a vivid metaphor: A pithy sales pitch that is short enough to get through in the time it takes to travel between floors.

      British “lift pitch”. 😁

      /@

  102. bric
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 3:15 am | Permalink

    Organic food. And they don’t even smile when one asks for inorganic potatoes.
    ‘Top of the hour’ been puzzling over what that could mean for years.
    . . . and she was like ‘I know’, and then she goes ‘he was well hot’ and you know you just knew didn’t ya? (heard on a bus).

    Brexit

    • Posted July 22, 2016 at 4:12 am | Permalink

      « ‘Top of the hour’ been puzzling over what that could mean for years. »

      Have you never seen an analog watch?

      “Bottom of the hour” = half-past.

      /@

  103. dodger
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 3:24 am | Permalink

    “Incredible”. When did this word cease to mean not-credible? Amazing,stupendous,beyond belief,excellent,terrific, wonderful, etc. Drives me nuts.

  104. Coolred38
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 3:42 am | Permalink

    In my neck of the woods the word “thug” is used in every situation in which someone has interacted with the police. I counted the word 9 times in one article once.

    • Dominic
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 3:56 am | Permalink

      Presumably they wander around strangling people!

  105. Dominic
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 3:54 am | Permalink

    Pre-planned – what other sort of plan is there??????!
    “so” starting a sentence when it is not consequent upon any previous statement…
    Direct descendant – what other sort is there? Say DESCENDANT!!!

    • Posted July 22, 2016 at 4:19 am | Permalink

      A spur-of-the-moment plan?

      So, “direct”, here, is synonymous with “lineal”; so the other sort is “collateral”.

      /@

  106. Dominic
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 4:05 am | Permalink

    “Can I get a coffee?”
    NO! You cannot ‘get’ a coffee – the barista will get it, or make it we hope, “can I HAVE a coffee” is what you should say!

    • Don Quijote
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 4:44 am | Permalink

      May I?

  107. Richard
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    A few that get me:

    “At this current moment in time” instead of “now”.

    UK TV news reporters who, after something bad has happened somewhere, say that the family/neighbours/community/town concerned “are struggling to come to terms with” whatever happened.

    Management BS such as “leverage” (as a verb), “putting our weight on our front foot” (I don’t know about you, sunshine, but I have left and right feet, not front and back ones), “punching above our weight” and “going for the low-hanging fruit”.

    Also, my sister has just had a loft conversion done at her house, and I am told that when our teenage great-nephew saw it he described it as “well sick” – apparently that signified approval.

    Finally, “pwned”, and “noms” for food (sorry, PCC(E), but you did ask).

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      and “going for the low-hanging fruit”.

      Isn’t that what the fox tried before realising that the fruit in question were sour?

    • Peter Gardner
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

      The “front foot” idiom may be derived from cricket. The batsman puts his weight predominantly on the front foot or the back foot, depending on what kind of shot he is playing.

  108. Posted July 20, 2016 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    Adding “The thing is, is ” to a simple statement such as “She has a new job”:
    “The thing is, is that she’s got a new job.”

    • Merilee
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 7:40 am | Permalink

      I HATE the thing is, is. I even heard our very articulate President say it once. Where the hell did it come from?

      • Nat
        Posted July 20, 2016 at 8:15 am | Permalink

        It’s what is sometimes referred to as Mamet-speak. I heard it first in one or another (:all) of the Mamet movies starring Joe Mantegna.

    • Tom
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      Yeees, how did I forget that one? Hurts my ears every time. My opinion is, is that double copula are the worst. Another one I forgot to mention: journey for lengthy process. If you’re not traveling, it’s not a journey!

  109. Posted July 20, 2016 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    “issue”.

  110. Isaac
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    My personal most grating neologism du jour is feels when used as a noun, as in: “This video of a kitten just gave me all the feels.”

    Or

    “Watching that toddler hear for the first time got me right in the feels.”

    Even writing these examples made me gag.

  111. Merilee
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Changing up instead of just changing🙀

    Possibly comes from baseball pitchers?

  112. Cindy
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    “Intersectional”
    “Die Cis Scum”
    “Mansplain/Cisplain”
    “Cisheteronormative”
    “Check your privilege”
    “Problematic”
    “Empower”
    “lift up”
    “microaggression”
    “Kyriarchy”
    “white capitalist patriarchy”
    “dominant culture”
    “Manspreading”
    “marginalized”
    “system of oppression”
    “punching up”
    ‘freeze peach”

  113. Larry
    Posted July 20, 2016 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    OK, two others:
    Deconstruct. Post-modernists LOVE this word, and apparently wanted to make a claim to fame by not using the word “analyze” in order to distance themselves from their elders.

    Extraordinary: Why does this not mean “so very, very ordinary.” Or, is that a redundancy? As a kid, I thought extraordinary meant something so average that it was uninspiring.

    Is there such a thing as “very average”?! Maybe I would feel more comfortable replacing extraordinary with metaordinary.

    • Posted July 20, 2016 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

      The “extra” in “extraordinary” comes from its Latin meaning: “outside” or “beyond” (the range of ordinary). It’s the colloquial sense of “extra” as “more” that’s a bit of a head-scratcher.

    • Posted July 21, 2016 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      Derrida didn’t seem to use “deconstruct” to mean analyze, but rather to mean “say any BS I like about”, which others inherited to varying degrees.

      (There is a sense in which you’re right, but that would be anathema, because supposedly “deconstruction” is what “cultural studies” and “continental philosophers” do, as opposed to those “analytic” philosopher.)

  114. Cindy
    Posted July 21, 2016 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    “people of color”

    I hate that phrase more than anything. It is supposed to be “inclusive” but it just comes across as a reworking of “colored”.

  115. haymanj
    Posted July 22, 2016 at 1:07 am | Permalink

    Now the Reverse, please.
    May we have some phrases, even sentences that should be retained for all of eternity. I nominate:
    ‘light a candle to’
    ‘the cupboard is empty’
    ‘It will all be the same, a thousand years from now’, and
    ‘A man going past in a cart with a bolting horse would never notice’ (as a response, for example, when the Supreme Commander-in-Chief suggests the front lawn needs mowing).

    • E.A. Blair
      Posted July 22, 2016 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      One of my favorite words is a synonym for “lackey” or “flunky”, and is derived from the notion that the subordinate always stands or walks behind the master. The word is “catchfart”, and I found it while I was idly browsing through the Oxford English Dictionary. Yes, I browse dictionaries. To use it in a sentence:

      Ever since he dropped out of the presidential race, Governor Christie has been Donald Drumpf’s catchfart.

  116. E.A. Blair
    Posted July 22, 2016 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Another very annoying term is “optics” instead of “appearances” when talking about someone’s (usually a politician’s) actions, as in “The candidates optics were not good.”

    Yuck!

  117. Wayne Tyson
    Posted July 23, 2016 at 12:41 am | Permalink

    The one that I howl about the most is when a single terrorist is referred to as a “lone wolf.”

    That glorifies the terrorist in the minds of the “copycats” and other impressive adolescents. Who wouldn’t like to be known as a lone wolf, conjuring up images of a lone hero riding to the rescue of a fair damsel?

  118. Wayne Tyson
    Posted July 23, 2016 at 12:43 am | Permalink

    Copy me on new responses, please.

  119. Alexander
    Posted July 23, 2016 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    “Trending.” I did a word search through this thread and nobody mentioned this word yet. I can’t stand it, it is like following a stupid fashion just because it is fashion. Just running along with the other sheep. Grrrr…


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