Thursday, December 3, 2009

Words I can live without

A spontaneous list: bluesy, craft (as a verb), critique (as a noun or verb, unless you’re Immanuel Kant in translation), eatery, gravitas (unless you’re a Roman), hereby, hone (as a metaphor), indicate, jazzy, quality (as an adjective), richly, subtle.

These words can annoy one at a time, as in a New York Times headline this morning: “Sundance Tries to Hone Its Artsy Edge.” Several of these words together can make things unbearable. A made-up example:

The poems are already richly crafted, but they still could benefit from subtle critique.
You are hereby invited to craft your own list in a comment.

A related post
Some Enchanted Evening (“words never to use in a poem”)

comments: 11

Ben said...

organic - as in something created from the 'bottom up'

brand - when used in reference to a political figure or ideology



(fill-in-the-blank)-gate - a way to name something as a scandal (after Watergate), like "Climategate" or "Bittergate"


Elaine Fine said...

The thought of referring to a restaurant as an "eatery" turns my stomach.

Count Reeshard said...

'Gift' as a verb.

'Artisanal' is getting under my nails, but that could owe to my living amidst the foodies of Marin County.

I wish I could remember the exact words of my favorite curmudgeon, Bernard Black of the deathless Black Books (UK sitcom). Never fond of foot traffic at the best of times, Bernard excoriates a customer: "You just used 'party' as a verb. Leave my shop immediately!"

Daughter Number Three said...





(covering ears) Oh, the pain!

Brianne said...

Whipple (a street in Chicago).

One (as subject replacement for a person).

stefan said...

I nominate the phrase "bad optics," a euphemism meaning something like, "that looks bad." For example: those Canadian civil servants probably deserved a raise, but in troubled economic times, the pay hikes are bad optics. Ugh.

Rachel said...

As single words following a sentence:

Obviously, Obvs., Naturally, Natch., Necessary, Trust.

As in "We drank red wine and ate cheese. Naturally." Or "I decided to skip work today and sleep in instead. Necessary." Obvs.

Seth Raab said...

At my job, I'm often asked if I have the "bandwidth" to take on a project (meaning, obviously, availability.) Aside from the fact they usually give me the project regardless of my answer, I find the term itself pretty absurd.

I also have personal issues with the word "gestalt" in casual conversation.

And I've recently heard people use "totes" as an abbreviation for "totally." Just let that sink in for a minute.

Michael Leddy said...

Some of these I know (and avoid, or try to), but some are new to me (“totes,” yikes!). Thanks, everyone.

Elaine Fine said...

This evening at dinner we discussed the phrase, "take it to the next level." I think that phrase belongs in the company of the words and phrases mentioned in this post.

Take what where?

Michael Leddy said...

“Take it to the next level” appears in Lois Beckwith’s Dictionary of Corporate Bullshit (2006). I’m looking forward though to applying the expression in a new way when I teach the Inferno next spring.