cringe-worthy part II

I've written about word aversion before— words that when spoken or read give one's viscera a toss.

Language Log, a group blog about language and linguistics originally started at the Institute for Research in Cognitive Science at the UPenn (so they really mean business!), makes a distinction between word aversion and word rage.

"Note that we are NOT talking about "word rage" ....where people get angry at jargon or slang... or upset because a word or phrase is felt to be incorrectly used, or annoyed at language that they perceive as redundant, overly complicated, pretentious, a cliché, trendy, or politically incorrect. Rather, [word aversion is] where someone finds a word "revolting", "ugly", "disgusting" in itself."

I realize it is often difficult to separate words from their associations, if not actual meanings. Previously I wrote
"words that make me wince are veggies and yummy. I also hate tummy*... I recently got an email from a potential date that used the word "tummy" prominently and it nearly made me physically ill. I still get a shiver of disgust just thinking about it. ...."
In truth, I probably just dislike the associations of those words rather than the sounds themselves because "gummy" doesnt bother me at all.

Since my earlier post, a few other offending words have accrued in my mental list:  jegging, webinar
, zumba, hubby, tootsies, gastropub, urethra, zesty.  A friend adds:  orgasm, classy, smegma, phlegm. Who's to argue with that list? Oh and she agrees with me on webinar ("so inelegant!"). I add, as an aside, the store Shoegasm literally makes me avert my eyes.

My cousin made an unusual submission of words he dislikes because of their semantic imprecision
their "first impression is not what they really mean." Among them: degustation, deracinated, exiguous, phlegmatic. This list is perhaps too lorgnettes-and-lace-pocket-squares for this post, Bob, but thanks for being a sport. (Ironically, I actually like the way these sound.)

Interestingly, I discovered Huffpost had a piece on
Words So Disgusting That It's Hard To Hear just a few days ago. Perhaps revulsion is simply in the air.

* perhaps I hate the tinny quality of those words: Tinny and Woody words


Anonymous said...


you are going to love this, then!

Anonymous said...

sorry. heres something cool to make up for it...


angela said...

OMG! the Terry Gilliam film is great! What great tips he gives— love it.


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