Hated Words from a Word Lover

Everyone has words they hate to hear. For Wrestler #1 it “moist.” He covers his ears and groans, “Stop!” whenever he hears it. CoCo says she allergic to yellow and doesn’t even want to hear the word. Loved-one hates the term “pro-life.” As he says, “Who’s against life?”

My “hates” are less about specific word and more about phrases. Here’s a few I gathered up this week.

Cerulean blue sky

What color is that, anyways? And who looks at the sky and says that? No. That’s a kindergarten crayons blue. It’s a robin egg blue. It’s an angry blue. It’s even a clear blue. I have not reference for Cerulean. When I hear or read that color, I stop and wonder, where are my paint chips?

At the granular level

This just makes me wonder what size granules? Are we talking salt grains? Or are we more at the pea-gravel level? Are we waist-deep in grains of sand? Or are we talking grains of rice. Probably because I have experience with particle size determination, I always want to say, “Are we talking coarse, fine, or very fine granules?” or “What size sieve did we use to get to this granular level?”

Morphing nouns into verbs

I cringe at most. “Pumpage” instead of “pumped material;” “medaled” instead of “won a medal;” “we dialoged” instead of “we had a dialog,” or simply, “we talked.” (Cuz, you know, dialog implies two people, not a whole room full of people.) How about “caterpillered,” as in “his eyebrows caterpillered across his brow.” Good Lord, I hope that didn’t really happen.

Okay, I admit it can be sort of fun to play with this ones in everyday language. Say for example, “We cupcaked this afternoon.” How about “cool the boilage after five minutes.”

Shelter in Place

All sorts of images come up for me. People ducking wherever they are, seeking shelter under cars, in ditches, beside lamp posts. A duck and cover situation. Maybe it’s because I remember bomb drills. Maybe it’s Miss E’s experience with active shooter drills. Besides, where else can you shelter? Where do you shelter when you shelter out of place? Does that happen when you jump into a stranger’s back seat and shout ‘get out!’

So… (at the beginning of every sentence)

I hear it a lot in radio and television interviews. It’s used as a placeholder of sorts. Instead of Umm, or just a pause while the speaker thinks. Are we so afraid of a little dead space?

Abbreviations for everything

I’m okay with FBI and CIA. Do we really need to say POTUS, when President is just as good? What about KFC, DD, WW, and FF. Does anyone know what TED (as in TED Talk) mean? If you knew it meant “Tell Me, Explain to me, Describe to me,” would you wonder why we any of these. I mean, wouldn’t “Talk” be enough?

That’s a really good question.

Sometimes speakers couple this with ‘so,’ as in “That’s a really good qestion. So..” I’m not sure if this gives the speaker a little more time to think up an answer, see “So…” above, or if it’s a way to make the questioner feel intelligent right before the speaker gives a really complex answer.

I’m really glad you asked that.

Why? Because it’s a really good question? Because you’re ready with an answer; it’s one you practiced and hoped someone would finally ask this really good question.

I bet you’re asking if I’ve heard or read any phrases that I really like.

So… That’s a really good question. While listening to the BBC, I heard someone explain the COVIDing in the Ukraine. The interviewee said,

Ukraine’s health system is not fit for use.


I think I’ll try to slip “fit for use,” into my vocabulary. I can use it in so many ways. Only certain acronyms are fit for use. Shelter where in a place fit for use. That question is fit for use. So..when will this be fit for use.

What words or phrases get under your skin? Are there some that tickle you? Please tell me I’m not alone.