Words and phrases I hate

November 18, 2019 • 2:34 pm

All our excursions and landings in Antarctica for the day have been cancelled because of very high winds (ca. 50 mph) and very low temperatures. Even a few minutes on deck without gloves or a hat will freeze your extremities. The sea is covered with bits of ice, large and small, and I’m not lecturing today.

So what’s there to do except engage in a favorite way of blowing off steam: noting the words and phrases I hate? Today I have three, but two come from the most reliable source of bad language: HuffPost. The other is a new phrase that grates on me most painfully.

I can’t guarantee that I haven’t mentioned any of these before.

1.) “Fierce”. This is now used not to denote fearless aggressiveness, but simply “something admirable”, as in the HuffPost article below (click on screenshot). By eviscerating the word’s meaning, its users show a laziness that’s mistaken for cleverness by the young folk. (Okay Generation Zers; see below).

2.) “All the feels.” This one really burns my onions. It’s usually used in the phrase “X brings all the feels”, meaning “X [a book, t.v. show or the like] makes you experience a panoply of feelings.” Here’s a HuffPost example:

Need I point out that the noun at issue is “feelings”, not “feels”? (The latter is a coarse phrase for sexual groping, which makes it even more inappropriate for the woke youth who employ this phrase.)

3.)OK Boomer.” This is an ageist term used to dismiss the arguments of someone of the Baby Boom generation (conventionally those born between 1946 and 1964, a group that includes me). It was, for example, used to dismiss Barack Obama’s thoughts when he recently criticized social justice warriors who try to effect societal change by hurling insults online. OK Barack!

The phrase is becoming so common that it even has its own Wikipedia page noting its usage and pejorative intent. But it’s odious, for it tries to dismisses ideas and ideologies based simply on the age of those propounding them. By all means go after ideas that may be common among those of a certain generation, old or young, but don’t use this patronizing phrase as a substitute for argument.  One might as well say, “OK Millennial” or “OK Generation Zer” with just as much effect. It’s ironic that this palpably ageist term is used mostly by people who decry ageism.

Get off my lawn! And, as usual, I invite you to submit your own pet peeves about language.

176 thoughts on “Words and phrases I hate

  1. current not-so-favorite corporate speak

    “reach out” & sundry variants

    the list in this category is long & painful

  2. My response to number 3 would be, “do have any thing to say aside from recognizing my age cohort?”

    (I fall at the very young end of the birth year range you cite.)

    1. I loathe ‘trending’. An idiotic word for a meaningless occurrence. (Trending which way?)

      Even more, I loathe the expression ‘hashtag [anything]’, as used by braindead commentators to terminate some trivial ‘news’ item. Wtf is it supposed to mean?

      (On the other hand,I am partial to ‘wtf’, as should be evident 😉


      1. “Quality” is one that always bothered me and seemed to be used more frequently in the early 2000s. What kind of quality? Good quality or bad quality? In this context, it’s used to imply “good quality” and its use is very mainstream now.

  3. The apparent offspring of OK Boomer is the twitter hashtag #oktrumper which caused me a smile (and has some amusing cartoons and comments, if trashing the chief executive is how you want to spend your procrastination time).

  4. I was recently bamboozled and annoyed, then simply annoyed, by the repeated use of “owned” as a transitive verb in the sense of “To be made a fool of; To make a fool of; To confound or prove wrong; embarrassing someone: Being embarrassed.” https://www.urbandictionary.com/defie.php?term=Owned. “Y really owned X,” “X was owned by Y”. At first I thought it must be referring to some B&D situation that I was unaware of in context, but it’s this other transitive usage that I must consciously define in my head, each time I read it.

    This annoys me as much as the alarmingly increasing prevalence of T-glottilization in American English, as if everybody is now supposed to speak Cockney (is this cultural appropriation or cultural/class leveling?). Might this be due to years of British dramas on US TV?

      1. Just thinking about pronouncing the word “glottal” with a glottal stop at the double “t” gives me an unpleasant feeling, not quite like nails on a chalkboard but close. Don’t know why but it does. And I read that it’s happening in Canada, too. You’re just lucky you’ve been able to avoid it. I hear that Kellyanne Conway does it sometimes but I can’t stand her so can’t listen to her.

        A Google search reveals that many are puzzled and dismayed bu* in many instances i*’s a ma*er of age, in other cases i*s geography, and i*s even increasingly used in Received Bri*ish English.

        1. AAAAARRRRGGGHHHH – no Ts to leave out. And to think that Brits used to pronounce their Ts more than “we” did, even elide them into the next word. To think of Kellyanne doing it in her squeaky voice turns me off tomorrow’s breakfast😖

          That non-voiced T is often combined with V for Th…muver, bruver, ad nauseum.

          1. Combining the non-voiced T with the V-slur is like spitting into a toilet bowl full of piss. Rather, that’s what just thinking about it makes me want to do. Hiccups and baby talk.

            Ironic cruelty of the throat that the word “glottal” is onomatopoeic in that pronouncing it involves the very letters whose omission create(s?)* the stop. I think the word could just as well have been derived from “gloss” and then it would have been a “glossal” stop but “gloss” diverged in meaning. https://www.etymonline.com/word/glottis
            * I’ve lost the sense of what should agree with what, so offer both.

      2. Don’t know if how we pronounce “Toronto” in Canada qualifies. It’s how we know someone isn’t Canadian.

    1. The T-glottilization of American English first stood out to me during the 2016 presidential campaign season (which seemed to start in 2014) when I heard so many people, including teevee commentators, pronounce Hillary and Bill’s last name CLIN-in.

      1. You noticed it far earlier than I. I began noticing it a couple of years ago but now, at least in my experience, it’s become damned near ubiquitous. I am exaggerating a bit but I notice it because it grates on my ears.

        Whatever its origin/s, and surely there are several contributing factors, its use has burgeoned with (alarming) frequency and will soon become standard (once old fogeys, and I’m one, die off).

    2. I find that use of ‘owned’ mildly annoying. Even more annoying is the jargon usage of ‘own’ in a corporate setting, meaning (apparently) ‘take responsibility for’. ‘We want you to own this problem’. No, it’s a problem, nobody *owns* it, the term is meaningless.


      1. I don’t like that either and I’ve found that sense of ‘own’ has permeated much of contemporary society, especially on the left and among the woke (pardon SS-T but I need another word if that’s annoying), perhaps also in certain religious,substance abuse recovery, and therapeutic milieus. At least I can readily get the meaning even if I don’t like the use of the word. The meaning of ‘own’ that I criticized above is something that I must constantly and consciously define whenever I see it because the language areas of my brain rebel at the meaning of triumphing over or being defeated by someone.

    3. Is that like an over-annunciation of the “t”? I can hear that.

      Did you ever read about why people sound the way they do in old movies? Something called – I think – trans Atlantic accent? Essentially, the movie industry in the US (maybe elsewhere too) used an accent that would theoretically appeal to both sides of the pond. The accent was, apparently, taught in elementary schools.

      1. I think part of the mid-Atlantic accent one hears in old US movies is also due to golden-age Hollywood studio moguls’ having hired fading British stage actors to come across the pond to teach allocution to aspiring American film actors.

          1. Right you are, merilee. I’m so used to speaking and writing of a criminal defendant’s “right of allocution” at the time of sentencing that the word rolled trippingly from my fingertips.

            Thanks for the correction.

          2. Perhaps Ken momentarily conflated elocution with allocution, meaning “a formal speech giving advice or a warning” – as in “the daily allocutions of the Pontificate” (from the OED online), because a lawyer with excellent elocution might well engage in allocution.

      2. Interesting! Yes, I have noticed that sort of 50s newscaster accent. A bit of Walter Cronkite, although his voice was very distinct.

  5. I just tell younger people, “I’m a boomer and I’m okay,” sung to the tune of “I’m a lumberjack and I’m okay” (Monty Python).

    1. If I may introduce a second stanza.

      “…never been Republican, so please go away!”

      (I’m Gen X, but I blame the GOP for most of America’s ills the past 50 years, not a generation.)

  6. Can’t the OK, Boomer be argued to be not agist, but critical of the views developed from experience in that time period? Example: “yeah sure, because you grew up in THOSE conditions. It’s nothing like now!”

    As lame as that is, it’s pointing to the … wait for it…


  7. I think OK Boomer is kind of funny, even though I am one. It’s used as a retort to oldfarty ideas such as climate change denial, or anti-immigration craziness, and so on, “opinions” I clearly don’t subscribe to.

    1. Yeah, under the right circumstances,
      “OK Boomer” can make me laugh, too (even if at my own expense). Plus, it kinda reminds me of the phrase that was popular with the New Left in the Sixties: “Never trust anyone over 30” (which I always associated with Abbie Hoffman, but which actually originated with Jack Weinberg, one of the Berkeley Free Speech Movement activists).

      I’ve never completely trusted my own generation, anyway, even when we were under 30. We can be a rather self-absorbed lot.

      1. Like many such phrases “OK Boomer” was probably quite amusing and witty the first time it was used. It ceases to be amusing when it is used in lieu of any reasoned argument to dismiss someone’s point of view.

        The reality of course is that people born between the years 1946 and 1964 vary enormously in their social and political attitudes. They also vary considerably in the extent to which they have enjoyed economic opportunity or seized on it. To lump them (well, us) all together as a homogeneous group does not make a lot of sense.

        I should add that the same things are clearly just as true of any other age cohort.

        Of course the world in which someone grows up is likely to influence their attitudes to many things and some societal changes – the war, economic hardship or its converse, the pill, tv, the internet, etc – can have a very widespread impact. The problem comes when journalists and others assume that everyone responds in the same way to these influences.

        1. “was probably quite amusing and witty the first time it was used.”

          Yes, precisely, like so many trendy tropes and catchphrases that have since been run into the ground by everybody and his dog, and now make anybody of any discernment cringe with the banal inevitability of their use.


    2. I agree regarding ‘OK Boomer.’ It appears to be mostly directed at a mindset, specifically aimed at the right-wing “MAGA” crowd and only secondarily about people born between 1946 and 1964. I’ve seen OK Boomer used as a reply to younger generations that are “Boomer Adjacent” in ideas.

      The phrase should be considered in context and as a follow-up to the Boomers constant complaining about Millenials being lazy while eating avocado toast and killing all the the things that make America great, like Buffalo Wild Wings


  8. I don’t have pet peeves over words or phrases, but letting you know I am stealing your phrase “This one really burns my onions.” It’s new to me and I love it! 🙂

  9. ‘Woke’ – my number one. Not a dig at this website, I just think it’s become meaningless. It’s nauseating when used positively and pretty much empty when used negatively.

    Also meaningless is ‘SJW’: a pejorative that is used online basically whenever anyone, anywhere displays the slightest amount of decency. You step in to some insane thread on YouTube to say that, actually, no, women don’t “like being raped”… and you get ‘waah go cry in your safe-space SJW’ in response.

    1. There are many like you, and it drives me up the wall. I see this constant kvetching over one term or another, but why don’t “you people” just come up with a name, any name — seven years ago — that I and others are allowed to use to describe that bunch of ultra-hostile people with wannabe-academese tourette, socialised on Tumblr with personality structures best described by the DSM?

      They exist, and originally, then and now, they are not “social justice activists”. They are just an internet hate mob, seeing social media as an Outrage Rorschach and who use ostensibly good causes as a license for themselves to abuse and f*ck with people on the internet, over whom they have power. They are the social media counterpart to the troll (who abuses people through anonymity, at least in the original definition).

      If you, in your heart of hearts, never encountered that phenomenon, then please step aside and allow others to describe, and name that bunch. Make sure you do not, like so many others tacitly approve of their mobbing and abuse, by giving it cover through pretending the world becomes a better place by hounding teenagers into suicide, because she dared to draw a character too skinny (and that’s of course somehow problematic in all the wrong ways).

      I guess, you don’t mean that. Well, but that are “social justice warriors”. I have no problem with you personally 🙂 You just, in this instance, represent the clueless smoke-bomb throwers who effectively approve of such hate mobs by not allowing discourse to go its way: by constantly getting in the way and help hide that particular phenomenon, and often times tacitly approving of it.

      1. “constant kvetching over one term or another”

        Well that’s what the OP invited us to do…

        I have the impression that you and Saul are objecting to much the same thing. On both the left and the right there are bullies who seek to shut down legitimate discourse by name-calling and shouting down those who dissent from whichever set of narrow prejudices the bully holds. It might well be useful for you to have a name to describe the people you object to in your post but when ‘SJW’ is used alongside ‘libtard’ and such-like simply to shut down anyone expressing any kind of non right-wing opinion that is just as bad as the abuse you describe going in the other direction. Whichever side it is coming from bullying is always objectionable and the bullies love to use simple cartoonish labels to smother argument.

        1. Yes – thanks. That was my point. You wouldn’t believe how often some of the people I know, who are most certainly not liberals, get called SJWs or get told off for being woke online by the reactionary hordes online as soon as they express any moderation. And of course it happens to me all the time.

      2. I was in two minds about whether or not to reply but here goes.


        In pro-Trump media I have heard John Bolton being described as part of the SJW contingent in the White House, alongside Jared Kushner and Ivanka.
        Recently Donald Trump Jr was described in the same terms by a splinter group of even more hardline right-wingers.
        I have heard the Wall Street Journal being described as ‘woke beyond redemption’ and Obama and Dubya being described as SJWs too.
        I’ve heard the NYT, a paper with numerous conservative contributors, being described as irredeemably woke.
        (And I’ve heard far-leftists saying Obama can’t be woke because he’s a warmongering conservative.)

        …How does pointing out the fundamental inconsistencies in the definitions of these words make me “clueless”, and complicit in a suicide of a young girl?

        “but why don’t “you people” just come up with a name…that I and others are allowed to use…”

        ? Who is stopping you from using any word to describe anyone? That is such self-pitying hypocrisy.
        And what’s with the “you people” stuff? If you have something to say about me, say it. No-one’s stopping you.

        “”You just, in this instance, represent the clueless smoke-bomb throwers who effectively approve of such hate mobs by not allowing discourse to go its way”

        How have I done any of that?

        And who are you to define the way discourse is meant to go? Which ‘way’ is it meant to go exactly?

        Finally, you get that this comment section was about words and phrases that people dislike right? All I did was post mine. It wasn’t a secret ‘Harvard-Student-Communists’ manifesto, I didn’t propose coming into your house at night and gaffer taping your mouth shut because you bought something by Jordan Peterson. I didn’t send a secret message to Black Lives Matter in acrostic form.

        It was just a list of words that I think have become pretty much meaningless. That’s it. You react like I attacked your religion or something.

        1. you get that this comment section was about words and phrases that people dislike right?

          Yes, and as comment section, it’s also place to discuss.

          How does pointing out the fundamental inconsistencies in the definitions of these words make me “clueless”, and complicit in a suicide of a young girl?

          That’s an assertion nobody made. The assertion is that a phenomenon exists, and to discuss it, one needs a shorthand, a word to refer to it. What is annoying is the denial of the phenomenon that goes with throwing away the terms, and not attachment to one word or another. Hence, when you merely dislike the term, why don’t you propose one?

          Without clarification that the phenomenon exists, it enters the common denialism. Many in that corner are chiefly motivated to avoid any form of criticism in that direction, from shunning and shaming, to rebranding criticism as “right wing” (what you did, too, naturally) and of course through typical language control. To do this all at once, each and every word is discredited and seen as “stuff right wingers say”.

          The overall climate is one where everyone must virtual signal their political directions, if not “right wing”, which self-reinforces that faction and seals it. But there’s a flaw. You cannot force people to embrace this american race / gender war ideology if you don’t want to. All it does is alienation, and producing a massive political attrition rate, of the type that helped Trump into office. People who would vote blue stay home, because they have been convinced by everybody, denialists and right wingers alike, that harassment and hounding on social media, that race and gender war, that minority identitarianism is “the left”.

          I see totally insufferable, unhinged, histrionic, fascistoid people spreading the hate on social media, ostensibly under some “social justice” pretext, and I hear from people like you that this either doesn’t exist at all, or that this was compassionate, legitimate left wing activism. No it’s not. And actual left, liberals and progressive, to which I sort myself, need to throw them out.

          1. At what point in anything I’ve said have I denied the existence of extreme, absurd political correctness and its concomitant absurdities?
            And to talk about ‘denialism’, with its holocaust and climate change connotations is a deeply pathetic rhetorical manoeuvre. Comically cheap. (A few other kinds of denialists you might want to call me: tasty-vegan-food denialist, interesting-jazz denialist, etc.)

            On top of which you called me both clueless and an enabler of people who taunt a girl to suicide. Which is again cheap, though not particularly comical.

            And, most importantly, you were incapable of denying my initial argument: that these words have been emptied of a great deal of meaning by overuse – by both sides.

            You didn’t bother with that – which to me was fairly central, what with it being my entire original argument – because

            a. it’s self-evident; we both know people use these words in vastly differing ways on a regular basis, and

            b. you’d much rather no air entered your ideological chamber, where everything is very simple, where ‘SJWs’ and ‘the woke’ are clearly and precisely defined, and “the discourse” must not be disrupted.

            1. You characterized the term “SJW” as an insult against someone, I quote you, “displays the slightest amount of decency”. To which I set the example of the hounding of the girl who drew cartoon characters in a “problematic” way (she attempted suicide). Such social media shunning and shaming was actually meant by so-called “social justice warrior” for years, and everyone had a pretty good idea what this was.

              And yet you wrote, that such people are the “decent” ones, based on the change of meaning. For the record I did not accuse you of anything, but said that, I quote myself, that I guess “you don’t mean that [hounding and harassment]” with “decency”, your understanding of the term is either misguided or motivated.

              How come this meaning changed so much? There was a pretty well-known definition on Urban Dictionary, which was linked and quoted everywhere. To top it off, there was no “alternate reality” divide as there is now. The ideological difference was that the “passionate” social justice warriors defended their practice as righteous and justified. In atheism, you can read period PZ Myers praise the hate campaigns, e.g. how the #donglegate naming and shaming and harassment and firing was “exactly right”. Rebecca Watson wrote an article how doxing is great.

              In other words, originally, the “SJW” faction stood by their practice and justified it proudly. The disagreement was foremost about the tactics (which they dismissed as “tone trolling” or “concern trolling”), and secondary that it was also self-serving and for the show: not actual activism, this was widely known as “virtue signalling”. This all was written into the original definition. I get words change, but that did not happen naturally. In 2014, another faction — gamers — picked up the same tricks. Now the woke establishment felt their medicine tastes sour and all this was vile “harassment”, and that’s when the story had to change.

              All terms were constantly contested, and all of them are actually overly simplistic or inaccurate. However, calling the denial of this phenomenon a “denialism” is to me completely justified. It’s common enough, and to me, a denialist is a skeptic who is skeptical about something for which good evidence exists. No need to pretend this term is outrageous.

              1. You’ve again – third time now – simply ignored my actual argument, which was about the labile definitions of these words. That was my original, reasonable point – that these words have become increasingly empty of meaning due to overuse by both sides.

                And again, not once have I ever denied the existence of the underlying phenomena. That was just a complete fabrication on your part.

                You’ve also not answered any of the questions I’ve asked, like what exactly you mean when you say “you people” or what any of the gobbledygook about my not allowing ‘the discourse’ to continue meant.

                So at this point you’re basically arguing with yourself. Go on by all means but it’s pointless and I’m not going to continue with this just so you can ignore everything I say in your reply.

              2. Last clarification: I agreed the term changed in meaning, and also proposed why. I also said there‘s one side that whitewashes the phenomenon (matching your “decency”) and wants to sweep the ugly side under the carpet. I wrote I think that you were merely misguided about what the term meant originally, but that your complaining about the term is representative of that type, and a good example that I wanted to address. There was also a smiley in there and the “you people” was in scare quotes to show that I’m addressing a talking point of a certain group.

  10. ….In the context of movies, TV shows and video-games:

    the phrase “we listened to the fans”.

    Nothing good ever comes from ‘listening to the fans’.

    Fans don’t even know what they want most of the time. They say they want more of the same…you give it to them and they complain it’s more of the same. You give them something different, they start petitions to get you fired or your TV show refilmed.

    I hate that phrase.

  11. I feel the OK, boomer thing is somewhat in reaction the whole odious ‘millenial’ term. Some ‘boomers’ really do like to blame everything on millenials who are characterized as lazy, smartphone addicted and entitled. In my view such terms should simply be retired altogether, my year of birth no more defines my views than my skin color.

  12. I have despised the use of the word “optics” to mean “appearances” from the first time I heard it used as such.

    I also dislike hearing “beg the question” when the speaker means “raise the question”. Begging the question is a specific logical fallacy that all linguistics majors learn to identify early on in their studies.

  13. “Swole”, meaning well-muscled, or ripped. We were watching the original Terminator the other night, and when Arnold Schwarzenegger appeared (stark naked) one of the younger kids said “Wow, he is one swole dude!” I thought “swole” was some variant of “swell” from my Dad’s generation. Wrong.

    1. First time I heard it, that term was used as a joke by Danny DeVito on Ahnold when the two played twins in the movie of that name:

    2. It means the same thing but I remember that ‘hench’ was trending for a while. I guess as in ‘henchman’.

      It seems to have withered away thankfully.

  14. I’m a few years past the boomer generation but I also despise this patronizing, ageist, pejorative term. If someone dismissed me with “OK boomer,” my response would have to be sarcasm, something like “you have so much to learn bearded millennial” and I would use the same condescension whether addressing a male or a female or a trans person because they generally believe that gender is a social construct and a personal choice so surely they wouldn’t take too much offense.

  15. I read a thread that tried to rope Gen X into the generation wars. The Gen Z and Millenials decided Gen X is the “Karen” generation because apparently it just complains to management and makes fun of Gen Z’s and Millenials’ ideas of wokeness. First of all, mocking is kind of what Gen X does. Second of all, aren’t you being rather sexist and racist and non inclusive in selecting a female white name to suggest that only white females piss and moan? How stereotypical to suggest only women complain. How not woke in your exclusion of a large portion of Gen X. Yep, and that’s how Gen X mocks you!

      1. That’s pretty close, I think. “Karen” is the woman who always asks to speak to the manager. The way I’ve heard it, the useage may have its roots in Goodfellas:

        1. Hey, I haven’t seen The Lighthouse yet, but don’t think I hate genre films because I hated Midsommar. Hell, much of my library is filled with genre films, from obscure Cronenberg to In Bruges (I fcuking love that movie and will take any opportunity to mention it) to You’re Next to Re-Animator.

          Have you seen You’re Next and The Guest? They’re both made by the same writer/director team. Excellent stuff and highly recommended.

            1. I love that film. It’s so perfectly formed and so funny. And the part where ‘On Raglan Rd’ plays is sublime.

              When Colin Farrell can perform like that it’s borderline tragic that he’s not in more good films.

              1. The first time I saw the movie, I immediately looked up the song from that scene and bought it (along with a bunch more). The film mixes comedy, drama, and beauty so deftly.

                Have you seen Calvary? If not, you absolutely must.

              2. FYI, Calvary is written and directed by John Michael McDonagh, who is the brother of the writer/director of In Bruges, Martin McDonagh.

              3. So many lines in the movie are made by the actors’ performances. McDonagh clearly knows who he needs to deliver his lines. From Farrel to Gleeson to Fiennes to Eric Godon, all the casting is pure perfection.

              1. Thanks, Saul. It kind of works, and a beautiful song. I have just found that it available from my library’s free streaming service, so will be watching it again soonish. Been really tied up with the impeachment hearings recently.

      2. I noticed the name appearing in anything that required a name. The male counterpart seems to be, from my own observation, Kevin.

        1. I haven’t heard Kevin yet either. I think we’re occupying different meme dimensions, but have somehow managed to communicate between them. Cross-dimensional communication!

          1. Haha. I notice it more in the zeitgeist. The bird in UP is called Kevin. Cartoons that require the name of a male, often choose “Kevin”.

  16. Perhaps this one has been mentioned before; I nominate it as the all-time worst: “meat-space”. Meaning in the real world of flesh and blood humans. I can play bridge or chess on line, or I can play in m…; sorry, just can’t say/write it.

    1. I’m not a fan of the phrase ‘sausage-fest’. As in; “this bar has no women in it, it’s a real sausage-fest.’

      Horrible horrible horrible.

  17. “At this point in time”. I like to use this to annoy the cognoscenti, sometimes abbreviated to “ATPT’ for close associates.

  18. I think “OK Boomer” is rhetorically quite powerful, hence its rapid rise to popularity but really it’s a wealth thing not an age thing. In other words, what most people are complaining about Boomers doing is actually just rich people rich peopling.

    1. That’s up for interpretation as it’s a. Sry general dismissal and therefore ineffective in that specific slur. I had a wealthy Indian friend. She often would complain about what white people did but she, as a wealthy Indian, only associated with wealthy white people and that was her whole experience of white people. I found it amusing that she complained about white people when to me, all wealthy people were ridiculous in what they found odious.

    1. I hate nouns as verbs.

      A while back a local grocery chain, Woolworths, had a whole range they called “Ready to wok”.

      I mean, “ready to fry” sounds better, doesn’t use any more letters, and doesn’t sound like the person who came up with it was fundamentally too illiterate to think of the word “fry”.

      Another one from the same chain, this time in their clothing section – “The Pant” or “The Short”. Now aside from the presumptuous nature of referring to your crappy product as “The” whatever, as if it is the Batman of pants and shorts, what the heck is wrong with putting the “s” on the end of the word like a civilised human being?

      1. “I hate nouns as verbs.”

        Oh, I fervently agree. Do I ever hate that.

        It’s hard to argue against on a grammatical basis, because that’s how many verbs have come into being. I just argue against it on grounds of taste and laziness – pretentious egocentric morons who think they’re trendy just love to abuse the language in that way.

        It may even be clever, the first time, if used sardonically; but then every less inventive wannabe-trendy moron copies it and runs it into the ground.


        1. My most hated example is “to loan”. What’s wrong with “to lend”. I don’t think I’ve heard anyone use the verb “to lend” in at least ten years, yet “to loan” did not exist when I was young.

          The correct reply to this rant is “OK boomer”.

          1. An annoyingly common thing here in the UK is for people to say ‘lend’ when they mean ‘borrow’. Similarly people who when rating how photogenic they believe themselves to be say “I take a good photo”.

      2. Full agreement.

        I seem to have missed many of the words and phrases that people are complaining about.

        I suppose this is a benefit of not watching TV since 1987 and spending very little time on social media (or any other sort as well).

  19. I’ve been hearing people say they’re “Flexitarian” when it comes to their diet. Apparently this means people who are in most cases vegetarian, but eat meat/fish in moderation.

    How about Healthy Diet, or Omnivore Light…maybe Vegetarian Plus? Either way, it seems like some kind of diet-guilt euphemism and for the record, I don’t like it.

    1. Everything has to be named. I probably fall into the low near category. I usually just say I don’t eat a lot of meat. 🙄

        1. Vegan is a diet. Not alive.

          “Vegans” who eat fish or meat (..as nonsensical as that is..) are not vegans. They’re people. As much as they would like it to be a religion, it isn’t.

  20. I haven’t heard ‘OK Boomer’ in the UK yet and I doubt it will arrive any time soon. When it does I will pull the user to me and say ‘Don’t patronise me, punk.’ Or not.

  21. “Badass” — routinely attached to practically every leading character in practically every movie now A two-syllable embodiment of brain-dead triteness.

  22. “Badass” & “kick-ass” — now tattooed all over practically every leading character of practically every movie or TV show.

    Even Emily Dickenson, if one can believe promos for a current “modern” series about this poet…

    …who would seem like the last person who ever was or would ever have wanted to be summarized by either, let alone both, of these two-syllable embodiments of brain-dead triteness.

      1. On a long trip around the world in “developing countries”, a friend and I got to the point of being punchy enough to do a verbal skit: “Hello, good morning, and welcome to Serious Shit!. This morning, we are going to speak about drinking Ganges River water for the purpose of weight loss …”

    1. “Badass” was OK maybe when Pulp Fiction came out. In fact, I think Samuel L. Jackson made a movie with a title of that name. I think Phil Plait self-titled his blog/self as Bad Astronomer because of the snarky relationship of the sounds.

      “Badass” has since been overused. At this rate, it’ll be used in children’s TV shows soon.

        1. No, not the BMF wallet. I know that. I’m not sure why I pointed to Pulp Fiction. I don’t think “badass” was used in the movie. But there’s …..

          [ looks on Internet]

          … it seems the Badass movie was a figment of my imagination!… maybe when it came out there was advertising that was made to look like other movies and that’s what threw me.

    2. Just reading about that Emily Dickinson Tv show made me want to gag. From what I’ve read it sounds incredibly annoying and satisfied with itself.

  23. As a southerner, taters and N’awlins. Neither of those words was used until people told southerners they should use those words.

    1. As a former San Franciscan, San Fran or Frisco. NOone from The City says that.
      And why must Brits say Los Angelese (even Trevor Noah and John Oliver get it wrong). And yes I know that Trevor’s South African, but he’s generally terrific with languages!

        1. He’s allowed to say zebra however he wants, he probably has live zebras in SA, but there is nowhere where LA should be pronounced Los
          Angelese. Either Los Angeles or Los Anheles if you want to be Spanish about it. End of rant. Almost end: Oregon is pronounced Oregun, not Oregone. And Toronto is pronounced Toronna but Jennifer, this slurring the T in the middle is different from what we’ve been complaining about, glottal-wise🤓

          1. I have only ever heard Americans pronounce ‘zebra’ as ‘zeebra’. Could it be because in the US ‘z’ is pronounced ‘zee’ whereas to other English-speaking nations it’s ‘zed’?

    1. Nice. I think it would be funnier if the wording was “can be trusted” given Boomer’s ultimate identity.

    1. Pizza has been a pie since at least 1953 (and probably earlier) when the hit song “That’s Amore” was sung by Dean Martin. One line goes: “When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie that’s amore.”

  24. “act of violence” when used to describe something which is not violence.

    “unsafe” as how one claims to feel when some person is nearby who is suspected of holding slightly differing opinions.

    Much of this seems to be about people who want to alter language in order to exert control on dissenters.

    I just cannot help picturing one member of the new Red Guards remarking to another- “Back at the mass grave, right before I shot him, one of the class enemies said something really mean to me. It made me feel very unsafe.”

  25. Labels like boomer make me smile; self-deprecation is an important aspect in building tolerant societies and an antidote to motivated reasoning and self enhancing tendencies.

    Living in a human society is a battle for power and status, and if it’s done without blaming, shaming, threatening or violence, I welcome it.

  26. I can sort of see where “OK boomer” comes from – and that’s generally as a response to empty criticisms of the generations that followed the boomers.

    I mean millenials are supposed to be lazy workaholics who according to one group aren’t spending enough and another spending too much. On the one hand millenials are supposed to be “snowflakes” who look for ways to call things bigotted, on the other they’re supposed to be the backbone of the alt right trying to find new ways to be extra offensive.

    When you really look at them – the criticisms make absolutely no sense and sort of all cancel each other out, which does nothing to stop them being delivered and… it just gets tiresome to deal with.

    The trouble is – it isn’t really “boomers” making these criticisms, a lot of the time it is PR merchants who want to keep everyone divided one way or another. Its the same with the “woke” – they’re either working somewhere in advertising or studying to work in advertising. They’re not the voice of a generation, they’re a voice of Bell Pottinger style PR.

    So a part of me isn’t ever going to be super-critical of people who use the term, I mean I can see where they’re coming from, but I think it is one of those traps that end up making it so that people spend more time moaning about each other than talking to each other to find real solutions to their problems.

    1. This is purely anecdotal; but I know MANY people whose millennial children (including my own) are dramatically different in their behavior.

      When I was a teenager, everyone was frantic to get their driver’s license, get a job, and leave home (become independent). The kids mentioned above had none of those; and, to the contrary, had to be pushed (hard) to do any of them. This was mind-boggling to me and my wife.

      My millennial kid is nearly 30 and still lives with one of his parents and still has an entry-level job (after > 10 years). He flamed out of university.

      This is a very familiar refrain from many colleagues.

      And on the other hand (of course, mileage always varies), I have many millennial young colleagues who are driven and accomplished.

  27. “One might as well say, “OK Millennial” or “OK Generation Zer” with just as much effect” – but that’s the whole point of the phrase. It’s a reaction to the many, many years of abuse Millennials have faced from members of the Boomer generation. And, surprise surprise, they get all offended when it’s thrown back at them.

    Personally I think it’s pretty funny. It’s a fairly gentle poke of fun.

  28. ‘Bullying’ – a catch-all for any kind of behaviour which makes someone feel uncomfortable – has outlived its usefulness.

      1. Hmmmm I’ve been bullied way more as an adult than as a kid. In fact, it was so bad at one place I worked that they had policies about it.

    1. If you define bullying as any kind of behaviour that makes someone else feel uncomfortable then I agree it is not a very useful word. There are many situations in which it seems perfectly reasonable to describe the behaviour of some adults towards others as bullying, though. This happens commonly enough in workplaces where some bosses abuse their power over more junior employees. It also happens when mob behaviour cows people into falling into line with a particular view point. This seems to be happening on many university campus. Whether individuals choose to stand up to it and take the (sometimes seriously harmful)consequences or to fold and say/not say whatever the mob wants them to say/not say they are still the victims of bullying.

    1. And that goes for ‘millennial’ (what, are they a thousand years old?) and ‘gen X’ (whatever generation that may be – ten-year-olds? (in Roman numerals?)

      I have no idea what age they’re supposed to be and lumping people of a similar age together on the basis of some alleged age attribute is even more stupid and prejudicial than lumping them together on account of race.



      1. Age cohorts, based on (general) tendencies and the social, political, and economic environment they grew up in.

        E.g.: Thrifty behavior among those who grew up during the Great Depression.

        I don’t think anyone claims any of that is universal (like any social trend); but rather that, in general, the descriptors work for the majority of the cohort.

        This conforms to much of my experience.

        The environment has an impact on behavior.

    2. I think part of this “OK, boomer” is that “Boomer” itself has been a recognizable name -I can’t recall exactly, but I think a character on a TV show from the 70’s was named Boomer – it maybe even earlier.

      The “OK” part is spoken in a dismissive manner, sarcastically as in “yeah, sure – RIGHT” .

      … but as for your question I think it was already answered.

      1. Battlestar Galactica, I think. I only know it from Gino (‘Galactica in name only’), the nickname bestowed on the ‘re-imagined’ BSG of the 2000’s by disgruntled aficionados of the original series. ’twas always thus.

        Personally, I was always much more intrigued by the Cylon ‘skin jobs’ than the humans 🙂


  29. I submit “bespoke” for consideration

    I’m losing patience for this word because at first, it seemed a precise way to describe a certain craftsmanship*. But now, I think it’s simpiy because some nerds in cubicles decided “custom” has accumulated too many disagreeable associations, e.g. on the tailgate on a Ford F-150, possibly with truck nuts.

    1. Now that I wrote out – and submitted- “nerds in cubicles”, it isn’t sitting well, so I apologize for that – a case of saying more about me than about my point.

      1. Besides, nerds don’t work in cubicles anymore. It’s all open concept with is actually awful for anyone who is introverted, as most nerds are.

  30. What’s really grinding my gears right now is the increasingly ubiquitous use of “cause” in place of “because.” It drives me bonkers. It’s absolutely everywhere on social media. Fortunately, professional writers have not yet, to my knowledge, jumped on this horrible bandwagon.

  31. From a twitter I saw today which stated Serving military are “literally required” to wear uniforms when appearing (Congress etc)”

    I’m not quite sure how you would be ‘metaphorically required’ to wear your uniform but an ex-military reader may be able to advise

  32. I’m going to go against the theme here by mentioning a word I really like. I found it one day while browsing randomly through my Oxford English Dictionary¹. It means a lackey or follower, derived from a traditional position following behind the master.

    The word is catchfart.

    I find it quite satisfying to refer to people like Giuliani, Barr, Kellyanne Conway and all those others as Trump’s cohort of catchfarts.

    ¹Yes, I am enough of a nerd that I actually enjoy browsing through dictionaries. This is how I found catchfart, and in a Finnish-English dictionary, I found a real gem: kuherella, which is a verb which means “to converse intimately with a loved one”.

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