More odious words and phrases

It’s sunny outside, the ducks are being frisky, and I have no business trying to brain today. Here: enjoy three words and phrases I have grown to hate. It’s amazing that I rarely repeat these; I suppose that makes me a curmudgeon.  Click on the screenshots to see the source of these irritating usages.

The first one comes from HuffPost, which, according to the New York Times, has just lost its woke editor and is suffering, to my immense Schadenfreude, from layoffs and a loss of business.

1.) “Deets” for “details”. Get this straight: “Deets” is the name of Stephen Barnard’s dog, not an annoying contraction of “details”, like this one:

 

The only thing worse than “spilling the deets” is “spilling the tea”, another grating neologism (see here)

2.) “At first blush”. People who use this phrase, which can be easily and more clearly replaced by “at first glance” or “at first sight”, almost certainly don’t know where it came from. In fact, it has nothing to do with blushing. As Writing Explained explains:

Nowadays, blush is a verb used for the face turning red. However, in the past, blush had a secondary meaning, “to look or glance.” This definition is now obsolete, with the exception of this expression.

The word blush originated around the year 1300 in Middle English and came from the Old English word blyscan.

The origin of the full idiom at first blush in unknown. However, the earliest written record available to view online is in William Spurstowe’s The Wells of Salvation Opened, from the year 1655.

Got it? You’re using a medieval term that suggests something different from what you’re saying (the flushing of a face), and you don’t even know what it means.  Here’s the New York Times, of all places, using it just last year:

The phrase, like another loser—”sea change”—should be relegated to the circular file. (“Sea change” is simply a “big change”.)

3. “Apps” for “appetizers”. I saw this on t.v. last night: some restaurant chain was offering a 2-for-1 deal with two “apps”, two entrees (in the American sense) and desserts. I’d never heard “apps” used in this way before, but it took about a minute to find it, here on delish.com.  This is part of the “contraction mania” that has turned “family” into “fam” and, as above, “details” into “deets”.  It’s even more odious because “apps” has a completely different usage, as in “applications” for a computer. Somehow I don’t mind that nearly as much, because it seems more of a convenience than a way to act cool. (Don’t get me started on the hyperbolic use of “amazing”, which seems so ingrained that it’s here to stay.)

If you’re going to do this, why not use “fert” for “fertilizer” and “san” for “sanitizer”?

As always, you’re heartily invited to add your own linguistic bête noire in the comments.

180 Comments

  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted March 8, 2020 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    These are some delightfully despicable ods.

  2. GBJames
    Posted March 8, 2020 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    The first time I saw “apps” used at a restaurant I thought there was something I was supposed to download to my phone.

    • eric
      Posted March 8, 2020 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

      Yep. I’m not a huge ‘get off my lawn’ guy like Jerry, but it seems particularly stupid to try and shorten any other word to “apps” given that apps already has a clearly defined meaning.

    • Posted March 9, 2020 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      I got the impression restaurants started with this usage to get in on the “application” craze.

    • Posted March 9, 2020 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

      I still call computer programs, “programs”. Get off my lawn! 🙂

  3. Jenny Haniver
    Posted March 8, 2020 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Indubitably the meaning of “blush” as in “at first blush” underwent a sea change.

    I wonder how long it will take before “san” and “fert” make it into the vernacular? Surely, it won’t be long. Such linguistic phenomena are in the zeitgeist.

    • Posted March 8, 2020 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

      I couldn’t abide ‘fert’, as it sounds too onomatopoeic; a compressed fart springs to mind.

      Is it true that Aussies love these sorts of contractions?

  4. Ken Pidcock
    Posted March 8, 2020 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    So we shouldn’t use at first blush because we don’t realize that we’re using it correctly?

    • Posted March 8, 2020 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      Yes, exactly. As Orwell said, don’t use a phrase unless you understand what it means

      • Posted March 8, 2020 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

        Most of know what it means. Perhaps we do not know its etymology, but that is true for many words we use.

        • Posted March 9, 2020 at 6:24 am | Permalink

          Yes exactly, I find the inclusion of this usage very strange and not like the others in this post. I have used the phrase correctly for all of my long life although I don’t suppose I have a chance to use it all that much.

        • Posted March 9, 2020 at 6:30 am | Permalink

          Please note the title of the post. They are words and phrases I find odious, not ones that are just wrong.

      • phoffman56
        Posted March 8, 2020 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

        Then there was that famous Orwell essay entitled :

        Solving ‘Multiple’ ‘Issues’ ‘Going Forward’ Spraying Deets : How to avoid poisoning yourself by ‘walking that back’ wearing the tee-shirt on which is printed: Walker Backer Liar.

        Doesn’t DEET keep mosquitoes away?

        (Some of my bugbears are in quotes by the way.)

        • phoffman56
          Posted March 8, 2020 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

          deet = a brand of diethyltoluamide, a colorless oily liquid with a mild odor, used as an insect repellent.

          multiple = many (if you need some phoney mathiness in your vague bullshit.

          issues = sometimes problems, usually not.

          Going Forward = bullshit politician and/or TV crap advertisers’ phrase for ‘in the future’.

          walk that back = admit it was a lie you tried to fool people with, without actually admitting you are a liar.

        • Posted March 8, 2020 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

          I like Deets. He is Stephen Barnard’s border collie out in Idaho.

          • phoffman56
            Posted March 9, 2020 at 5:09 am | Permalink

            With an upper-case D; he likely dislikes mosquitoes as much as we do. (It is a ‘he’, IIRC?)

            • Posted March 9, 2020 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

              Yes sexist transphobe! Making distinctions between males and females! They are exactly the same! (Which is why all languages lack gendered pronouns and gendered nouns.) 🙂

              • phoffman56
                Posted March 9, 2020 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

                Never yet met a woke doggie!

        • ThyroidPlanet
          Posted March 9, 2020 at 12:55 am | Permalink

          “Going forward “

          It sounds so good, doesn’t it? “Forward “. Why? Well, we don’t want to go BACKWARD, do we? Therefore OF COURSE we are going forward with this brilliant plan!… forward and upward, in fact! Evoking a … SEA-CHANGE

          • Posted March 9, 2020 at 8:37 am | Permalink

            Of course, since as we move through time we can only see (remember) what’s behind us, the phrase should probably be “going backward” if it’s about what’s happening in the future.

            • Posted March 9, 2020 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

              In English we talk about facing the future. Amongst the Inuit, they traditionally hold that one’s *back* is to the future, as one cannot see what has not been.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted March 8, 2020 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

        “At first blush” sound old-fashioned to me (like something I’d hear from someone of my parents’ or grandparents’ generation). I don’t use it myself, but I’ve understood what it means from its context alone, going back to the first time I heard it.

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted March 8, 2020 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

        Now that I know what it means, and the short ‘etymology’, I’ll probably find is impossible not to use it.
        The problem now is what to use for the face turning pinkish (or darken in the hiğly pigmented), to flush, to redden, or what?
        😁

      • Posted March 8, 2020 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

        But might there be some merit to occasionally using a medieval word? I dunno, it seems sad to let a nice phrase or idiom die off.

        I do abhor the modern (widely accepted) use of ‘begs the question’.

        • merilee
          Posted March 8, 2020 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

          As in “Imo get medieval on yo ass”?😬

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted March 9, 2020 at 8:55 am | Permalink

            If anyone ever had it coming, it was Zed.

            • merilee
              Posted March 9, 2020 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

              About 20 years ago I was trying to teach Math to a particularly rambunctious class of 9th graders. The principal gave me a young male teaching assistant to help tame the hordes and the first day he was with me he whispered something about “getting medieval on their ass”. His sense of humor kept me sane that semester.

            • merilee
              Posted March 9, 2020 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

              About 20 years ago I was trying to teach Math to a particularly rambunctious class of 9th graders. The principal gave me a young male teaching assistant to help tame the hordes and the first day he was with me he whispered something about “getting medieval on their ass”. His sense of humor kept me sane that semester.

              • merilee
                Posted March 9, 2020 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

                Not sure why the duplicate??

              • Filippo
                Posted March 10, 2020 at 5:25 am | Permalink

                ‘ . . . trying to teach Math to a particularly rambunctious class of 9th graders . . . help tame the hordes . . . “getting medieval on their ass” . . . .”

                I have had more than a little of that experience at the 6-12 grade level, where I very rarely anymore substitute teach.

                Of course, the prospect of dealing with such noble behavior is the “carrot” drawing one to labor in the pedagogical vineyards.

                (My info is a bit dated, but I gather it remains in the ballpark at approx. 50% of newly-minted U.S. teachers leave the field by the five-year mark. Reasons for doing so, as reflected in the media, include the “white noise” locution “lack of support” from administrators. I gather it won’t do to more forthrightly say “due to juvenile/adolescent human primate misbehavior.”)

                Surely such behavior is at least a minor reason why charter, private, and home K-12 schooling is in the ascendant. (So far as I know, they do not yet require metal detectors.)

                How long did you teach before you had your fill of that behavior? I trust that there were a few students who were cooperative and interested in learning and to that extent made you look forward to getting up in the morning.

              • merilee
                Posted March 10, 2020 at 9:52 am | Permalink

                Filippo, I taught for a little over 20 years, having gotten a late start (early 40s) and mostly loving it. The main cause of my only slightly early retirement (I had taught grades 8-13 and 1 year of community college) was the helicopter parents who came in and demanded A+s for their darlings, even when such a grade was hardly warranted. My latest principal often put pressure on us teachers, saying she believed in “student success”, i.e. grade inflation…Don’t get me started…I do miss most of the students, though.

          • Posted March 9, 2020 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

            LOL! I love that!

        • Jenny Haniver
          Posted March 9, 2020 at 1:30 am | Permalink

          See my comment at #21 for a book that could come in handy.

          There’s also “medieval word translator” https://lingojam.com/MedievalTranslator.

          I also found this: 10 phrases that originated in the middle ages”
          https://www.medievalists.net/2015/09/10-phrases-that-originated-in-the-middle-ages/.

  5. Karen Fierman
    Posted March 8, 2020 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    “Thanks for coming on the show,” say the NPR (and other)news radio hosts.
    “Thank you for having me,” the guest replies.
    HOW SICK AM I OF BOTH THESE STATEMENTS.

    First: Most of the people interviewed are journalists, on the same station; or, they’re journalists from other media. WHY must they be THANKED? It’s their JOB, isn’t it?

    Second: Why doesn’t the interviewee just say, “You’re Welcome,” and be done with it?

    Lastly, an expert is interviewed about a major catastrophe (hurricane, tornado, epidemic, etc.), and THAT person says at the end, “It’s been a great pleasure.” REALLY? You found pleasure in offering your expertise about a hurricane (etc.)?

    • Filippo
      Posted March 8, 2020 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

      Re: ‘“Thank you for having me,” the guest replies.’

      I also hear NPR hosts say, “I HAVE to ask you . . . .”

      Really? Just simply ask it.

      Why isn’t Scott Simons of “Saturday Weekend Edition” (one of “the old guard” and, in my view, a most worthy successor to Bob Edwards, Robert Siegal, Noah Adams, Linda Wertheimer – “old white men”?) the host of either “Morning Edition” or “All Things Considered”? Not sufficiently “edgy” or “cool” or “histrionic” or “relevant” enough?

      • Karen Fiermank
        Posted March 8, 2020 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

        Yes, Scott Simon is, I guess, too old (67, not THAT old, really), too white, too male. NPR is looking to attract a younger, hipper audience,trying to be more inclusive. NOT that I think it’ll succeed in doing that, as younger people don’t listen to the radio anyway.

    • Posted March 8, 2020 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

      “Thanks for having me” makes me shudder too.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted March 8, 2020 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

      “Thank you for having me” is certainly unnecessary. It’s merely a bit of overly polite social lubricant. Think of it as K-Y jelly for public discourse. 🙂

    • phoffman56
      Posted March 9, 2020 at 5:19 am | Permalink

      Or it would grate less if it were more blunt (maybe I’m thinking more of TV talk shows). E.g. ‘Thanks for having me, since I’m here to flog more copies of that book I recently (maybe not?) wrote called “Me, Myself, and I”. I contracted with the publisher to go round doing this.’
      At least Colbert is upfront and just props the book upright, title readable, in front on his desk, nothing sly there.

      • Doug
        Posted March 9, 2020 at 8:49 am | Permalink

        A young lady where I work answers every question with “Of course.”

        Customer: Can I have X?”

        She: Of course.

        Customer: Thank you.

        She: Of course.

        Is this a new thing, or just her?

        • GBJames
          Posted March 9, 2020 at 9:45 am | Permalink

          Just her, of course.

        • merilee
          Posted March 9, 2020 at 10:32 am | Permalink

          I HATE when the telephone customer care person uses my name three times per sentence😖

          • Posted March 9, 2020 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

            Yes, that is about as phony as one can get.

    • Posted March 9, 2020 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      I don’t know…I rather appreciate the use of “polite nothings”. Especially given the degree of acrimony one finds in media (especially social media), and in politics, and in the world, I’d prefer for people to err on the side of using too many polite phrases. Too many people say things along the lines of “I’m just being real” as an excuse for the fact that they behave like jerks.

      Personally, I share Hannibal Lecter’s attitude toward the many “free-range rude” people in the world.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted March 9, 2020 at 8:59 am | Permalink

        Fava beans and a nice chianti, or butternut squash and a Riesling?

    • AJ
      Posted March 9, 2020 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      I agree. “Thank you for having me” is a phrase best reserved for Mother’s Day.

      • Posted March 9, 2020 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

        😀

        • merilee
          Posted March 9, 2020 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

          We sometimes say that to young “ushers” at the movie theater, and they look at us strangely.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted March 9, 2020 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      It’s a conversation between Jesus and the congregation after communion and his return :

      Jesus : welp – here I am! Ready to go?
      Congregation, with wafers half eaten, wine spilling on their chests : hey, thanks for coming!
      Jesus : well, thanks for having me!

    • Steve Pollard
      Posted March 9, 2020 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

      Reminds me of a cartoon in ‘Punch’ back in the 70s. It showed a woman shaking hands with the host of what (from the background detail) was clearly a pretty raunchy party, and saying ‘Thank you for having me’. To which the host replied ‘Thank you for coming’.

  6. JezGrove
    Posted March 8, 2020 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    These were all new to me – I’m hoping that I don’t encounter any of them again soon!

  7. Liz
    Posted March 8, 2020 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    I used to have so many of these. I don’t hate too many things anymore. I used to *hate* condiments. It was almost more like a neurotic paralyzingly fear in response to them. I despised them. I’m not like that now with them. The letter f used to be distasteful to me. There were so many grammar ones that I can’t even remember.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted March 8, 2020 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

      All of that is phascinating, finding condiments distasteful, too.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted March 8, 2020 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

        Now I’m conphused; are we talkin’ here about the actual condiments themselves — you know, ketchup, mustard, wasabi, Pico de Gallo, et al. — or the word “condiments”? 🙂

        • Jenny Haniver
          Posted March 9, 2020 at 12:39 am | Permalink

          I’m conphused, too and I do want to know. Could be the new “c*word.” Or does Liz mean compliments? Given her reaction, “like a neurotic paralyzingly fear in response to them.” that would make more sense (I have that reaction when given compliments, not to the word itself) but I’m sure that “condiments.” either the word or the substances, could cause that reaction in some.

          Liz, no put-down intended, it’s simply curiosity.

          • Liz
            Posted March 9, 2020 at 8:27 am | Permalink

            Condiments. Mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, relish, sauerkraut, worcestershire sauce, Frank’s redhot sauce, cocktail sauce, tarter sauce (*gag*), thousand island dressing (issues there still), ailoi (a new, for me, disgusting one), sriracha (same, new), and any other repulsive mix that has been created to make people throw up, gag, have anxiety, and shut down. I have stories about deviled eggs (threw up on my brother while he was asleep in the car after trying one), ketchup and mustard all over people washing off in a lake (walked away for a long time), a reuben ((with sauerkraut *and* thousand island dressing)(I sort of had an anxiety attack I guess)), Frank’s redhot (seeing it all over the mouths of people at a festival in Buffalo was disturbing), and thousand island dressing accidentally on a salad once,(so completely disgusting). Those are the worst things that have happened. I am much, much better with them now than I was. It started with a little bit of spicy mustard and changed from there. They really don’t bother me at all now. I will never understand why a person would want to add mayonnaise to an egg, mix it up, and make people throw up when they look at them. : )

            • Posted March 9, 2020 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

              À chacun son goût, I suppose.

              Lemon aioli is heavenly.
              Same with chipotle mayo.

              • merilee
                Posted March 9, 2020 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

                +1 on the aioli and chipotle anything! Not a fan of plain mayo, but homemade aioli is divine.

              • Posted March 11, 2020 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

                The jalapeno/lime aioli at Costco is divine.

              • merilee
                Posted March 11, 2020 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

                Is it super hot? Unlike tp, Costco will probably not be sold out of aioli…

              • Posted March 11, 2020 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

                I wouldn’t call it super hot. They still have some at our store, and they’ve been known to run out of the stuff. The aisles are not as crowded with stuff as people are hoarding all kinds of stuff.

            • Jenny Haniver
              Posted March 9, 2020 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

              That is serious revulsion! I’m fascinated. I was going to say that I’d never heard of such before but come to think of it, I can’t remember my father using condiments or eating anything very spicy but he was quiet and reserved and never expressed revulsion, though he sure must have experienced it. He would, though, take a very small dollop of a decent mayo on an avocado or romaine lettuce, but mostly used lemon. We had some boring, if healthy, salads in my childhood because I loved condiments and despised romaine lettuce and avocados and all the other healthy food my parents ate (except for salmon and blueberries).

              • Liz
                Posted March 10, 2020 at 9:16 am | Permalink

                That’s interesting. I guess everyone is different. I was always/still am quiet and reserved. I don’t think I expressed this hence the anxiety/reactions. I’m really not sure but I don’t really have the same repulsion now. As much. : ) I love salmon, blueberries, and avocados.

        • Posted March 11, 2020 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

          I must say my husband and I, when we were immature and silly, used to smirk and call it condoments.

          • merilee
            Posted March 11, 2020 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

            WHEN you were immature??🤓

  8. uommibatto
    Posted March 8, 2020 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    I also hate the term “sea change.”

    The word I am getting sick of hearing is “existential,” as in “global warming is an existential threat.” Beyond meaning the obvious – global warming is a threat to our very existence – it also has an extra soupcon (sorry, no cedilla) of worry, angst, and pretentiousness tossed in that I find annoying.

    Larry Smith

    • JezGrove
      Posted March 8, 2020 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      “Sea change” dates back to Shakespeare’s The Tempest (1610/11). The problem with many phrases isn’t so much their meaning or usage as their ubiquity.

      • Posted March 8, 2020 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

        Agreed. Sea change is a wonderful term when it used correctly and judiciously to describe a profound transformation.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted March 8, 2020 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

          I’ve used “sea change” — but limit it to a few times a decade.

          I think “existential” is fine, but it’s grossly overused. Maybe for a while it should be reserved for Sartre and Camus symposia. 🙂

    • MacPhee MT
      Posted March 8, 2020 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      Here. I have extras. ç

    • GBJames
      Posted March 8, 2020 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

      I’m not sure why there’s so much hostility to “sea change”. It’s use goes back to Shakespeare and has been employed by Dickens, Thoreau, and P.G. Wodehouse.

      • Posted March 9, 2020 at 4:34 am | Permalink

        In Orwell’s essay “Politics and the English Language,” I believe he says that we shouldn’t use phrases like this because they are worn out and don’t conjure up the image they had when they were confected. Most people, when they hear “sea change”, just hear the word “change” and don’t know what “sea” is in there for. Metaphors that are not clear or not fresh are, says Orwell, not useful.

        • Posted March 9, 2020 at 8:51 am | Permalink

          Eschew newspeak.

          • Posted March 9, 2020 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

            And: Make Orwell Fiction Again! (On the front of a baseball cap.)

            • merilee
              Posted March 9, 2020 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

              Don’t forget to eschew obfuscation as well.

    • Posted March 9, 2020 at 8:50 am | Permalink

      Coincidentally, global warming could potentially cause a literal “sea change”, and indeed already has.

  9. Posted March 8, 2020 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Sorry not sorry. At least two major corporations are using this in their TV ad campaigns. I am not even sure what the point is. Apparently Demi Lovato

  10. Posted March 8, 2020 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    wrong button – to continue Lovato has a song entitled Sorry Not Sorry, but I only know this because of a Google search – I didn’t bother listening to the song.

  11. James Walker
    Posted March 8, 2020 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    I haven’t seen that use of “app” before – I would be confused, moreso than I already am as a Canadian living in Australia, where “entrees” are (etymologically properly) appetizers, not the main course, as they are in North America.

    • Posted March 8, 2020 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

      I learned about ‘apps’ maybe 15 years ago. I was invited to a party, and the invitation had a little poem about bringing your appies and byob. I thought at the time that the hostess meant for us to come in a good mood.

  12. mike cracraft
    Posted March 8, 2020 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    “thoughts and prayers” are right near the top.

    • Posted March 9, 2020 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      I agree. It makes me want to say, “And I’ll do a rain dance on your behalf, too.”

  13. normwalsh
    Posted March 8, 2020 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    Most of this stuff is just fn lazy.

  14. Posted March 8, 2020 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    “Sea change” is simply a ‘big change.'”

    As noted above, the original use of “sea-change” is from Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”:

    Full fathom five thy father lies:
    Of his bones are coral made:
    Those are pearls that were his eyes:
    Nothing of him that doth fade
    But doth suffer a sea-change
    Into something rich and strange

    This refers not to the size of the change (as big as the sea) but to the fact that the sea was the agent of the under-water transformation of the body of Ferdinand’s father. In modern usage the loss of the hyphen in “sea-change” eliminates the agency of the sea and therefore significantly changes the meaning.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted March 8, 2020 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

      I like to think of it as the crew of a giant ocean vessel might, when looking out at a tumultuous sea – or a calm sea – and expecting it to shift. Thus, they’d feel the force of the sea under their feet, as a profound influence on their journey…

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted March 8, 2020 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      Also thanks for posting the Shakespeare!

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted March 8, 2020 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      Sorry I just want to add

      “Sea-change” is, to me, a grand idea for a sunny Sunday afternoon… I don’t know why!… but it strangely satisfies… which is doubly strange because I’m averse to the term!…

    • Filippo
      Posted March 8, 2020 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

      IIRC, John Rutter and his Cambridge Singers have recorded and attached to Shakespeare’s words a very nice melody.

    • Posted March 9, 2020 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      Bravissimo.

  15. Barry Lyons
    Posted March 8, 2020 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    I can’t think of any beefs at the moment, but just the other day I wrote a tweet on my puzzlement over the phrase “the light went off in my head” (in the tweet I’m referring to Favilla’s book “A World Without Whom”):

    • Matt
      Posted March 9, 2020 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

      Probably in the sense of “alarm going off” when an alarm goes on.

  16. d3zd3z
    Posted March 8, 2020 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    With this trend to drop all but the first syllable of words, there are bound to be ambiguities.

    “With this trend to drop all but the first syl of words, there are bound to be ambis.” I guess I don’t use as many multi-syllable words as I thought.

    • Filippo
      Posted March 8, 2020 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

      I wonder what a “guit” is. 😉

  17. Roger
    Posted March 8, 2020 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    Apps instead of programs. It makes me think my desktop is a mobile device. Desktop computers don’t get no respect any more.

  18. Mark R.
    Posted March 8, 2020 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    “I appreciate you,” or, contracted “‘preciate ya”.

    I’m hearing it more and more. I never hear, ‘I appreciate your help’, or ‘thanks, I appreciate it/that’. Why must we start appreciating the individual?

    Just yesterday I was at a self-checkout at the supermarket buying some hard cider. There were two people working in the area. A guy came over to acknowledge I was old enough and clear the screen so I could continue checking out; his fellow worker said, “thanks, I appreciate you.” What the hell?

    • Roger
      Posted March 8, 2020 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      A certain Croatian chess commentator says “enjoy” all the time instead of like or appreciate. As in, “I hope you guys enjoy that move” or “I really enjoy the comments.”

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted March 8, 2020 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

        Whaddya expect from a Croat? 🙂

        I don’t know all the ins-and-outs of the current situation in the Balkans, but in my grandparents’ neighborhood when I was a kid, Slovenian-Americans used to tell jokes goofing on Croatian-Americans, the way Canadians do about “Newfies.” 🙂

        You know, of the “you can always tell a Croatian, but you can’t tell ’em much” variety.

        • Posted March 9, 2020 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

          Ken, is the terminal “c” in your name pronounced (in Amurican) “ch”?

          I would think so.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted March 9, 2020 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

            It’s a hard “c.” In “the old country” pronunciation, which my grandparents continued to use after they came here, it was a soft “c,” like “ets.”

            My dad changed it somewhere along the line to the American hard “c.” I’m not positive on the details, but the sense of it I got as a kid growing up was that, when he was in the Navy during WW2, he got tired of trying to get all those chief petty officers from the South to pronounce it the old-country way, so he threw in the towel. 🙂

            Some Slovenian- (and Croatian-)Americans with similar names changed the spelling from the final “c” to “ets” to preserve the old-country pronunciation.

            • Posted March 10, 2020 at 5:42 am | Permalink

              Aw, I’ve been pronouncing it wrongly in my head for years now. It’ll take me more years to get it right now.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted March 10, 2020 at 10:44 am | Permalink

                That’s okay, Colin, when my siblings and I get together, we’ll sometimes refer to each other by the “old country” pronunciation, as kind of an inside joke and fond remembrance of our grandparents. For the same reason, when speaking to or texting with each other, we’ll sometimes throw around the couple dozen words of Slovenian we picked up as kids. 🙂

  19. Posted March 8, 2020 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    One thing that that annoys me is when clerks in the stores ask me “Are you doing anything fun today?” I know it is just an attempt to be faux-friendly, but I want to answer “None of your business” or “I’m going to a funeral”.

    • Filippo
      Posted March 8, 2020 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

      Or maybe, “I’m treating a carbuncle on one of my gluteals.”

      • Posted March 8, 2020 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

        I’d be afraid they might ask for the deets.

        • Posted March 8, 2020 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

          Yous guys crack me up!

          • merilee
            Posted March 8, 2020 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

            I see what you did there…

        • Filippo
          Posted March 9, 2020 at 9:53 am | Permalink

          In the Ancient Days of high school one of my chums got the jock itch. Adolescents can’t keep such things to themselves and of course will seek to embarrass one about it. A few girls heard of the affliction, and I witnessed their attempt to embarrass the victim by rather pointedly asking him about it. He replied, “Healed Up and Haired Over!” which caused them not a little embarrassment.

      • Posted March 9, 2020 at 9:33 am | Permalink

        I MUST use that. Thank you!

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted March 8, 2020 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

      I haven’t heard that one, but then I do as little shopping as possible these days. Back in the day when I did, I think my answer would’ve been, “Let my girlfriend and me have the to key dressing room for a while, and I’ll get back to ya on that.” 🙂

    • vtvita
      Posted March 9, 2020 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      You remind me, when the cashier, clerk, waiter, etc., says, “have a nice day,” I’ll say (once in a while for the fun of it) “don’t tell me what to do.” I’m conscientious to let them know I’m only teasing.

    • Filippo
      Posted March 9, 2020 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      ” . . . I know it is just an attempt to be faux-friendly . . . .”

      A barista once asked me my name as I was purchasing a newspaper. It took me aback a bit, with me clumsily replying that I had not ordered anything. She replied to the effect that she just liked to get to know people, and IIRC she told me her name for good measure.

      I did not say my name, and I hardly felt that I was being impolite in not saying it. (In my callow years I would have very likely obediently acquiesced so as not to cause any possible offense.)

      I contemplated, as a matter of principle, going around asking every patron (including children) their name, and, what would be their response.

    • AJ
      Posted March 9, 2020 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      “No fun, just a fune.”

    • phoffman56
      Posted March 9, 2020 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

      And “fun” here is another annoying adjectified noun, as well.

  20. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted March 8, 2020 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    I’m pretty sure “apps” pre dates smartphones- so, flip phones – with buttons with schmutz on them.

  21. Jenny Haniver
    Posted March 8, 2020 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    A bit off topic but I just came across this: “A Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words, Obsolete Phrases, Proverbs, and Ancient Customs, from the Fourteenth Century,” 1846.
    https://www.forgottenbooks.com/en/readbook/DictionaryofArchaicandProvincialWords_10075356#8
    website with many fascinating forgotten books
    http://www.forgottenbooks.com/en

    I’d like to reintroduce some of these words.

  22. Ken Kukec
    Posted March 8, 2020 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    If you’re going to do this, why not use “fert” for “fertilizer” and “san” for “sanitizer”?

    Or “stats” for “statistics,” or “lab” for “laboratory,” or “meds” for “medicine” or “legit” for “legitimate”?

    I’m usually with you on these beefs, boss, but here we part ways. I think a tendency toward abbreviation of this sort comes as natural to the Queen’s English as novel forms of profanity.

  23. Roo
    Posted March 8, 2020 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    A new phrase I’ve heard recently on SNL, that I can’t find a definition for… “for the children”. Anyone know what that one means? From the context it seems like “I’m great at X and I’m showing off my skills for all of you who are newbies”, or something along those lines. Once it was “slay for the children”, once just “for the children” by itself.

    • Posted March 8, 2020 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

      When teachers go out on strike, they never say it is because they want more money. Rather, they say “It is for the children.” Thus, “for the children” is used sardonically to make a selfish act sound altruistic. For example, if I buy myself an expensive item and my wife calls me on it, I’ll say “Oh, but it is for the children.”

      At least that is how I’ve heard it used.

      • Roo
        Posted March 8, 2020 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

        I’ve heard that too (a funny version I like – substituting something random, like “Do it for the aardvarks!!”), although I think this is something different.

        • Filippo
          Posted March 9, 2020 at 10:08 am | Permalink

          Am reminded of A.C. Grayling substituting “Fred” for “God.”

      • Filippo
        Posted March 9, 2020 at 9:56 am | Permalink

        ‘Rather, they say “It is for the children.”’

        Well, at least they don’t refer to them as “human resources” and “human capital.”

  24. Posted March 8, 2020 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    I usually am ok with most of these “odious” phrases but “apps” for appetizers really ticks me off. It’s the kind of shortening someone in the restaurant industry would do, knowing full well that it represents a severely overloaded abbreviation and will cause confusion, however innocent and brief. It’s perfectly fine for a waiter to ask the kitchen, “How are those apps coming for table 3?” but when they are talking to patrons, I expect them to use “appetizer” out of respect.

    • Posted March 8, 2020 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

      “Apps” is bad, but the baby talk “appies” is worse.

    • Liz
      Posted March 8, 2020 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

      It’s worse when people say “appeteaser” instead of appetizer. Ha. It’s terrible.

      • Posted March 8, 2020 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

        Is that when you order the appetizer but they forget to serve it? 😉

        • Liz
          Posted March 8, 2020 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

          Whatever it is supposed to be, it’s awful.

        • Posted March 9, 2020 at 9:35 am | Permalink

          Maybe it’s items that are listed on the menu but which they don’t actually serve.

  25. merilee
    Posted March 8, 2020 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    I kind of like “at first blush”, perhaps because my South African physics prof used it along with “you gain on the swings what you lose of the roundabout.”

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted March 8, 2020 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

      What’s that second one mean, merilee? It’s a new one on me.

      But I’m kinda keen on the rhythm & sound of it.

      • merilee
        Posted March 8, 2020 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

        https://www.google.com/search?q=what+you+gain+on+the+swings+you+lose+on+the+roundabouts&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en-us&client=safari

        Kind of like 6 of one, half a dozen of the other, but a little different. Perfect for physics with conservation of energy doncha know, but useful in everyday parlance as well. It’s very British, though my Stanford physics classmate from way back when and I still throw it into our conversations just for yuks.

        • merilee
          Posted March 8, 2020 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

          “Win some, lose some” is a better synonym.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted March 9, 2020 at 9:07 am | Permalink

            Thanks. Can’t wait to see the looks on my friends’ faces when I drop that one in conversation. 🙂

            • merilee
              Posted March 9, 2020 at 10:23 am | Permalink

              Report back! I remember gsin on the swings, but I think it can also be lose on the swings…

  26. Paul Matthews
    Posted March 8, 2020 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    One of the usages that drives me round the bend is when someone receives an award or honour and says that he’s humbled or that the experience is humbling. These people don’t seem to know what “humble” means. I’m not sure where this came from. Perhaps they’re trying to say that they’re just a humble person who’s not really worthy of the award or honour that’s just been bestowed upon them.

    I have no problem at all with “at first blush” and use this somewhat antiquated expression myself occasionally. I realize this doesn’t exactly make me cool and “with it” but I turned 62 today so I have little hope of being those things. Frankly, I don’t really understand the objection to “at first blush”.

  27. Tom B
    Posted March 8, 2020 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    Irregardless.

    Probably does not really count as it is just plain bad grammar but I still it way too often.

    • chascpeterson
      Posted March 8, 2020 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

      The example given of “at first blush” is used entirely correctly; i.e. ‘blush’ could be replaced with ‘glance’ with no change of meaning. Nothing is implied of embarrassment
      or overheating or any other cause of red-facedness. The modern meaning of ‘blush’ was seemingly inferred, not implied.

      • Posted March 9, 2020 at 4:09 am | Permalink

        Sorry, but when I’ve asked people what they mean by that, some of them have told me that it refers to the physical act of blushing. So they were no tusing it correctly. Not only did they interpret what they said as wrong, but they used an archaic word.

    • merilee
      Posted March 8, 2020 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

      And “anyways”…

  28. Posted March 8, 2020 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    I’m driven to distraction and worse by Agent Orange’s penchant for what I can only describe as his ‘rampant superlativization’. Today I saw a news clip with him talking about the test kits for corvid-19. ‘The test is beautiful.’ ‘It’s perfect just like that call was perfect, and the transcript was perfect.’
    Gag me with an effin’ spoon!

    • Posted March 8, 2020 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

      … Covid not corvid! Cripes!

      • merilee
        Posted March 8, 2020 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

        Maybe the Chinese were eating crows?

      • merilee
        Posted March 8, 2020 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

        Maybe the Chinese were eating crow(s)?

        • Posted March 9, 2020 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

          My apologies to that 19th crow or those 10 crows! I always visualize crows when I hear that virus name.

          I do hope people will leave the wild animals alone and not eat them anymore.

          Did you see the NASA before and after photos that show how the air is much cleaner over China, esp. Beijing?

    • Posted March 9, 2020 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

      The Orange Abscess has Liarhhea.

    • Matt
      Posted March 9, 2020 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      Also, when Fake Genius is talking he’s constantly spreading his hands apart. He did this when he was bragging about how much he knows about the Coronavirus. I’ll call this “Trumpsplaining” or even “Trumpspreading”.

      • Rita Prangle
        Posted March 12, 2020 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

        Even worse than watching Trump in that video is the guy on the right who is nodding at some of the outrageous statements Trump is making. What a toady!

  29. merilee
    Posted March 8, 2020 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

    I heard “deets” on Better Call Saul this evening😖

    • Posted March 9, 2020 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

      I love that series. Binged on the new season already.

      • Posted March 9, 2020 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

        Ditto. I understand that one more season is on tap, and then that will be all she wrote.

        • merilee
          Posted March 9, 2020 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

          Love “Mike” and chicken man, Gus. I wonder if Walter an Jessie will show up again?

          • Posted March 9, 2020 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

            Agreed

          • Posted March 9, 2020 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

            Also, I would not be surprised if the writers would integrate Walter and Jesse and perhaps others into the last season to make the transition from BCS to BB. Tangential – I enjoyed the last season of The Man in the High Castle, and the first season of Hunters. Hopefully there will be a second season of Hunters – it is set up very nicely for continuation.

            • merilee
              Posted March 9, 2020 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

              I think I have Hunters on my watch list on Netflix. Is Man from High Castle sci-fiish?

              • Posted March 10, 2020 at 12:06 am | Permalink

                Yes. Alternate history re WW2.

              • merilee
                Posted March 10, 2020 at 9:28 am | Permalink

                Thanks, Douglas. I somehow don’t enjoy anything sci-fi (though love real science).

              • Posted March 10, 2020 at 10:46 am | Permalink

                Man in the High Castle is sort of sci-fi-ish in that it features multiple worlds, alternate histories, and the like. However, it is not the typical kind of sci-fi TV which is aimed at 13 year-olds. It is very stylish and features a Nazi and Japanese occupied former US in great detail. My wife and I have watched the whole thing.

              • Posted March 10, 2020 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

                Good summary.

              • merilee
                Posted March 10, 2020 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

                I am set to tape The Plot Against America, from the Phillip Roth novel, on HBO starting the 16th. Similar premise I think. Read the book when it came out. Not my favorite Roth, but not bad.

          • Posted March 11, 2020 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

            Would love to see El Camino which is supposed to be on Netflix but for some reason, I haven’t found it yet.

            • merilee
              Posted March 11, 2020 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

              Aren’t you in Canada? I found it on my Netflix (but haven’t gotten to it yet).

              • Posted March 11, 2020 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

                Yes, I’m in Canada. I’ll look again. We might have been having internet issues when I tried to search for it a month ago, or I might have been confused and was searching Crave or something by mistake. (Getting old!)

              • merilee
                Posted March 11, 2020 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

                All these platforms do get confusing! It seems to be on Netflix now. I was very frustrated once while bingeing on some series here and then visiting my brother in California and the show was not available there😖

            • Posted March 11, 2020 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

              It’s there. Petty good.

  30. gscott
    Posted March 8, 2020 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

    Is it possible for a journalist to write a story about the Covid outbreak in China without using the term ‘epicenter’? The epicenter of an earthquake is the point on the earth’s surface (‘epidermis’) below which the quake happens. The primary action happens at the hypocenter. ‘Epicenter’ is NOT an intensifier for ‘center’ (which doesn’t need an intensifier in the first place).

    And don’t get me started on ‘spike’ (oops, too late!). The whole point of a spike is that it has a point – it’s a data trend that shoots up, then quickly back down again. But everyone wants to declare a spike after seeing the jump up without waiting to see what happens next.

    And I agree with phoffman56 (in #4) about the odiosity of ‘going forward’.

  31. Posted March 9, 2020 at 2:05 am | Permalink

    Please don’t get me started on this! Merch for merchandise-it took me some to de code this.
    I used to hate the shortened ‘UNI’ but when you use the word University a lot in every day life the five syllables do become a mouthful. My most hated abbreviation- spag bol! iT sounds like something the cat might throw up- so annoying!
    One thing I would love is an App that replaces calories – I need to lose some pounds!
    Enjoyed your post btw 🙂

    • merilee
      Posted March 9, 2020 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      Spag bol: something the cat might throw up. LOL🙀

  32. Posted March 9, 2020 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    Never heard any of those!

  33. Stephen Wilson
    Posted March 9, 2020 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Gag-worthy…

    “Low ‘T'” – meaning testosterone

    “Pump” – the fragrant, dark brown bread formerly known, apparently, as pumpernickel.

    “Guac” – the avocado-based spread formerly known as guacamole.

    Are the unwashed masses no longer capable of pronouncing or reading words of more than one syllable, or more likely, I think, are advertisers trying to be “trendy?”

  34. Filippo
    Posted March 9, 2020 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    The phrase “even though” as not infrequently used in NY Times reporting (and surely throughout the media).

    E.g., some human primate somewhere makes a decision or takes an action (or declines to so make and take), “even though,” per the Times, a certain event had previously occurred or set of circumstances previously existed. I.e., “How could So-and-So possibly have done (or not done) what he did in response to this event (so as to conform with the Times’s view)?” Not infrequently I perceive these locutions to also be non sequiturs.

    I perceive (quite reasonably, IMO) that this allows the Times to sneakily insert its opinion in a supposedly objective news article.

    Plainly state that opinion in the op-ed section, NY Times, and leave it to readers to contemplate and make their own “even though” conclusions as they see fit.

  35. harrync
    Posted March 9, 2020 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    So you like or dislike a certain word or phrase. Whatever.

  36. Matt Foley
    Posted March 9, 2020 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Stupid nonsense names for computer apps and websites. Too many examples to list. I see tv ads often for them. I don’t think they’re clever, I think they’re stupid and annoying.

  37. Kirth Gersen
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    While some of these things are simply annoying, a number of them represent actual barriers to communication. I know people who use “app” to mean application, appetizer, and appointment — and often aren’t clear enough on context for one to guess which one is meant. These are the people who insist on using “bag” to mean a purse, a suitcase, a sandwich bag, a backpack, and a shopping bag, and will say things like “can you get my bag for me?” without bothering to specify which one.

    • GBJames
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      You don’t even mention the verb form of “bag”!

      Now, I’m going to go bag me some lunch.

  38. merilee
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    https://harpers.org/archive/2019/12/lefty-lingo/
    A good take on woke language.


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