Posted in Of Culturel

Of Words

words1
Words

I hate the word ‘crush‘. I can’t begin to describe how much I hate it. It’s so difficult to say. You push a ball of air into your throat, and before you can expel it, you have to join your dental set and add a -shh to it. Ugh.

I hate all its meanings. Why not say trample, or squeeze (actually, squeeze is kind of icky too. Icky is icky too.) or drink or admiration? If I could, I would erase that word from the history of the English language. But, I bet a few people will be crushed to see it go.

Words are like clothes. Or food. Sure, we need them, but not any would do. We have our own style. Our own taste. Our own preferences and personalities.

But, we behave as though words are like air. Everyone has to conform, because they are our basic means of communication. Because words are always something given. You use them outwardly. They come to you, but that’s not under your control. They ask you to be wordwise, because using words wisely can create success for you in any given situation. And that includes saying nothing at all.

But, c’mon, some words just have to go. Below, I have a table for you sourced from The Independent, listing the most hated words in the English language from several countries across the world:

UK USA Canada Australia India Netherlands Germany Spain
moist

no

like

Brexit

nice

moist

no

hate

stupid

like

moist

no

hate

like

can’t

moist

no

hate

panties

like

love

sorry

no

hate

good

no

moist

war

cancer

love

no

love

hate

yes

bad

hello

yes

no

bad

you

Before I get to my own country, I think I better start taking Spanish lessons. How would an English-speaking person survive in Spain without – hello yes no bad you? Some greetings do annoy me, like people saying “Hi!” when we aren’t on hi terms yet (don’t even get me started on the hi-five). But, I thought Hello was pretty neutral, wherever you go. While yes and no seems to be a common feature (perhaps, they’re too mainstream. Yeah and Nope might just be the future full-time), how would you survive without a you? Or tell your waiter, “this dish I can’t pronounce is bad”?

Interesting how India and Germany are the only two to hate both love and hate. Modern Germany has been described as having some of the loveliest, most receptive people, while India is the land of Bollywood, of whose staple is romance. We’re a rather enthusiastic bunch who wear our hearts on our sleeves (yours truly is a bit more embarrassed and conflicted than others she knows), though of course, these are massive generalizations.

All I’m saying is, I’m rather surprised to find that love is the number 1 word Indians hate, but I guess it’s because the word is too boring and too small for the emotion we feel. Though the Hindi word for love, pyaar, is equally monosyllabic, the Bengali bhalobasha is four syllables long and a rather tough one to pronounce, even for someone who has been saying it all her life.

I see moist is pretty unpopular, though it would have never occurred to me. Which is strange, considering how humid it is here, and moisture is something that does concern us often. Like is another popular one, and like sorry, it just has to go. ASAP. Just imagine the English language without any likes. And I hate that you think of the recently conceived noun-like before the standard verb-like. (That doesn’t mean I don’t encourage several noun-likes below this post.)

Words being so emotive, I feel I’ve made some emotional assumptions about the countries above, based on the words they hate. There’s no best and worst (worst being also one of my personal worst words), but there’s something about Netherlands’ hated words that make my eyes moist (sorry, not sorry). If I had to choose a country to win in the World’s Worst Words Competition to banish all five words forever, I’d go for Australia. Their list is pretty self-explanatory.

What are some words you hate? If you’re from any of the above countries, do you agree with your respective list?

Come and say Hello (or some other greeting you prefer) on Goodreads! : https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8134521.Amrita_Sarkar

Author:

Writer, Blogger, Kate Bush Fanatic

18 thoughts on “Of Words

  1. Moist would never occur to me either. It does not seem so bad. Being from the US I do agree with ‘like’ being on the list. Like you know its like the coolest thing ever to like…Chalkboard and finger nails moment! My wife loathes the concept of the word try. Like it is a lazy word. I hate the casual use of the word retarded for things that are stupid, dumb, unbelievable. I suppose I should have said I dislike the word retarded since hate is on the US list, but that is a bit of a conundrum to work around!

    1. Ha ha!! Very much agree on retarded. In any context, really. I also hate awesome, when used for things that aren’t awesome. Try is interesting. I wonder what your wife’s reasoning is for that one. Maybe it’s a bit defeatist? I hate the word objectionable. I feel very strongly against it, like crush. Interesting how these are more personal than universal!

      1. Defeatist would be precisely why she loathes the word. If I say ‘I’ll try to get that done today’ she side eye stares me until I say ‘I will get that done today’ lol. Awesome is very much similar to like. It is overused and rather lazy….though full confession, I use them both myself quite a lot. It is interesting that they are more personal, because I find nothing objectionable about er….objectionable the word lol.

      2. Just the fact that any thing can qualify to be objected against… I can’t stand it! Awesome and Like are a (sorry Netherlands) cancer to the English language!

      3. I do remember this one! Just the other day I was listening to a podcast with Stephen Fry and Craig Ferguson. Love them both, but Stephen is always so nice to listen to!

      4. He is so nice to listen to, very true. And this sketch cracks me up, especially the imagined sentence he comes up with! Ironically some of what he says is actually quite true when you think about it!

      5. That’s what makes him so brilliant, and more than a comedian. I spent several months of 2012 totally obsessed with him! Such a great mind, soul, entity really.

      6. Agreed. We have the Jeeves and Wooster series at home, and watched all the Fry and Laurie show and various other things over the years. I’ve read all his books as well, but I think we discussed that once before.

    1. I looked it up (on the urban dictionary, which is more accurate about contemporary usage of words) and yeah, it has multiple sexual connotations and seems to be hated for it. Perhaps, the band named themselves for this very reason!

  2. I have never met a word I didn’t like. There are ones I can’t spell or pronounce, but I love them all anyway! Each one has a personality and color, they convey with their sound and in each syllable what it is about. Even those darn words which mix us up as we go.

    1. Aww, that is so nice Kris! I find the harder a word is to pronounce or spell, the more I’m attracted to it. Like it gives you more to think about. I definitely ‘like’ your approach to vocabulary!

      1. For some unknown reason, I mix up certain letters when I say words. I can pronounce ‘linoleum’ and cannot accurately say cinnamon and a couple others twice in a row. I love cinnamon!

  3. At risk of sounding like the commentators in the Fry and Laurie Sketch, language is all about context. They sell “moist” cake mixes, so I don’t know what context people are using “moist” in these days, but that’s the context I put that word in!

    1. Ha ha!! Great that you mentioned cake, because one of the hosts of The Great British Bake Off cheekily called it her favourite word and said it several times with reference to cake!
      I completely agree. The words I hate are for personal reasons, and I understand why others won’t feel the same about them. Like a commenter here whose wife hates the word “try”, because it sounds defeatist. Whereas I would take it positively, as in “try and try again”.
      As for what people mean by moist these days, here’s a link to the urban dictionary meanings of moist: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Moist

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