Words We Learn To Dislike by Lynette Duffy

Have you noticed some words make you cringe inside? Over my lifetime, I physically recoil when I hear or read specific words. Below is a list of my ultimate antipathies.


This word tops the list of my all-time cringe-worthy words. From the moment my husband and I first started looking at houses, we heard this word bandied about. The hidden meaning was that there was going to be a lot of work and money involved, in getting this house up to an acceptable condition. Alternative words that are conceivable, prospective, hypothetical, capacity, aptitude and promise.


How many times have you heard this word used where others would be more appropriate? Something is not 'very good', it is magnificent, brilliant or spectacular. You are not 'very sad', you are morose, unhappy, devastated. Things are not 'very unique', 'very rare' or 'very extinct', they can only be unique or rare or extinct, and adding the word 'very' does not make them any more unique, rare or extinct.


A word that is overused by many. When something is really great, it is famous, distinguished, remarkable, skilful or excellent. Being really busy can be better expressed as demanding, hectic, active, frenzied or even chaotic. Really small is minute, undersized, diminutive, petite. As you can see, really is (really) categorically overused.


Another word I have learnt to dislike hearing is soulmate. A soulmate is defined as a person you have a strong affinity too, along with a sharing of values and tastes. It is used mostly with a romantic partner. Would it not be better to describe a soulmate as companion, kindred spirit, confidante or loving partner?


Closure is the last of my disliked words. It is quoted many times in reference to something that has come, or is about to come, to an end. Used extensively with a situation at work or a death. This was overused when my mother died adversely in hospital, during the inquest, followed by my father's death soon after. What is actually meant, is the situation has ended or finished and people can move on. So why use closure? Would a better substitute word be ended, closed, terminated, culminated, finished, ceased, concluded or stopped?

You will learn, over your lifetime, some words will dominate and you will become to dislike hearing, seeing and reading them. I feel sure, you have some of your own to add to my list, and would be keen to read what causes you angst.

Next time I will talk about homonyms.

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Sunday, 26 May 2019

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