I am a word bigot too

I read this post over on HTML Giant about word bigotry and felt a little bit like, “oh, I have found my people.”

Sure, sure we all have those words we hate. In fact some words are so hated it’s a cliche to hate them: moist, impactful, guesstimate. I think word bigotry goes beyond just hating certain words, it includes an actual judgement of the writer or speaker of that word.

Here’s an example, whenever I see a someone has included the “buzz/hum/sound of cicadas” in their writing I roll my eyes. Hard. I might even make a gagging sound. Nothing, to me, smacks of “I’m writing in a writerly right way” than cicadas. Cicadas drives me nuts.

It’s sort of like the Replacements Corollary (whereby any author automatically gains 38% more enjoyment points by merely referring to the band) in reverse.

I feel the same way about the word retards/retarded. This one is hard, because I still slip up and use it occasionally, especially when speaking. I judge myself just as harshly.

This one is a little new to me. I had no idea the word had become so unPC and using it colored you ignorant until I said it when explaining someone or something and my niece looked at me, horrified. “Aunt Jodi, we don’t call people retards.”

It wasn’t even her words that caught me off guard, it was the look on her face. I can remember making that same face and saying, “Grammu, we don’t call people colored.”

I’ve been wracking my brain to come up with one more example, and I can’t. I’m sticking you with cicadas and retards. Of course as soon as I hit publish I’ll think of 88 more. What words do you judge harshly when people use them?

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Everything the light touches is my kingdom. Well, at least where this website is concerned. There's an about me section if you are so inclined to know things. All the posts were written by me. I have a lot of words.


  • bakiwop

    05.Oct.10 at 11:22 am

    using ‘got’ in place of ‘have’. for example: ‘i got to get a better example’ instead of ‘i have to get a better example’.

    unfortunately, i’ve heard ‘got’ for so long that i now find myself using it as well.

    stupid impressionablism (!) 🙂

  • Jodi

    05.Oct.10 at 11:31 am

    I don’t know if I’ve ever even noticed that one before. Which means I will hear it or catch myself saying it all the time now. Though when I think about it, I’ve probably said “I’ve got to get a. . . ” or more likely, “I’ve got to go get. . .” I can’t imagine saying I got, unless I got it. . . whatever it might be.

  • M-----l

    05.Oct.10 at 1:58 pm

    I think that people who use the word “folks” are stupid.

    I also hate it when people leave out the word “the” before teacher, baby, doctor, etc. I had eye surgery a few years back and the nurse kept describing what the doctor was going to do next. Instead of saying, “The doctor will now peel back your eye flap,” she’d say, “Doctor will now peel back your eye flap.” She really got me riled up.

  • Jodi

    05.Oct.10 at 2:01 pm

    Leaving out the “the” makes it seem like Doctor is his/her name or nickname. Why would she do that? That’s weird.

    Do you think people use folks because it’s gender inclusive? I have a bad habit of calling everyone guys (men and women).

  • hotrod

    05.Oct.10 at 2:04 pm

    I hate “folks” too and I have the same tendency to overuse “guys.” I’m trying to rectify the situation by using “yinz” more.

  • hotrod

    05.Oct.10 at 2:19 pm

    Yinz is certainly not difficult to figure out. For anybody who understands context, I mean. That could be why the flyovers are confused. But then – that’s not my problem, is it?

  • Jodi

    05.Oct.10 at 2:22 pm

    It is most definitely your problem if people can’t understand what you’re saying. And even when you used it in context I had to ask what it meant. Yes, that leaves me open for you to make a very obvious (and expected) dumb joke at my expense, but I stand by my assertion that yinz is stupid outside of what is it. . .Pennsylvania?

  • M-----l

    05.Oct.10 at 3:57 pm

    I’m going to start substituting the completely imaginary word “schzmboli” for “you guys” and make schzmboli figure out what I mean through context clues. It would still sound less moronic than “yinz”.

  • Placemat

    05.Oct.10 at 8:36 pm

    I hate people, but I like folks. It’s a good word. Folks should use it.

    Guesstimate doesn’t bother me, when used correctly, but I really dislike “idear”.

  • Lori

    06.Oct.10 at 7:38 pm

    Impact used as a verb unless you’re talking about your bowels.
    Any use of the word fag.
    Using ‘I’ instead of me because it sounds fancy (but is actually dumb because it shows you don’t know the difference between subjective and objective pronouns).
    The phrase ‘at this point in time’ … um, you mean NOW?
    I could go on and on.

  • Suzy

    08.Oct.10 at 8:38 pm

    Irregardless – it is not a word.

    Fixing – as in I am fixing to do something. Totally a Texas thing.

    I use Dude way too much when really what I want to say is stop being such a selfish, moronic ass.

    People (or Folks) who use “fudge” or “doo doo” or other substitute word instead of either just cursing or really working their vocabulary.


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