An Uncapped Pen

September 3, 2008

Annoying Words and Phrases

Filed under: Reading,Writing Exercises — cindylv @ 5:46 pm
Tags: , ,

Here is a sample from my list of annoying words and phrases What, doesn’t everyone keep a list?  I admit that I must have exposed nerves in my ears (and in my eyes).  


That said, … (or having said that, …) followed by a contradictory opinion

Adumbrate – a dumb vertebrate?

Alacrity – This word sounds sharp and piercing, and clacky.

Awesome! – Enough already!

Banal – Bathroomy sounding.  Must be from the Spanish word for “bathroom.”

Begs the question – Just ask the question!

Brio – I prefer vim.  Or vigor.  (Or Viggo.  Or Brie.)

Cachet – Cashhay.  Just bothers me.

Caustic – Ouch!

Chagrin – Usually preceded by “much to his/her …”

Chthonic –  May I please buy a vowel?

Colloquial – Looks knobby.  Doesn’t roll well.

Desultory – Sounds like a sad word.

Elegiac – Would you like to buy a vowel?  I have a few extras.

Eponymous – Sounds like a high-falutin’ horse.

Eschew – Too spitty.

Extended riff on [name the subject] – Little riffs aren’t good enough?

Fantabulous! (or Transplendant!) – Seems redundant.  Like the exclamation point is built-in.

Frisson – A real French word that sounds like a fake French word.  I prefer “shiver.”

Hackneyed – Knobby.

Ineffable – Makes me wonder what happened to “effable.”  But that sounds like you’re trying not to use a bad word (F-able).

Irregardless – Look it up.  “Commonly used by ignorant people.”  Actually, MW says, “…avoided by careful users of the English language.”  Same thing.

Limn – How do you make the sound of an M followed by an N?

Mordant – Isn’t that a group of beings in The Lord of the Rings?

Myopic – Actually, I like this word.  It reminds me of Mr. MaGoo.

Nuanced – Too subtle.

Oeuvre – Looks like it sounds like Eeeewwwww – VAH – RE.

Palimpsest – Plump or fat.

Pepper and Mayonnaise – ???  I’ve heard this phrase twice.  Why is this a bad combination?

Pithy – Icky strings of fiber inside an orange come to mind.

Polemic – Mean, yet anemic.

Scintillating – If you cut yourself with your electric knife, it would feel shocking and sharp — scintillating.

Saucy – This will drip on the tablecloth and leave a stain irregardless of how much SHOUT I use.

So and So meets Such and Such – This story is “Bourne Identity” meets “Dumbo.”

Syzygy – Vowels, please.

Taut – Too nipply.

The thing about it is, is – My co-worker starts 90% of his conversations with this bit-o-brilliance.  The other 10% start with either “Basically…” or “Whelp…” and a neck scratch.  I give myself extra credit for not swinging for the fences when a conversation begins, “Whelp.”  Neck scratch.  “The thing about it is, is…basically…”

Tome – Dirge-y.

Trenchant – Weapon-y.  (FYI:  It’s the present participle of Trenchier.)

Turgid –  Purple prosey.

Trope – Sounds like dope.

Winsome – Reminds me of Kate Winslet in Titanic.  Also, I often wonder if this is a tricky word like “fulsome.”  A negative that sounds positive, but isn’t.

With a nod to – We, at Pretension Incorporated, applaud your pretension.

Wry – A contraction of the words “dry” and “wrung.”

Zeitgeist – My tongue will not bend that way.



  1. There is a certain zeitgeist, in this list that i find wry, yet funny; or should I say saucy. Sure, people have lists but this is fantaboulous. This begs the question: Why do I feel there is a redundancy, a myopic outlook, a desultory attitude towards life that I feel, reading through such a list.
    That said, it seems you possess an attitude for perfectionism; a winsome, scintillating feel for the eponymous.
    The thing about it is, that a colloquial language – nuanced, caustic, or turgid; evokes the most awesome sensations. Even the pithy feelings of a polemic life; something like pepper and sauce. Even pepper and mayonnaise, caustic as it may taste, this is life. Eschew this thought. Banal prose, always leads to the elegiac, the ineffable. Irregardless, do not feel caustic, my friend. Think of Life as an extended riff on a samba drum. With a nod to the hackneyed crowd, join the dance. I promise, you shall be scintillated, and later scratch your neck, to your delight and the chagrin of thy enemies.

    Comment by usman — September 4, 2008 @ 6:03 am | Reply

  2. Oh, usman! Perfect comment! I shall smile all day long! Thank you!

    Comment by cindylv — September 4, 2008 @ 3:00 pm | Reply

  3. hehe. Great comment and post. (c: I lectured the German family I’m staying with on the two things you should never do in English if you want to sound intelligent…use the word Irregardless…because it’s IMPOSSIBLE. Double Negative much? and mispronounce pronunciation…a lot of people try and say “pronounciation” which is just stupid. (c: Good stuff.

    Comment by Larissa — September 8, 2008 @ 11:41 am | Reply

  4. Thanks, Larissa. Maybe a subject for future post, misused words, mispronunciations and malapropisms. I can’t wait to see what Usman does with that post!

    Comment by cindylv — September 8, 2008 @ 3:01 pm | Reply

  5. Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. :) Cheers! Sandra. R.

    Comment by sandrar — September 10, 2009 @ 1:58 pm | Reply

    • Thanks, Sandra! Come back any time…

      Comment by cindylv — September 13, 2009 @ 5:53 am | Reply

  6. Words that make me cringe: Uber, Think outside the box, surreal,

    Words I like: Spangle, cellophane, tinsel

    Comment by Kathy — November 23, 2009 @ 2:30 am | Reply

  7. You may want to keep an eye on this Facebook page:

    Comment by Michael — September 26, 2012 @ 7:41 pm | Reply

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