I, on the other hand, refuse to collect anything. Or I should say: I refuse to collect anything that takes up space, collects dust, or requires special insurance coverage.
What I collect are words. I currently have nineteen different lists with titles like “naughty words I'll probably never use,” “malapropisms,” “eggcorns,” and “good names.” I collect words that sound mellifluous, that paint a vivid picture, or that simply perform a specific job beautifully. You can see a number of words I treasure here.
One of my lists is entitled “terrible words.” These are words that are difficult to pronounce or unpleasant to hear or that sound like the wrong part of speech. Some just rub me the wrong way.
Anyway, I thought I’d share my “terrible words” list with you. And no, “moist” does not appear on it. I’m a copywriter who needs to write evocatively about cake from time to time, and I’m not about to take “moist” out of commission. Also, I remain in the minority that just doesn’t mind “moist.” I’ll write it again, looking you directly in the metaphorical eye. Moist.
If that made you uncomfortable, you may want to quit reading. Things are about to get a whole lot worse.
Here we go—my list of terrible words:
contumely (A NOUN!)
stalk (the noun)
I don't think it's *terrible*, but prolix has no business being an adjective.
A number of my friends contributed to this list. (Thanks, Heather and David and everyone else.) One person wrote this gem: “‘Crepuscular’ is like a beautiful woman named Hagatha.’” (Apologies to all the Hagathas out there.)
How about you? Are there words that make you cringe? Please share!