Saturday, July 18, 2009

Which Words Make You Wince?

'...the key to words that make you feel nauseous is not the meaning - it's easy, after all, to hate the word 'torture' – but something else entirely. Something idiosyncratic, something about the way the word feels in your mouth as you say it. The horrors of 'membrane', for instance. Or the eccentricity of 'gusset'.'
--from a recent article in The Guardian. So we ask you: which words make you wince? I'm sure I'll think of some others, but for now, my list would have to begin with robust.

9 Comments:

At 9:08 AM, Anonymous Donna said...

gulch, rictus

 
At 9:10 AM, Anonymous Donna said...

oh and who can forget rectitude?

 
At 12:08 PM, Blogger redhorse said...

Rigor. Rigorous is fine, but rigor makes me wince.

 
At 1:08 PM, Blogger Jim Murdoch said...

Many Scottish slang words are very evocative. One of the contestants on this year's Big Brother is from Scotland and during her eviction show yesterday they did a compilation of some of her more colourful expressions. Two words stood out for me: hoachin and boke. Hochin means 'alive' but not in a good way: "Her heed's absolutely hoachin wi nits". Boke – or if it's really bad dry boke – means to retch. So an appropriate reaction to a heedful of nits would be: "Christ! That's hoachin. It gies me the dry boke".

 
At 5:11 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

I'm afraid Scottish slang rather puts the American variety to shame. Sure hope I get to try it out some day on a visit, though. And rictus is of course painfully close to rectum, which may be the source of its wince-inducing powers.

 
At 7:48 AM, Anonymous Donna said...

I came up with a new one. Just read it in this book written by three academics:

Explicate

It offends me so much that I don't even want to look it up. But I'm sure it's a fancy-schmancy way of saying some 3-letter word.

 
At 9:13 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Poor insecure academics. We should pity rather than poke fun, I suppose. And Redhorse, the rigor with which the one form of the word bothers you while the other doesn't absolutely cracked me up. I chuckled about that one all evening.

 
At 2:59 PM, Blogger Pat Washington said...

"Nasty" has an unpleasant hissy sound to it.

And "fart" sounds full of, uh, disagreeable air....

"Conglomerate" sounds sort of fat.

And "belch" ... you can almost see the gaseous mist emitted from this word.

These are some of mine.

 
At 3:00 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

We'd have to agree with all of these, Pat. Thanks for adding your thoughts.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home