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What words would you like to see removed from our vocabularies, if not our dictionaries?

Posted by on Dec. 6, 2012 at 3:20 PM
  • 103 Replies

Recently we asked listeners what words they were tired of and wanted removed from the dictionary.

The use of “literally” in phrases such as “I literally laughed my head off!” got a number of votes. One of our listeners hated the use of the word “impact” as a verb, as in “the debate impacted the vote.”

We asked Steve Kleinedler, executive editor of the American Heritage Dictionary for his thoughts.

He told Here & Now’s Robin Young that the dictionary often addresses those complaints in their usage notes, but in the case of the word impact, “it has a longstanding, decades, decades long use as a verb… Language changes over time, and this is one where the ship has sailed.”

There’s a reason dictionaries can be reluctant to remove words, once they’re on the books, Steve said. Back in the late ’90s, he suggested the American Heritage Dictionary remove what appeared to be an obsolete word relating to punch card technology: chad.

“After some discussion, the editors realized it’s still used in certain jurisdictions – in voting booths, for example – and based on that, we thought, ‘Okay, we’ll keep it in,’” Steve said. “And then a year later, of course, in 2000, the word chad rose to the top of everyone’s consciousness in a very large way. So it’s an example of, while even if we think something might be on its way out, you really want to take caution before you start deleting things willy nilly.”

The catchphrases that people are tired of, such as “YOLO,” standing for “you only live once,” tend not to make it into the dictionary in the first place, Steve said, since editors feel that they are ephemeral and might die out.

Steve also told us about the words the American Heritage Dictionary added this year. Several came from the food world, including the condiment “Sriracha.”

http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2012/12/06/words-dictionary-literally

by on Dec. 6, 2012 at 3:20 PM
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Replies (1-10):
GotSomeKids
by Silver Member on Dec. 6, 2012 at 3:22 PM
6 moms liked this

cunt--it's such a vile word.

Clairwil
by Ruby Member on Dec. 6, 2012 at 3:35 PM
8 moms liked this


Quoting UpSheRises:


What words would you like to see removed from our vocabularies

Euphemisms that dehumanise, objectivise or minimise the pain of others.

UpSheRises
by Platinum Member on Dec. 6, 2012 at 3:48 PM
1 mom liked this


Quoting GotSomeKids:

cunt--it's such a vile word.

I have a pretty filthy mouth and i avoid it.

Debrowsky
by Member on Dec. 6, 2012 at 4:06 PM
1 mom liked this

all politically correct words.

tooptimistic
by Kelly on Dec. 6, 2012 at 4:38 PM
3 moms liked this

can't

Radarma
by "OneDar" on Dec. 6, 2012 at 4:42 PM
3 moms liked this

 

Quoting tooptimistic:

can't

 your sn fits.

:)

katzmeow726
by Platinum Member on Dec. 6, 2012 at 4:47 PM
1 mom liked this

Half words...it drives me up the wall.

Things like "presh" for precious, or "vacay" instead of vacation.  I don't know why they irritate me, but they do, hehe! 

punky3175
by on Dec. 6, 2012 at 4:54 PM
1 mom liked this
They irritate the snot out of me as well. I think it's because it makes the person seem like they are just too lazy to finish the word.

Quoting katzmeow726:

Half words...it drives me up the wall.

Things like "presh" for precious, or "vacay" instead of vacation.  I don't know why they irritate me, but they do, hehe! 

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katzmeow726
by Platinum Member on Dec. 6, 2012 at 4:57 PM

I guess so.  I honestly can not tell you why I hate them!  Of course, I'm guilty of using things like "lol" sometimes, so I can't complain too much I guess :-D

Quoting punky3175:

They irritate the snot out of me as well. I think it's because it makes the person seem like they are just too lazy to finish the word.

Quoting katzmeow726:

Half words...it drives me up the wall.

Things like "presh" for precious, or "vacay" instead of vacation.  I don't know why they irritate me, but they do, hehe! 


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by on Dec. 6, 2012 at 5:04 PM
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