Monday, 15 October 2007


It doesn't take a talent to be mean,
Words can crush things that are unseen.
- Jewel

I've rattled on about my love of words before and I adore those lyrics from Jewel's song 'I'm Sensitive'. Words are such a powerful thing. I know that they make up a tiny portion of a face to face conversation, with the rest coming from body language, tone of voice, etc.
There are, however, for me some words that no matter how they're spoken, I just can't abide.

And to be honest, swear words don't even register to me. They certainly don't make my list of hated words.

Top of my list is 'stupid'. Personally, I find it to be the most offensive word in the English language. If I hear it the hair on the back of my neck stands on end and I stiffen, wanting to admonish the user. It's a damaging word and a cruel word. I remember hearing one lady tell me that they had banned it in their house and feeling grateful I wasn't alone in my hatred of it. I think it has to be the biggest insult anyone could lay at my door.

Next comes 'nice'. Is there a more mediocre word in the English language? What does it express? Really? Almost nothing. Which is what it's worth. It has no passion, it screams 'I couldn't be bothered to think of anything better to say'.
Many years ago (more than I like to admit) when I was at primary school, we had to write a poem. We had to take the word 'insect' and create a poem where each line started with the letters from the word. I know there's a name for those but it has escaped my memory for the moment. Anyway, the word nice was banned, but I used it in my poem and my teacher insisted I rewrite it. I never understood her hatred of that word, but I've grown to agree with her.
I hear it fall out of my own mouth and cringe, desperately searching for something to replace it. It's just so non-committal.

Also on the list is 'cute'. Although it's the application of the word I object to, more than the word itself. Kittens, puppies, baby seals - all undeniably cute. Small children, also guilty of cuteness on occasion.
Adults? Not so much. We grow to be attractive, handsome, pretty, beautiful. To me, you get to an age, where being called cute is no longer complimentary, it starts to feel like 'I couldn't think of anything else to say' is what it really means.
If I'm wrong, which is eminently possible, I just want to know: What makes an adult cute?

On the flip side. I really love the word tegulated. Not because it means anything special, just because I like how it sounds and how it rolls in the mouth.

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