I love words. They're my art, my business, and my pleasure. Given my devotion to putting them on paper, arranging them, and in some cases, inventing them, I'd love them all, right?
There are words I can't stand. They're acid to the eyes. Icepicks to the ears. They crawl under my skin, the place where extemporaneously always slithers, or up the back of my skull, the way chiaroscuro invariably goes.
Over-familiarity usually breeds contempt. At one point a couple of years back every freaking lit-head was using chiaroscuro compulsively, like it was some elitist word mason's secret handshake into the snotty vocabulary club. After months and months of being battered with the damn word, I thought I would require professional treatment if I read it one more time.
Others are inexplicable, but still have the same effect. Take prolixity and signatory, add an interstitial dash of schadenfreude, and please: oh, God, please, top it all off with a nice big honking zeitgeist and you'll have me breaking out in hives (bonus annoyance points if you use any of these as verbs.)
I can probably give a therapist a lifetime of work figuring out why certain words bug the hell out of me, but the fact remains that they do and I'm pretty sure that they always will. So I dodge them. Obsessively. All I have to see is the first few letters of a hated word and I know it's coming and I am out of there.
I can be just as annoying, too. I'm an unconscious repeater. Count how many times I've used terrific great or a lot in a single blog post and you'll get the picture. To police myself, I try to be aware when I repeat words that annoy my friends and blog pals, and substitute something else for them when I can. Zornhau probably hasn't noticed, but I have tried very hard not to use Oh, well on the blog ever since he mentioned that he hates that phrase. My friends Rob and Jess have forbidden me to use fascinating more than once a year as apparently I was using it so much I was starting to sound like Mr. Spock.
What are some words you'd rather dodge than fight?