particular. "As in, 'I don't know what this particular dial is for.' Who needs particular? the sentence would be the same without it."
Qream. This is the word selected to represent "a delicious vodka-based spirit from Pharrell Williams."
rancid. Because it seems it.
slacks. We'll let the folks at the New Yorker explain this one.
seriously. When said incredulously, for effect, especially with an exclamation point and a question mark following it.
supposably. Not a real word.
surface. As in, "are you trying to surface words that people have started to use brutally incorrectly?"
thusly. "Unforgivable." See also: firstly; see also snooty.
troll. For those of us who work on the Internet or live under bridges, or both.
tweeps. Defenders of this word, please come forward and explain why.
um. "How could any word possibly be worse than um? It serves absolutely no purpose other than to fill dead air space, literally means, 'I need time to think of something real to say,' and actually makes its speaker sound dumber for saying it." Does um count as a word?
utilize. "For when using something just doesn't sound 'intellectual' enough."
undergarments. "So grandma-ish."
vajayjay. "I hate euphemisms for genitalia and excrement. Like tee tee or vajayjay."
vender. This spelling still galls.
webinar. One of those awful "new media" words, like weblog and bloggerati.
whatever. As related to tone. "Whatever you like" is probably fine. But announcing whatever! while making a W with both hands and giving off a general aura of bad attitude is not.
winningest. Also: winning, as appropriated by Charlie Sheen.
whimsical or whimsy. These adorable words were offensive to one, who called them "gross."
xenophobia. For the same reason(s) as hate.
yammer. A social network, and a word in the dictionary. Annoying both ways.
zwieback. Effortlessly evocative of drool. How can you love a word for a teething biscuit?
There appear to be several categories that hate words tend to fall into: Words people hate the sound of; words people hate the meaning of; words widely considered to be or mean something gross or unpleasant; words that are overused or meaningless; and words that reflect something unflattering about the user, often that that person thinks much of him or herself. One person, however, brings up a good if possibly confusing point with regard to all of this. The hate word, like a good hate read, can often become a loved word: "I'm not sure that I purely hate any words," he says. "Most of the words I hate have more of a love/hate (or love to hate) kind of thing for me, like goiter."
To each his own.
Update: Many of you have gotten in touch to express feelings about your own most-disliked words. Just a few of them: toilet ("because nobody is willing to utter it anymore"), crispy, synergy, retrenched, delicious (in reference to water in a pool or the ocean), scrumptious, tasty, zeitgeist, irregardless, restructuring, schadenfreude, tool, physicality, melty, particularly, puberty, rock ("your presentation ROCKED" or "He rocks!").
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.