The Most Annoying Word in English
Life is full of annoyances. People who chew with their mouths open are annoying. Little dogs with high-pitched barks are annoying. I’ve even been told that I’m annoying. But it took me a long time to realize that individual words could be annoying.
Scribit has a list of words that bloggers and websites shouldn’t use because readers find them annoying. To be honest, I don’t know what a Scribit is; I just accidentally found this list (I’m pretty sure Scribit doesn’t know what a Dysfunctional Literacy is either).
Most of the words on the Scribit list don’t bug me. I have no reaction to the word moist (supposedly the most hated of words). I say slacks a lot because I wear slacks a lot, and I’d rather say slacks instead of trousers, no matter what a list says. I understand that awesome is over-used, but a lot of that is hyperbole, and most people understand that awesome doesn’t really mean awesome anymore. I understand why irregardless is on the list, but I understand what people mean when they say it, so that doesn’t bug me either.
The list didn’t include any racist words. I think racist words (which I won’t use) are universally hated, except by racists, but everybody is afraid to use racist words, even when they’re talking about racism because they don’t want to be accused of being racist. I don’t even read Huckleberry Finn in public because I don’t want to be accused of being racist.
But once I started thinking about potentially annoying words, I realized there was indeed a word that I hate. There is a word that makes me cringe whenever I hear it.
AND THE MOST ANNOYING WORD (in my opinion) IS…
Over the years, I’ve come to hate the word share. In school it meant giving up something I owned for somebody else who probably didn’t deserve it. In my professional life, it means giving my coworkers the chance to get credit for my ideas.
I guess I should explain.
I once had a boss that used to say share by extending the sound over two syllables (shay-air) in a nasally tone at brainstorming sessions. I cringed whenever she said “Shay-air,” and it didn’t help that I was usually the first person she called upon. I think she enjoyed watching me say “Uh…. Errr….,” with my face turning red.
I felt bad when this boss got demoted (or laterally moved), but I didn’t shay-air my sentiment with anybody else because she was unpopular and had added a bunch of unnecessary and counterproductive procedures to our jobs.
Now whenever I hear the word share, I hear shay-air, no matter how the word is uttered. It’s like the fingernails on the chalkboard (which might be a bad example because that never bugged me).
Now that I think about it, I don’t even like the concept of sharing. I’d rather just tell somebody my idea than share it. I’d rather just let somebody borrow my stuff than share it. In some cases, I’d even give my stuff away before I share it. At the very least, I’d buy somebody the same thing that I have instead of sharing mine.
Very few words have both an annoying concept AND an annoying sound. Because of this, the word share is in an annoying league of its own. Maybe it’s just me.
I don’t know. Are there any words more annoying than share?
And please don’t share your ideas with me. Just tell me what you think.