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The Most Annoying Word in English

May 22, 2013
English: A 'Hot Chocolate' Cupcake, complete w...

Even though people love moist cupcakes, they supposedly hate the word “moist.” I’d like to share a word that I think is even more annoying than “moist.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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. 



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.

  1. Reblogged this on fiverrearn.

  2. hoboduke permalink

    Thanks for sharing this! My most anoying word is “superstar” in regard to celebrity status. It used to be good enough to be a movie actor that was considred a “star”. However, now any model of fashions is a “superstar”? Of course you are a “superstar” in the blog sphere!

    • “Superstar” is a pretty good example. I’ve also heard the term “rock star” being used for people who aren’t rock stars but are just pretty good at their jobs. We’ll have to see if “rock star” gets out of control like “super star” has.

  3. I agree. Though I associate it more with sunday school teachers because they’re always trying to tell kids to share. I understand why some children groan at that word. It’s been used for way too long, and has long turned soggy.

    • Thank you. I bet a bunch of teachers said (and still say) “share,” but I don’t remember any making it two syllables until my former boss. I think that’s what finally drove me to my irrational state of mind.

      • Understandable… I think I’d actually cringe if someone used that against me too. I feel for you.

  4. I hate the word Twitter. It kills me. There are some words that should meet Joe Pesci under a bridge.

  5. My wife hates anything that starts with ‘pu’. So, of course I use it for everything. The pussy wound was a punitive pustule that putrified in its putrid place.

    • Haha! I know a kid who got in trouble for using “pussy” as an adjective (like your example) in a story for English class, but the teacher still sent him to the office. He didn’t get in real trouble, but he was warned to be more careful with his word choice in stories. I blame the English teacher.

  6. The Black Rose permalink

    Oh yes. Googling. Annoying, proprietary in the extreme, and absolutely inappropriate as a verb. All I can think of is John Astin in a long ago episode of Night Court singing “Barney Google with his goo-goo-googly eyes.”

    Ah well, your mileage may vary. As may your search engine of choice.

    • Proper nouns (like Google) being turned into verbs… I don’t know if that’s cool or if it’s trying too hard to be cool (which would in turn make it annoying). You’re probably right; it’s annoying.

  7. For me it’s ‘sorry’. I was a high school teacher and I would reprimand kids for wrongdoing, they’d look me in the eye and say ‘sorry, sir,’ turn around and keep doing it. At that point I would tell them they have no concept of what that word means and are no longer allowed to use it. They’d reply with another ‘sorry’. Wrote and entire post on it once.

    • Yeah, I don’t know what’s worse: hearing a kid say “Sorry,” or hearing an adult say “I take full responsibility.” I think you’re right. “Sorry” has got to be near the top of the list.

  8. dnlsrl permalink

    Reblogged this on Hasta Que mi Corazón Explote… | Until my Heart Explodes… and commented:
    “Nightmares”, that freaking annoying word in my head.

  9. Hmmm, interesting post. I think I need to ‘shay-air’ it with other people …

    Good grief, you’re right! How annoying it was even hearing the word in my head.

  10. I can’t stand the word “plan”. I think it’s because nothing good in my life has ever come from the word “plan”. My mother, much as I love her, has done a number on that word for me. Whenever she starts a conversation with “What are your plans for today?”, I know that this dialogue will end up with her getting me to do something that I don’t want to do. Plan. Yeuch.

  11. Well, crap. Now that I’m really thinking about all the words people mentioned, they all sound creepy. But I think it also depends on the people saying them…HOW they say them, you know? Accents and inflections make a big difference.

  12. I’m afraid I’ll have to disagree and say that Chipotle is the worst word ever in any language. I hate it. I even hate thinking it. I hate the way it looks when you spell it. I hate the way it sounds when people say it. Chipotle! Arrrrrggghhhhhhh!!!!!!

    • I’ve never thought about that, and I eat there every once in a while. I kind of like it, but I can’t eat there if the name annoys me. That’s why I can’t eat at Applebees. I think Applebees kind of affects me like that C-word affects you (but not as strongly as “shay-air). If there’s ever a restaurant called Cher’s or Shares, I can’t go.

  13. Proactive makes my list, along with networking which can mean anything from your actual computer network to annyoying folks in an attempt to get hired or build your contacts salesman style…..share is up there though:)

  14. The word “pregnant” gets me every time. I don’t even know why, it just has always been on my list of words to avoid. Makes my skin crawl. And that’s over almost every curse word. The only worse word is the slang term “preggers”. It’s an ugly word for a beautiful thing.

    • “Preggers” is pretty horrible. What do you think about “baby bump”?

      • Somehow the b sound doesn’t bother me as much. As for the meaning, it’s better than “bun in the oven”. That just makes me want to hurl week old bagels at whoever said it.

  15. People at work ask each other if they have ‘capacity’, meaning do they have a full work load. Feel like I should be a Thunderbird.

  16. I have a problem with portmanteaus. Not the word “portmanteau” – I actually think that is rather lovely. Portmanteaus are those stupid smushed up words used to represent smushed up concepts. Brangelina. Bennifer. Reaganomics. Actually I don’t mind Reaganomics. That one’s old school and the words make sense together sense based on their sounds. It’s the celebrity nicknames that bother me the most. Can we stop doing that? Also, I don’t like saying “toenail”. Just because. Yuck.

  17. The term ASAP makes my blood boil.

  18. I despise the word Massachusetts. It’s not only one of those words you have to think about how to spell correctly every time (like restaurant), but it’s almost impossible for me to say without sounding like I have a speech impediment.

  19. Hey DL, I would have reblogged this but it would have involved…well, you know.

  20. dirtyclockwork permalink

    Oh man, I hate the word “like” with a passion. But I’m also so guilty of using it that it’s sad. And of course, Facebook just made it worse. I don’t have to explain why I get enjoyment out of something anymore. I can just like it, as any good twitfacer will do and all the world will surely understand.

  21. I’ve grown to hate the word mischievous with a fire of 1000 suns in recent years mainly because no one pronounces it correctly anymore! I heard one newscaster say it wrong years ago but never in my wildest dreams did I expect that mistake to catch on. Ladies and gentlemen, the word is pronounced mis che vus. It is not nor has it EVER been mis CHEE VEEUS so QUIT IT!!!

  22. I like the word moist.

    I hate it when people pronounce the word “scone” like “scon.”

  23. bloodstripewife permalink

    I too hate the word “moist”! I used to hate the word “crisp” as well, but I’ve gotten over it (slightly).

    • There used to be a place (I don’t know if it still exists) called Krispy Kreme. You might not have wanted to go there (or if you did go, hopefully you plugged your ears).

      • bloodstripewife permalink

        Haha yes Krispy Kreme is alive and well in the South I believe. I think for some reason the purposeful misspelling distracted me even more than the “crispy” part though, so I was still able to enjoy them occasionally. 🙂

  24. Judy permalink

    I despise the phrase “no problem”, particularly when used in response to “Thank you”. I have no idea why. Aack!

    • The response “No problem,” is annoying because the person saying it is usually getting paid and should be saying “Thank you!” in response to the first “Thank you.” That’s my guess. “You’re welcome!” is much better than “No problem.”

  25. I loathe “chillax” and if I have spent several hours perfecting something (e.g. cooking) and someone says it’s “nice” I just can’t regard that overused word as a compliment.

  26. My first word was “mine,” so sharing has never really been my thing.

  27. Nice article ! I never really thought about whether I hated any words, but I guess I would say that words such as “like” can really irritate me. They are over-used and become a sort of punctuation within spoken sentences that add absolutely no meaning to the idea conveyed.
    My favorite word for some years, was “nifty” !

  28. I imagine you wouldn’t mind some shay-airs in Microsoft or Google. I don’t like “brainstorming.” It’s easier to think of phrases I hate, like “It is what it is” or “at the end of the day…”

    • The commentators on NFL Network use the phrase “At the end of the day, it is what it is” very frequently. It almost surprises me now when somebody doesn’t say it.

    • At the end of the day you’re another day older
      And that’s all you can say for the life of the poor
      It’s a struggle, it’s a war
      And there’s nothing that anyone’s giving
      One more day standing about
      What is it for?
      One day less to be living

  29. floridaborne permalink

    I find “empower” to be offensive as in, “we have to empower people to demand their rights.” I never thought of it as another definition for share before now. I do have a favorite 4-letter word: Love. It is one that seems to be losing popularity and being replaced by “lawsuit.”

  30. “Eventually” hits my hot button….especially when hubby says it to me. 🙂

  31. I’m going to vote for queue. Being a non-native English speaker I used to read it as que-u. Still find it highly irritating that that second ‘ue’ is needed. 😛

  32. I really like the way you write, I don’t like to share and I like to share. I like sharing when it is helping other people and I don’t like sharing when happiness will be compromised by sharing:)

  33. hoboduke permalink

    This thread will not end! Another word to consider is not a word, but an empty space to confirm an empty mind is wasting our time. “uhm”

  34. I have to say I find it annoying too when I have something and someone borrows it and I don’t want to “share” and they even do guilt-tripping, like it’s my obligation to “share” everything I have!

    I do “share” sometimes. But when I say no, I wish people would learn to respect that and not proceed to guilt-tripping.

  35. Where is the damn Share button, I want everyone I know to read this!

    • Haha! I forgot about the “Shay-air” button. It’s just above the “like” button, which makes sense because “like” seems to be another hated word, according to several responses.

  36. Thanks for sharing your feelings with us 😉

  37. mohitan permalink

    Stylish….it just doesn’t sound what it means.

  38. The word “love” is very annoying to me. Perhaps this is because it’s so ridiculously overused. There are many other languages that have varying and specific terms for different kinds of love and affection (for example, Greek has completely separate terms for brotherly love, romantic love, Godly love, and objective love), but the English language has only one common term for love, and that is L-O-V-E. Even writing this comment grates on my nerves. People use the word for everything. Example: “I love my mom.” vs. “I love poached eggs!” vs. “I love this song!” vs. “I love Jesus Christ of Nazareth.” I’m sure Jesus feels very flattered being on the same level as poached eggs in your mind. It’s plastered all over clothing, social media sites, photographs, and just about everything else. Furthermore, many of the people who abuse the term aren’t even sure what it means! The word is so worn out that it has lost all meaning, and now every time I hear it or see it I have an urge to cringe.

    • aashya permalink

      I agree…it’s really overused. People have no idea how to weigh the intensity of the word at all. May be the meaning is lost somewhere in these daily conversations.

  39. Misuse of literally. Even though they changed the definition I will always be annoyed when people say things like “I literally laughed my head off.”

  40. Scrumptious – the first one that came to mind while reading this post. Because it doesn’t sound like a word one would use to describe something delicious. It makes me think of icky crunchy things. Like stepping on a cockroach barefoot.

  41. I hate the word, ‘Myself’.
    I have no problems with myself but I hate the word. I hate hearing it or writing it. I cannot believe I wrote it twice in this comment.

  42. ladyofhope permalink

    Dude…it makes everyone who says it sound like an idiot.

  43. aashya permalink

    Love your opening para…made me laugh on a very grey day…thanks.

  44. I hate the word ‘rump.’ Blame squarely at the feet of Richard Laymon for that one.

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  46. I don’t hate the word share, but I hate the phrase “Sharing is caring”. I work in a nursery and hear it a lot, I don’t think it encourages the kids to share

    • If the kids don’t care, then it makes sense that saying “Sharing is caring” wouldn’t encourage them to care.

      Another approach might be to point your finger in their faces and say, “Share or else….!” but I don’t work in a nursery or anywhere near kids. That’s probably for the best.

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