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We Don’t Need A New Word For That

September 2, 2014
I'm not sure what "bombtimistic" means, but it has to be great! (image via Wikimedia)

Some days I’m “bombtimistic,” and some days I’m “bombgry,” but I’m never both at the same time. (image via Wikimedia)

A lot of new things suck. Most new movies suck. Most new television shows suck. Even though I love to read, most new books suck (that’s only because James Patterson has his name on 90% of the new stuff out there, and almost ALL of his books suck).   Maybe I’m getting too old and grouchy because yesterday I realized that most new words suck.

Originally, I was going to title this “New Words That Suck,” but by saying everything sucks, I would have put myself at risk of sounding negative. I don’t mean “sucks” in too negative a way. I just have high expectations for new things. If something already exists (like movies, television shows, and books) and you make a new one, the new one should be better than the old ones. Otherwise, what’s the point?

The same concept applies to new words. If Oxford and Merriam-Webster are going to legitimize new words by adding them to the dictionary, I have high expectations for those new words. A new word shouldn’t be a trivial combination of sounds.  My expectations of new words shouldn’t be higher than a dictionary’s. It’s not because I’m a literary prude. I can’t be a literary prude. I write porn jokes. I read comic books. I laugh at the title Moby Dick. I’m not the problem. The problem is that the new words suck.

I was okay with new words until I read this, an article about literary snobbery that is centered around the fake word “poptimist.” You don’t have to read the article. I just want you to have this reference in case you ever need proof that somebody tried to create the word “poptimism.” I was going to read the article until I saw the word “poptimism.”   The whole point of “poptimism” was that… aw, it doesn’t matter. I cringed when I read “poptimism.” But that was only the beginning.

Next, I saw a commercial for a product that doesn’t need advertising where a famous actress/writer uses the made-up word “hangry.” I think it’s a combination of “hungry” and “angry” because people get angry when they’re hungry (or vice-versa). I also think it’s trying too hard. I hope “hangry” never makes the dictionary. Bad behavior like inventing a fake word “hangry” shouldn’t be rewarded with attention from Oxford and Merriam-Webster. If I ever said the word “hangry,” I’d get punched out (and I would know that I deserved it). There are some things a man should never say. A man should never say “Shame on you!” and a man should never say words like “poptimism” or “hangry.”

Words like “poptimism” and “hangry” aren’t real words. They’re “clevwords.” They’re words whose inventors are trying too hard to be too clever. “Clevword” is a combination of “clever” and “word.” The problem with “clevword” is that I would probably have to explain what “clevword” means, and a good “clevword” shouldn’t need an explanation, except there’s no such thing as a good clevword. Every clevword sucks. No clevword should ever make the dictionary.

Now that I think about it, even some new words that aren’t clevwords really suck.

“Hashtag” sucks. Hashtags have a purpose, but the word itself sucks. I’ve used hashtags, and I’ve written the word “hashtag,” but I’ve never said the word “hashtag.” When I was asked what a hashtag was (I hang out with some people like that), I referred to a hashtag as “it” and “they/them.” That’s why I love pronouns. Pronouns help me to avoid the words I don’t like to say.

“Selfie” sucks, but a selfie also serves a purpose, and I’ve finally discovered my one good angle, so I don’t want the concept to go away; I just want the word replaced. Again, no man over the age of 30(?) should say “selfie.” I’ve said “selfie,” but at least I cringed during and after. From now on, I shall say “self-portrait!” in a deep, masculine voice.

“Tweep” sucks, and not because it’s a clevword. It shouldn’t even be considered a real word because you have to use Twitter to be or have a tweep. Brand names aren’t real words, so words directly related to brand names shouldn’t be either. Without Twitter,” there is no “tweep.” Without “peeps,” there is no “tweep.” If “Twitter” and “peeps” aren’t real words, then either should “tweep.” If Twitter ever disappears (and it might), then the word “tweep” wouldn’t even make sense anymore, so it can’t logically be a real word.

Not all new words suck. “Fracking” is a cool word. Even if you don’t like what it means, it’s a cool word. If I had said “frack” as a kid, my mom would have washed my mouth out with soap. Since I’m older now, I can say “frack” all day long, and I might, just because I can. Even if “fracking” doesn’t mean what it sounds like it means, it’s still fun to say.

“Photo bomb” is also a cool word (or phrase), but it has “bomb” in it, and that might be an unfair advantage over other words. Any word sounds cool when it has “bomb” in it. “Photo bomb” is NOT a clevword because it doesn’t blend the two words, but even a clevword sounds good when it has “bomb” in it. “Bombtimistic” is way better than “poptimistic, and “bombgry” is way better than “hangry.”

I’m so hungry I could eat a bomb. That’s “bombgry.”

I’m so optimistic that even a bomb can’t ruin my mood. That’s “bombtimistic.”

Most new words, especially clevwords, are unnecessary. We don’t need them. English has enough problems without people trying to create new words. I don’t mind saying, “I’m hungry and mad.” I won’t get punched out for saying “I’m hungry and mad.” I’d get punched out for saying “I’m hangry.” Maybe that should be the dictionary’s criteria for accepting new words. A clevword can become a real word only if a man can say it without getting punched out. But it might be tough to find men to willingly test it.


What do you think? What other new words suck? What new words are great? What is better than “bomb” in a word? Are there any clevwords that don’t suck?

From → Etymology

  1. icedmocha34 permalink

    My youth pastor’s new catchphrase is: “That’s so fetch.” I have a feeling it’s going to get annoying quick. 😀

    • Admittedly, “that’s so fetch” was fun in the movie “Mean Girls.” But when adults recycle decade-old catchphrases, such a phrase could become quite annoying indeed.

      • Micah Kipfer permalink

        I’m sorry, I’ve heard “fetch” used before; but what does it mean?

        • “Fetch” itself I don’t think has any semantic value, but contained in the phrase “that’s so fetch,” it means that something is cool, without actually using a dated word like “cool.”

  2. youretheworst permalink

    Can we add new definitions to the list of suck? Like, “literally” can literally mean figuratively…:|

  3. The overuse or miss-use of old words gets to me.

    I’m really sick of the word hack. “10 hacks to..,” “lifehacks”, “hacking one’s education”, “hacks for this”, “hacks for that.” What is wrong with “ideas,” “suggestions,” “tips,” “advice,” “or problem solving?”
    I’m also really tied of film trailers. I am supposed to “feel the wonder” of every damn “heart warming,” and “timeless” disney movie.
    Then there is the word “grotesque.” It does not mean what everyone thinks it means.

  4. “Most new movies suck. Most new television shows suck.”


    “If something already exists…and you make a new one, the new one should be better than the old ones. Otherwise, what’s the point?”

    Double yes.

    “Fracking” is now a cool sounding word, granted. But the first time I heard it was on Battlestar Galactica. Cool show, but the use of that word was risible.

    • I like the sound of the word fracking, but unfortunately it does mean to inject fluids into a gas-bearing shale stratum that might do damage to the local water table. I don’t know which came first (battlestar or the mining word) but it couldn’t have a worse double-meaning.

  5. You’re right. A lot of new stuff sucks. But a few things don’t. Sometimes, you stumble on something pretty good. Don’t give up!

  6. Top candidate for sucky, annoying new word: “appeteaser.” I heard it in a commercial a few weeks ago and it took every bit it moral strength not to throw a heavy object at the television.

    • I might be wrong, but I think “appleteaser” is worse than “poptimism” and “hangry” combined.

      • I agree. But I must admit that I don’t think any one word exemplifies grumpy hunger quite like “hangry.” Even though it is an irritating neologism, I find it slightly endearing.

  7. These new words might have an unnatural origin, but I think once they’re accepted by society they become slang. I hope the dictionary definitions of these new words note that they are colloquialisms, but otherwise I’m okay with it. I definitely get where you’re coming from, but just glancing at the history of slang brings up some really stupid words. Fair dinkum.

  8. Any word that Subway or Burger King invents to sell sandwiches….smh. They’re so inane that I can’t even remember them, but I think “freshtastic” was in there. Why doesn’t “fresh” do? Why must we add -tastic to the end? -_-

    • I think we can blame that phenomenon on Bart Simpson when 25 years ago he said “crap-tastic”. I admit, I still use that one. It might be the one good clevword (I can’t believe I just used that in a sentence, I’m going to go wash my hands in bleach) in the world, and probably only because it’s 25 years old.

  9. I cannot agree more on this subject. Don’t even get me started on acronyms…

  10. Yesterday when I went to work someone commented on having the ‘Muesdays’. I unfortunately asked and found out that since Monday was a holiday and Tuesday was the first day of the week, it was “Muesday”. No No No.

    • I’m pretty sure that if I said “Muesday” in front of the wrong people, I’d get punched in the face (and I think just about everybody is the wrong people).

  11. lexc13 permalink

    I’d have to agree that most of the words added to the dictionary the past couple of years has made me cringe.

  12. I think it’s the use of this slang and incorrect word usage that is overall dumbing down the population. Sad, really.

  13. Okay, I like what you are saying, but why is it only a man who would get punched out for saying stupid words like tweep? Why should’t everybody be punished for destroying the language? -_- This is just a comment on how may times you mention ‘a man’.
    That said, I really appreciate what you say here.

    • Maybe this sounds wrong, but I don’t hear many men use most of the “clevwords” that I mentioned. I probably wouldn’t really get punched in the face, but I’d at least be ostracized for saying something like “Muesday” or “hangry.” Maybe the group of people I associate with is an outlier (or maybe I’m sexist and don’t know it).

  14. I personally think it took way too long to come up the with the term: Frenemy. It needed to be added to the lexicon. But, yes, most new-fangled expressions are not the bees knees.

  15. Splendid! I heed your message and understand exactly where you are in this life.

    A new path that has been etched by your inner world, a world that is approaching it’s true path and breaking away from the dogmatic cycles of old.

    You are at the forefront of new discoveries and I assure you when you break away from the old and enter the new of which you are heading toward as is understood by myself from your writing here on this page you will find beauty once more and even in most quietest of moments.

    You are seeing right through the hazy fluff of life and into the beauty of Creation.

    Peace and enjoy your moments of new directions …

  16. I read the article. She is awfully didactic for someone advocating that the lower mainstream should be the focus of much of literary criticism and discourse (I’m talking about the section on Fifty Shades of Gray, not the need for diversity. Diverse people write well.) It’s no wonder she uses pseudo-words.

  17. Awesome post! Totally agree with your position on the “selfie” invasion

  18. I love this, you are a great writer.
    Very humorous.

  19. First, quick question: Did you say Tweep to avoid copyright issues, or is that a typo? Because unless I’ve been heari ng it wrong, I don’t think the word ends in a “p.”

    Second, yes, yes, yes. “Trendy” “new” “words” (all three in quotes because these word combos are not trendy, not really new, nor are they truly words) are annoying, especially when used by the general public.

    I have to give Hubby props, though, for coming up with “Cleverage.” This is his term for using cleavage to your clever advantage. As in, “Casey. Go use your cleverage to get that Lowe’s guy to come over and help me load these bags of concrete. He’s ignoring me.”

  20. I cringe when I hear the word ‘amazeballs’…

  21. Hangry is a bad word, but also so very good. I do get hangry sometimes. It happens!

  22. my least favorite word ever is the word ‘crude’. i just cant handle it. sounds so snobby

  23. I refuse to use all the words you dislike. I hate them as much as I hated Groovy when I was 12

  24. “Staycation.” Ugh!

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