13 Words and phrases we need to stop using and why

Time just released a poll asking people which of a list of words should be banned in 2015, and, sadly, due to a scam by 4Chan, the list includes the word “feminist”.

Naturally, many people are outraged by this. We are too — of all words in the English language, feminist should be said with pride so that the world can hear it loud-and-clear. But rather than stoop to the level of name-calling and brand-bashing and smut throwing, we took our own poll and created a new list. According to our survey, here are the words that truly need to go:

1. Moist

This is just one of those words that makes people ill, regardless of whether it’s used to describe a chocolate cake or a sexy situation. Even more repulsive, people have taken to applying “moist” as an adjective to describe an unfortunate situation, as in, “Oh man, you can’t come to the party? That’s moist.” It’s a small word that makes just about everything sound raunchy.

2. I can’t even

Yes, you probably can. The phrase, most often associated with Tumblr, is used to express speechlessness or overwhelming emotion. The phrase reached peak fever pitch when Kacey Musgraves said it when she accepted a Grammy in 2014. Aside from its affiliation with snotty teenage girls, the phrase needs to be retired just based on overuse. Besides, what can’t you even?

3. Twerk

“Twerk… rhymes with irk and exactly what I feel when I hear the word,” was the wise response from one person who participated in our poll. The dance is lame, the word is lame, and Miley Cyrus needs to just stop already and put on some clothes.

4. #Blessed

Unlike other words that made our list, #blessed isn’t offensive because of the way it sounds but because of the context in which it’s generally used. Part brag, part holier-than-thou statement, anyone who is using the hashtag #blessed to announce a promotion, new iPhone purchase or luxurious vacation is doing it wrong. Also, no deity cares about your new manicure, so that’s not #blessed either, ‘K?

5. Panties

The word panties holds a seminal spot on any list of most-hated words. Some object to its baby-talk nature paired with how sexualized the word has become. It’s an uncomfortable mix. Others just loathe the way it feels when they say it. Regardless of why it rubs people the wrong way, panties is definitely one of our least favorite ways to describe women’s underpants.

6. Ratchet

“My mom over uses it and out of context, everything is ratchet to her,” one poll respondent wrote. “That’s why I can’t stand it.”

Which brings up a whole new and interesting category of words we all tire of all too quickly: words meant as hip slang that are picked up and overused by older folks. Blame Facebook. Otherwise, how would anyone’s mom know the word “ratchet”? It began as a hip-hop slam on delusional divas, and now it’s being used by clucking mamas everywhere to describe anything they deem cheap or unseemly, as in, “You aren’t going out dressed like a ratchet, are you?” Thanks, Mom. You killed ratchet.

7. Selfie

Not only is the word tired and overused, but so is the act itself. Taking too many selfies can make you look like an insane narcissist, and if you’re using the word with abandon, then it’s pretty likely you’ve got a similar personality disorder. Let’s just all agree to retire the entire concept of the selfie along with the word. All in favor? Opposed? Motion carries.

8. Om nom

Another word born of — and similarly burned out by — social media, Om Nom formally refers to the main character from the series “Cut the Rope.” The internet meme was born on the LOL cat site ICanHasCheezeburger in 2007, and has since been adopted as the universal online comment for something that is tasty or delicious. Perhaps at one time it was a clever reference, but now it makes it sound like someone feeding from a trough, besides being a total re-tread comment from nearly a decade ago. Might be time to think up another way to say something tastes good.

9. Real women

The phrase “real women” is nothing more than a nonsensical way to pander to what advertisers envision as a monolithic vagina collective of broads all sharing one brain. What is a “real woman”? How does she differ from a “fake woman”? The concept itself of being “real” sounds a lot like every Real Housewives episode, filled with tightly pulled, Botoxed ladies screaming and swearing that they’re not “fake” like the others. Does “real women” mean to identify women who aren’t Photoshopped? Not sure about that, but I am pretty sure all women are “real women,” unless we’re talking about one of those trippy Tupac hologram deals.

10. Basic

Because if there’s one crime in today’s hipster internet culture, it’s being obvious. It’s in that spirit “Basic” has evolved become the ultimate slam on the boring and predictable. Most notably, Lauren Conrad has been saddled with the term “basic” because she’s the textbook perfect girl next door with shiny golden hair, a pearly white smile and stylish designer clothes, which makes her pretty unexciting fodder for the online feeding frenzy for the absurd. But if you’re going to attack people for being unoriginal, then why would you keep recycling the same word over and over again? Basic, indeed.

11. Slut

Slut, slutty, skanky and their similar terms might all seem like harmless, edgy ways to describe how good you look in your LBD, but “slut” is nothing more than a pejorative for female sexuality in any form. So why are we using it on each other, and even ourselves? Are women who enjoy sex somehow “bad” or “slutty”? Slut-shaming — the act of trying to degrade a woman for expressing her sexuality and calling ladies “sluts” — isn’t doing anyone any favors, so let’s work to knock it off.

12. Literally

This word used to be fine until people started using it all wrong. As a refresher, “literally” means something is really, truly and actually happening. So if you announce you’re “literally dying,” then you had better be about to expire. It’s just out of hand, people. When in doubt, just say “actually” instead. You won’t sound as stupid.

13. Bae

By a landslide, “bae” was the word people who took our poll wanted removed from the English language as soon as humanly possible. People hate the word “bae” with such passion that there’s got to be some kind of Kickstarter campaign here somewhere. Some people hate the word just because it’s so addictive. Others are put off because, while many people online think the word is short for “baby,” it’s actually a Danish word for poop.

More on the art of language

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100 Words that instantly make you sound dumber
QUIZ: Do you know what these new words mean?


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