These Freaky Words Make You Sound Like an Ass

I used to work for a newspaper. And this newspaper was looking for ways to cut costs, which meant a combination of layoffs, buyouts, and mandatory unpaid leave. To create the same amount of content with fewer people, we need to get creative. We must all, as executives told us, look for ways to repurpose our news articles.

To most of us, this seemed like a tricky way of saying, “Let’s just reuse some shit when needed, mmm?” Do you want us to put some new ice on something and run it in a different section? Fine. But let’s not pretend this is some kind of brilliant new journalistic tactic by calling it unusual.

They also called the compulsory unpaid leave “holidays”. You see, quirky words that make you sound like a donkey are all around you. And it’s time for you to know so you can stop using them.

Agreed. Juxtapose may go away. These words can also:

  • Use . Just say use. You’re going to use this. (See also: usage.)
  • Detritus . Detritus is trash and you know it.
  • Full blood . Too many, huh? (I am also not crazy about countless numbers, since we are talking about excessive ways of saying “many”.)
  • Mentor . Well, don’t you love it when you choose and arrange things!
  • Author . Saying “author” instead of “wrote” will not make your letter more impressive. (The same is written.)
  • Panacea . Sounds more like a disease than a cure, if you ask me.
  • Existential . You’re so clever.
  • Meta . What does this even mean?
  • Synergy . Oh, give me a break. This is not the real thing.
  • Penultimate . I can almost guarantee that you are not even exercising this right.
  • Magnificent . Which? No.
  • Chatty . Talkative.
  • Frame . Group.
  • Signboards . Signs.
  • Adherence . Just ugh.
  • Anything ending in -gate .

I’m starting to get tired. I cannot name them all. Here’s a good test to see if you are using a common word or an unusual word that will make people sigh inwardly and pretend to like you: Is there an easier word? Huh? Use this.

Am I telling you that you should reduce your vocabulary for the rest of us idiots? No, I’m just telling you that if you don’t, you’ll look like a jerk.


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