The Worst Words

My some counts there are as many as half a million words in the English language. Naturally, some are better than others. I'm not interested in talking about the good ones, right now. No, for this rant, I'm interested in the bad ones. As a matter of fact, the worst ones. What words have the worst feeling attached? Which ones are the ones you dread hearing? The ones that ruin your day, or even your life? Well, I've put some thought into it, and here are the ones that made the shortlist.

By some counts there are as many as half a million words in the English language. Naturally, some are better than others. I’m not interested in talking about the good ones, right now. No, for this rant, I’m interested in the bad ones. As a matter of fact, the worst ones. What words have the worst feeling attached? Which ones are the ones you dread hearing? The ones that ruin your day, or even your life? Well, I’ve put some thought into it, and here are the ones that made the shortlist.

Mandatory

No one ever likes to HAVE to do something. Of all of the things you HAVE to do, eating is about the only one that is actually enjoyable. Anything else that is mandatory seems to be something you’d rather not be doing. Work is mandatory, always. And it isn’t that being work makes something mandatory. It is that being mandatory makes something work. It wasn’t until I started doing a game site that I ever imagined I would utter the words, “Oh, man. I have to finish that game tonight.”  I don’t care what it is, if someone or something says that you have to do it and you have no choice in the matter, it will become a chore. Yep, mandatory is terrible word because it makes the good things bad, and the bad things worse.

Permanent

Think of some things that are paired up with the word permanent. Permanent Record. Permanent Scar. Permanent Injury. The thing that makes life worth living is change, the unexpected. Hell, some would even say that the thing that makes life worth living is the fact that it is fleeting. Something permanent robs you of both of those things. It is forever, never changing, never ending. Now think about temporary things. Temporary Layoff. Good Times. Temporary Insanity? That’s just lawyer talk for “Getting away with murder.” Yep, Temporary makes even insanity a good thing.

Malignant

This is a word that gets worse with context. If a judge is saying it to you, you’re probably looking at a few more years getting tacked on to your sentence. If a doctor says it to you, you’re probably looking at a LOT more years being taken off of your life.

Of course, not all words are bad just because of the thoughts attached. Some of them are cruel by their very structure.

Dyslexic

Look at that word. It describes a learning disability that impairs the ability to read, and LOOK HOW HARD IT IS TO READ! Doctors are magnificent bastards sometimes.

Lisp

Explain to me the logic behind labeling a speech impediment with a word that people WITH that speech impediment can’t say correctly.

Mnemonic

Here’s a word regarding how to remember things, and it starts with an M with it is written but starts with an N when it is spoken. Try to remember THAT.

Phonetic

It means “spelled the way it sounds” and isn’t spelled the way it sounds. Seriously?

That’s the list I was able to put together. You’ll notice that profanities didn’t even make the list. That’s because profanities are well crafted and perfectly suited to the task. They are short, easy to remember, and effective. I wish all words could be as good as curses, but they can’t be. Expletives naturally evolved. The good ones kept getting used, the bad ones faded away. (When is the last time you said “Dag nab it?”) The other words just can’t do that. The ones associated with bad thoughts are stuck for good, and we can’t start messing with the spelling of the poorly formed ones, or because spelling doesn’t work that way. We’d have to take a mandatory vote to make a permanent change to the malignant structures, and then we’d need a mnemonic to help dyslexic with lisps remember that the words are now phonetic. … Oh… jeez… I need to go lie down.

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About Decoychunk

Editor, Writer, and general Knower-Of-Words, if there is text to be read on BrainLazy, Joseph Lallo probably has his fingerprints on it. As the final third of the ownership and foundation of BrainLazy, Joseph “Jo” Lallo made a name for himself when he lost the “e” from his nickname in an arm wrestling match with a witch doctor. Residing in the arid lowlands of the American Southwest, Joseph Lallo is a small, herbivorous, rabbit-like creature with the horns of an antelope. He sleeps belly up, and his milk can be used for medicinal purposes. Joseph Lallo is also author of several books, including The Book of Deacon Series, book 1 of which is available for free here.