On this Thankful Thursday, I am thankful for fresh words, and weary of the worn-out ones.
I spend a great deal of time pondering word choices:
- At Seashore Family Literacy, the Word Wall is home to our favorite words.
- With clients, colleagues and friends, I mull pressing issues, such as: What's another word for quell? or Is there a one syllable word for overwhelmed?
- At home, I often roll out words in random but rhythmic succession, producing an eye-rolling husband who says, We're doing this again?
As much as I love words, I loathe a few, too. The other day I got a two-line email from my mother that reminded me of the love/hate state (of words, not mothers):
Words I am sick of, she wrote, crisis, emergency, disaster, bipartisan.
She's right. From politics to pop culture, we get stuck in word ruts: game-changer, end of the day, sustainable, green, transparent.
Words innocuous in small amounts grow unbearable with repetition: amazing, dude, awesome.
And a flip turn-of-phrase — Seriously, really? — grates in the constant replay.
In fiction and poetry, once lovely phrases have, with repetition, set me on edge: whorl, unfurl, lavender.
And while I can sling the snark, I take my own arrows, too: I must stop replying to surprising news with Wow! And I must stop peppering poems with gloomy and gray, and ending with again and again. Perhaps this public airing will remind (read: shame) me into finding fresh words (and stop complaining about the weather).
The world is full of words, let's use more of them!
How about you? What words are you sick of seeing? And what words do you over-use?