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Letter from America. 



O'Donnell Irish EyesO'Donnell Irish EyesWhile many of the words you love to hate reappeared in the responses to my latest query on the subject, there is a slew of new words and phrases loathed and abhorred by my sources.  Some of them are irritating, I suspect, simply because they aren’t words at all, such as “axe” for “ask,” mentioned by Lise Nelson Rackley (who also mentioned “expecially” as a word she loves to hate), Brenda Dougherty Holmes, and Ann Dennin.  “Supposably” rubs Terri Gregory the wrong way.  Geri E Neumann can’t imagine what a “hickster” is—perhaps a cross between a hippie and a hick, or simply the mispronunciation of the trendy term, “hipster.”  Alana Rooney Kaplan detests “irregardless,” even though she understands that it now appears in at least one well-respected dictionary, apparently as the result of the Doctrine of Common Usage coupled with the Test of Time.


The misuse of words—“effect” for “affect,” and “good” for “well,” for example—really frosts Sarah Robertson’s cupcakes and Jackie Gardnerloathes “leave it be!” Jodie Kucich Shirley’s ears ring when she hears “should of” and“could of” instead of “should have/could have,” and Tracey Muldaur sees red when anyone refers to a group of items as "these ones" or "those ones."  I see her point and concur.

Most annoying to A. Cheryl Curtis is the California-girl-speak, "I'm like..." in which “like” is used as a filler.  Another filler—“Y’know what I'm sayin’?"—irritates Jeanne Anne Norton.  “That's an excellent question!” is nothing more than a stalling technique, in Susan Timko’s view, and, at least in Judith Good Taylor’s opinion, the dismissive "so what!" is just plain rude.

Kathy McManus Carey greatly dislikes hearing anyone say, "By the very self-same token" and wonders,“Honestly, what does that saying mean?”  I wonder, too.  “Up by you,” ruffles Peggy Bice’s feathers—and, believe me, Peggy has plenty of feathers to ruffle.

Two terms associated with pregnancy topped my list:  “Baby bump” should be eliminated entirely, says Patricia O’Donnell.  “We’re pregnant,” joyfully exclaimed by either parent-to-be, is totally ridiculous, according to Jill Easton.  (Jill happens to be in excellent company; just ask Mila Kunis.)  Speaking of the totally ridiculous, “totes ridic!” ranks right up there with “totes adorbs!” in the opinion of quite a number of readers.  To some, each smacks of laziness.  To others, both sound totes juve.

Two phrases, prominent among the original list of words you love to hate, made a reappearance on this new list.  Dorothy Macgregor and Maureen Muir loathe “just sayin’” and “it is what it is,” respectively.  The latter is also a pet peeve of Libbi Manley Murray,Alvaro Martinez-Fonts, and numerous others.  “Whatever” also made a repeat appearance on the new list, with Kim McLaughlin Herrick, among others, bringing it up for reconsideration.



Alison Cole finds “with all due respect" to be a distinct turnoff as a conversation starter—one just knows that whatever follows won’t be respectful in the least—while Donna George Marchese regards (for reasons unknown to me) “net-net” as repugnant.  For obvious reasons, many dislike vulgarity in speech.  The lovely Gabby Abbinanti can’t stand the word “sucks.”  Her mom Joni hates “frickin’” and “douchebag.”  (Can’t say as I blame either one of them.)

Luke Driscoll (maybe because he has to deal with so many of them) detests this as an argument stopper: “The bottom line is...”  I always think of that phrase as part of the language of high finance, which brings me to perhaps the funniest word one of my pals loves to hate:  “DECLINED!”  Oh, dear sweet, totes adorbs Patti McGuigan, I do hope you don’t hear “DECLINED”too often, but I must applaud your spectacular sense of humor about finances (high or low)!

The list of the words I love to hate is far too long to include here.  (Just sayin’.)  However, one of the top contenders of all time, according to my own and other informal polls, is among the words on my own list.  So, what’s the word?  Panties.  You are probably axing yourself why the word “panties” sounds so skeevy to me?  That’s a frickin’ excellent question!  But, um, er, I’m like…afraid I couldn’t tell you precisely why.  It is what it is. Whatever.  So, with all due respect, this old hickster is signing off.

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By Cara Sheridan O’Donnell

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