Word Aversions

I love words. I particularly love the English language, which seems to have developed by cheerfully pillaging other languages and stealing whatever shiny trinkets struck (and strike) its fancy. You can’t argue with that method.

Along the way, English has picked up or created some gems that I find particularly delightful- not for their meanings, but because they sound good, feel good in my mouth, or just make me happy. Words like:


Best word ever? Onomatopotamus (a water-dwelling mammal that’s spelled like it sounds)**

But then there’s the other list. The words that, when I say them, make me feel like I’m chewing on a piece of cheap sweater yarn (if you don’t know what I mean, think fingernails on a chalkboard, but with synthetic fuzz stuck between your teeth). Some people think I’m nuts for cringing when I say:

– moist
– purse
– womb
– nipple
– must
– ointment
– panties
– squat

Just reading that list makes me squirm. And not in a good way.

Again, it’s not for the meaning; most of these have synonyms that I find perfectly acceptable. Some people think I’m being irrational. They don’t understand how “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” can be one of my favourite Christmas carols and also my least favourite, just because I have to say, “offspring of a virgin’s hrmrnrm.” Ugh. Womb. Woooouuumb. Ack.

You may wonder where I’m going with this. I’m sorry to say that the answer is “nowhere.” I just wanted to get that out there, and to ask whether anyone would like to share favourite words in the comments, or the ones that make you vomit (which is a commonly gagged-on word. Sorry).

Oh, and “virgin?” You’re going on the list, too. I forgot how much I hate you.

“Offspring of a vhrmrn’s hrmrnrm.” It’s going to be a good Christmas.

So let’s have it! Show me the words that make you smile, and the ones you keep locked in a dungeon at the bottom of your vocabulary because you can’t say (or perhaps type) them without gagging.

*which gets bonus points for sounding kind of dirty if you don’t know what it means. Try it: “I defenestrated a cheerleader last weekend.” See? Works both ways.

**May not be a real word. I’m looking into it.

About Kate Sparkes

Kate Sparkes was born in Hamilton, Ontario, but now resides in Newfoundland, where she tries not to talk too much about the dragons she sees in the fog. She lives with a Mountie, two kids who take turns playing Jeckyll and Hyde, two cats, and one chihuahua. USA Today bestselling author of the Bound Trilogy (mature YA Fantasy) and Into Elurien, writing dark, decadent, and deadly Urban Fantasy as Tanith Frost. www.katesparkes.com www.tanithfrost.com View all posts by Kate Sparkes

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