Word Purge


There is an online post at the British newspaper Guardian reporting on words to be excluded from new editions of dictionaries. The post invites readers to list their own choices for words they’d like removed from the English language.

My immediate reaction as a linguist to this proposal was “Delete a word from the English language? Never!  Words, words, beautiful words — obscure words, rare words, archaic words, and obsolete words! Keep them all.”  Then I began to rummage through my mental lexicon.  Here’s my list:  🙂

  • edutainment   – surely a choice for the ugliest word to pronounce in all of English?
  • infomercial – a cheesy, rather manipulative concept
  • beige – I just don’t like it. Boring beige. Alternates: fawn, sand, dun, tan, wheat
  • awesomeness – don’t purge it, just place it in cryonic suspension for a generation (along with its cousin awesome). Let it regain the semantic power of its original root awe.  Awesomeness mostly signals a brain on autopilot nowadays.

So let’s hear your candidates.

Hat tip: BBear

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This entry was posted in Semantics, social context of language, Word Usage and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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