Some words just get under people’s skin.
For example, “moist” incites such ire and disgust that researchers have actually studied why so many of us have an aversion to it. Turns out it’s less about what the word sounds like, and more to do with our associations.
Yet word aversion is a real phenomenon that changes from person to person. Which got us thinking: Are there any words you simply cannot and will not use?
There are for experts. Boston University psychology professor and linguist Jean Berko Gleason recently spoke with Mark Abrahams of the Improbable Research podcast about the words that absolutely disgust her.
“It isn’t just that there are words I hate, there are words I like. There are some words that I think are wonderful, like ‘pumpernickel,’” Gleason said.
Gleason’s list of most bothersome words include, “’Snack.’ Isn’t ‘snack’ a horrible word?” and “’Hubby,’ it’s awful,” as well as “’Succulent.’ The word is so icky. I would never say it.”
She doesn’t like “luscious,” “scrumptious” or “yummy,” either. Listen to the whole conversation for just what it is about those words that makes her cringe, then check more words we hate to hear and read!.