Tuesday, December 7

Vexing Vocabulary

Are there certain words or phrases that annoy you? Do you have any terminological pet peeves? Are there words or phrases that irritate you when they are used in specific contexts? You may know exactly why they annoy you, and then again, you may not. You just know that whenever you hear the word or words you feel a flicker of irritation.

Here's a partial list of words and phrases that irk me. Feel free to use the comments to add those that you find irritating, too.
  • Government schools. I dislike phrases that are coined to make a particular political statement. It doesn't matter much whether I agree with the political statement behind the term or not, I just don't like it when a term is used as a veiled insult or a concealed argument. They are "public" schools; that's what they've always been called. You can make your point about them without changing the name to something that suits your cause better. Of course, the term really only works to make its point in certain circles where the term "government" automatically equals "bad". Besides, it's a buzz phrase and I'm not fond of buzz phrases.

  • Spendy as in "expensive." I don't hear it very often, but when I do, I want to throw something. I have no good defense for my irritation with this word. I just don't like it.

  • Genuine free will. So who determines what's "genuine" free will and what's just fake free will masquerading as genuine free will? It's a meaningless term as it's most often used. All sorts of things can be declared incompatible with "genuine free will" without any real argument and without defining what circumstances must exist for free will to be "genuine". And there's a buzz phrase alert out on this one, too.
There are more, but those are enough for now. What are your vocabulary peeves?