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7 (More) Annoying Words That Should Die A Horrible Death

Today’s post continues a loose series of unintelligible nonsense in which I dig into some annoying words and/or phrases that simply grate my nerves.

For a refresher, check out my first post on annoying words.

You may love these words and phrases and use them often. If so, I’ll apologize in advance. I might offend you. But I hope you’ll keep reading my blog. Because I like books, and you like books, so let’s like books together.

Besides, words are so silly. Who needs them anyway? So, at the very least, we should ban the following 7 words and phrases:

8) Rad

Example: “The graphics on the new Call of Duty game are so rad.”

Here’s how I know “rad” is an outdated word, not dissimilar to “stoked”: I watched a movie called Rad when I was around 9 years old. In 1986. About BMX bikers. The main character’s name was Cru—which sounds like someone from The Real World on MTV. So, in sum, you can use the word “rad” if you’re a professional BMX biker named Cru, or if you’re on The Real World. Otherwise, leave it.

9) Beast Mode

Example: “Lebron James is total beast mode tonight.”

Yeah, and you know who’s not in beast mode tonight? You. For using the term “beast mode.” Look, I get it. I play video games, too. Someone in “beast mode” is in the zone. They’re unstoppable. They will run you over in Halo while making an assortment of “Yo’ Mama” jokes. But the problem with saying “beast mode” too often is that, at some point in life, you’re going to need a date.

10) That’s How I Roll.

Example: “I was banging seven-gram rocks and finishing them, because that’s how I roll.” –Actual quote from Charlie Sheen

I used to say “that’s how I roll.” It’s funny. It’s like, hey, I’m a middle-aged nerdy, English major and we both know I don’t “roll.” I don’t walk around with a posse. I don’t have a pimped-up car with expensive rims. I don’t drive with one arm on the wheel while leaning to the right—except when I’m cruising through downtown Nashville of course. I certainly don’t “bang seven-gram rocks,” like Charlie Sheen.

But when I say “That’s how I roll,” it’s ironic. So I say “Yeah, just put the kid down to bed. Wife’s asleep. It’s 8:30 and I’m on the porch reading Infinite Jest and sipping Cabernet. That’s how I roll.” Then you laugh. Ha ha. But that was maybe 5 years ago. And now “that’s how we roll” is a marketing slogan for Hulu and some random sandwich restaurant that I can’t remember the name of (true story).  It’s basically the flannel shirt from the mid-90s.

11) Literally

Example: “Dad’s head literally exploded when Sara said she wrecked his car.”

Here’s the thing about “literally.” It’s not interchangeable with “figuratively” or “metaphorically.” So unless dad’s head actually exploded into 1,000 small brainy bits of goo all over the wall and Sara’s face, not unlike the dude who messed with the dynamite in Lost, then dad’s head didn’t “literally explode.”  Even as a somewhat self-aware dorky English major, I don’t feel like I’m asking too much here. Don’t use literally unless you mean literally.

12) Deets/Totes/Whatevs/Delish

Example: “Give me the deets on that organic kale chip recipe! They are totes delish!”

This is just my opinion, and I don’t mean to sound too harsh, but I believe there may be a warm spot in hell for people who shorten words like this. For the uninformed: totes=totally; whatevs=whatever; delish=delicious. Besides choosing to sound like a complete tool, what is your rational for shortening totally to “totes?” Is that extra .00000034 seconds of verbal exercise too much for you? Are you a court reporter who speaks in shorthand?

13) Bro

Example: “Bro, the Nickelback album is sweet.”

I don’t know who invented “bro” as a replacement for the much more acceptable “dude,” but I think it might have been someone in a boy band. I just picture The Backstreet Boys on a tour bus, throwing a verbal barrage of “bros” around. “Bro this” and “bro that.” How does a man look at himself in the mirror at night, knowing that, over the course of the day, he addressed one his fellow men as “bro?”

14) Think outside the box.

Example: “You can’t come up with a new format for the TPS reports? Think outside the box!”

Now we’re venturing into corporate-speak. The irony of “think outside the box” is that it’s become such an oft-used cliché that someone needs to think outside the box to come up with a new phrase that means the same thing.  I like Andy Stanley’s response when someone says to think outside the box—“what box?” Creativity doesn’t have boundaries. If you’re thinking “outside” the box, then you’re simply putting yourself in a new limited space. It’s different, but it’s still limited. Why am I getting all serious with this one?

I’ll stop now, before I get carried away.

Apparently, I have a lot of words and phrases that annoy me. Maybe I’m just an old fogey who is easily perturbed.

Or am I partially correct? Do you find any of these words and phrases grating?

(Note: No post on Monday. If you’re in the U.S., have a great Memorial Day weekend!)

(Image: TerryJohnston/Flickr)

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74 Comments Post a comment
  1. Tyler #

    Bro, that’s a rad post!

    Like

    May 25, 2012
  2. I am introduced to some new words through this post ..Oh I definitely agree with “literally” .:)

    Liked by 1 person

    May 25, 2012
  3. Eddie B #

    Uhhhhh, I’m gonna need you to come in on Saaaaturdayyyyy, if you cant think outside the box and get those TPS reports completed……. JUST SAYIN’

    Liked by 1 person

    May 25, 2012
  4. I literally agree with you. I tend to be a literal person so I know how this should be used. People who use it in any other fashion are not telling the truth.
    People who use the phrase “think outside the box” can’t find a way out of it themselves. Again, as a somewhat literal person, I usually have to be told where the box is, as well as who made it. As for abreviations – it always happened imho. A wee bit of a mixed reply there, but it leans more towords you than against.
    Thought provoking, thank you.
    Yhs,
    timberbookshelves

    Like

    May 25, 2012
  5. 12) Deets/Totes/Whatevs/Delish
    Oh yes this is good. To use another incredibly irritating word/mistake, “I’m liking” that ” warm spot in hell” you’re imagining.

    Like

    May 25, 2012
  6. Bro, I totes agree! This post is rad, and I’m stoke that you had a reference to Office Space in it! Way to think outside the box. LOL

    LOVED it!

    Like

    May 25, 2012
  7. * literally stoked (OMG, I’m dying… :-D)

    Like

    May 25, 2012
  8. Heather #

    It kind of sounds more like you find an argument with current pop culture than actual words/phrases.

    Like

    May 25, 2012
  9. Good list. May I humbly also suggest ‘sammy’. I that sammy looks totes delish. What are you, five?

    Like

    May 25, 2012
  10. Awesome post. I once heard someone, trying to show sympathy, say, “We are literally holding your hearts in our hands.” Ew.

    Liked by 1 person

    May 25, 2012
  11. I agree with all of these. What really sucks about “literally” is that I find myself having to use it more than I used to. For example, people use “lol” or some variant of it (I can’t stand text speak) so frequently now…and I KNOW they aren’t really laughing every time they use it…that when something really does make me laugh out loud, I feel the need to let the person who made me laugh know that I quite literally laughed out loud. So I’m using literally more and more often for that (and other reasons) *because* so many people use it incorrectly. It sucks. Haha!

    Like

    May 25, 2012
    • Literally is a weird one because it’s okay to use it if you use it correctly. Which you do!

      Like

      May 25, 2012
  12. I once had a date with a hot girl but she over-used “literally” so much and so wrongly, that I walked off.

    Like

    May 25, 2012
  13. Agree, Agree, Agree. Literally!

    Like

    May 25, 2012
  14. ‘surreal’ often falls into the same misused category as literally.

    Liked by 2 people

    May 25, 2012
  15. This post was (15) swag.

    Like

    May 26, 2012
  16. No you are absolutely not being a miserable old xxxxx in highlighting these examples of meaningless phrases and expressions. I come up against it every day in the corporate world. They are among the main culprits but those in education, social services and advertising are not squeaky clean either. For the record my list of hated expressions are:

    1. Leverage. ‘use’ as a verb apparently doesn’t sound important enough for some people
    2. Going forward: as if business leaders ever admit that their company is going backwards
    3. Blue Ocean thinking: yes aren’t you clever, you managed to read a whole book. But did you have to show off about it as well. Anyway, oceans are not always blue….
    4. Pre-book – bring back the day when all I had to do was reserve a book due to be published, or simply book a ticket for an upcoming play. Now it seems I have to pre-book or pre-reserve so does that mean there is a second stage where I buy also or in pre-booking have I actually bought something?
    5. Finally: as in ‘he finally completed the marathon….’ or my favourite ‘ he finally died’. As if there is some state of death that isn’t complete somehow

    Like

    May 26, 2012
    • Those usages of “finally” are correct, though. “Finally” brings in the connotation of “after much time or effort.”

      Like

      May 26, 2012
    • kuptin undipants #

      blue sky thinking

      Like

      March 21, 2016
  17. Great post and they’re all largely meaningless. You could also add ‘For myself,personally I..’ or ‘the bottom line is…’ But in the UK, my all time pet peeve is ‘gobsmacked’ – as in ‘I couldn’t believe he jumped off a cliff – I was totally gobsmacked’. I tell no lie, it really is in common use.

    Like

    May 26, 2012
  18. My teenage son says “meh”, I mean, like, totally all the time.
    Meh.

    Like

    May 26, 2012
  19. My high school students made a video making fun of the word “bro.” It was awesome. They talked about bromance, hanging on the brotanic, having a broship, drinking brojuice. Bro is so overused – but I loved the Seinfeld episode about the bro or manseire. Lol! 🙂

    Like

    May 26, 2012
  20. That post was like, totally sublime, man. No really–I get it. Rad-so uncool, the beast thing I’d howl at if someone said to me, bro that went out when technology became an appendage (far closer than bro)remember also on Seinfeld (so yuck factor now also) Kramer and who’s his name’s father invented the “bro” or manzere? You know the only one I’m guilty of saying recently is “cause that’s how I roll asshole,” I believe I was in therapy letting out the boiling mad anger I accrued during the past two weeks. I love to make fun of the folks other people still worship, so I apply a really stupid cliche to their existence and laugh my butt off.

    Like

    May 26, 2012
  21. I’m so glad to be released from the box I wasn’t thinking outside of, like literally, dude.

    Like

    May 26, 2012
  22. confessionsofthedamned #

    bro is such an annoying word! ugh! lol.

    Like

    May 27, 2012
  23. whatever #

    Hyperbole is the ruin of the young generation. As if to be heard more and get attention and stand out of all the noise that surrounds everything today we have to exaggerate anything we say, for example using “literally” when what we are saying is obviously not literal. Good post by the way!
    P.S. My nickname is totally unrelated to the issue or to your posts!

    Like

    May 29, 2012
  24. Reblogged this on Inkings and Inklings.

    Like

    June 2, 2012
  25. Two peoples divided by a common language. I literally had not heard of 5 of these. Whether it’s because I’m English, or because I don’t think outside the box, I don’t know. But we have plenty of our own, and A.K Andrew is right. ‘Gobsmacked’ is one of them

    Like

    July 5, 2012
  26. Spot on with 12th.. All of those are beyond annoying including,people shreiking SMS lingo.Yep shreiking-not cool especially an abbrevation.

    Like

    December 6, 2012
  27. Loved your post.
    One word that is taking India by storm is “ANYWAYS.” (with a ‘S’)
    She fell in the ditch. ANYWAYS, she is fine now.
    I missed the last Hirtik movie. ANYWAYS I am not going to miss his next.
    She lied. ANYWAYS I forgave her.

    Like

    January 30, 2013
  28. The use of literally drives me crazy! I hear people say quite regularly that they literally died. Unless they’re telling me about an out-of-body experience that they had, I don’t think they literally died, or they’d be dead and unable to share their thrilling story with me. I really can’t stand it!

    Like

    June 30, 2013
  29. alan perry #

    Do you think? That’s genius! glomed onto………

    Like

    July 1, 2013
  30. Maria Hyman #

    You forgot, “at the end of the day”. That phrase puts me in a rage.

    Like

    October 22, 2013
  31. ibikenyc #

    “Basically.”

    (Ya mean “essentially?”)

    Like

    October 25, 2013
  32. Can I add hubby?

    Like

    November 5, 2013
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    Like

    December 22, 2013
  34. armyvet76 #

    One of the most irritating terms I was surpirsed not to see is “Jelly”. As in: “Ur mad cuz ur just jelly, bro”. OMG that is so annoying. I usually respond by saying “No, I’m peanut butter.”

    Like

    March 7, 2014
  35. Polly #

    Amazing. People seem to be easily amazed, usually by their own children.

    Found you looking for the origin of the overused and irritating, ‘that’s how I roll’.

    Like

    July 2, 2014
  36. When my old boss used to say “Think outside the box” it didn’t take too long to figure out what he really meant: “Come over here and think inside MY BOX”. That was at least twenty years ago!

    Like

    August 4, 2014
  37. Eterpub #

    You are hilarious. I hate when people say literally when they clearly mean figuratively, or when they just want to reinforce. Everything else you listed is spot on but I don’t hear them as often– however literally just rolls off everyone’s tongue in every other sentence they speak. It’s really annoying.

    Also rad deserves a special spot. It is the most ridiculous try hard dumb skater word ever. I’ve only heard dumb people desperately trying to be cool use it.

    Like

    September 11, 2014
  38. In the city I live in now, so many people say “I seen that” instead of “I saw that”. It grates on me every time I hear it. Also I (like, totally, for sure, [ugh]) agree about the word ‘awesome’ being overused. The Grand Canyon is awesome, Niagara Falls is awesome, but your new tatoo is NOT awesome.

    Like

    October 20, 2014
  39. Ellie #

    I totally agree with you on all these words.. They definitely do need to die a horrible death, they are so overused it’s ridiculous!! I especially agree with the redundancy of the word ‘literally’. Some people really don’t know the proper use of that word -,-

    Like

    November 25, 2014
  40. Sebastian Dangerfield #

    Exact same. If it’s the first, it’s gotta be the second.

    Like

    December 18, 2014
  41. melissa lacombe #

    I came across this list as I was losing my mind over persons who say “guess what” when they really mean “I’m smart and you’re uninformed”. Why do they have to insert that phrase into all their conversations? Or use it at all!! We once were listening to a boring speaker and the only fun was counting how many times he would say guess what. It was 18 times in 45 minutes. I think people who are so repetitive and unoriginal deserve a COLD place in hell. Sorry. Got a little worked up there. I’m better now.

    Like

    December 29, 2014
  42. I feel dated! The only word or phrase I would know how to use is literally, literally. The word I hate most is utilize. Use does the job with less letters and pretensiousness. Presently used to mean now rather than in the near future is my second choice for most annoying word.

    Like

    February 25, 2015
  43. Jan #

    I absolutely hate when people say “To Die For.” As in, I had the lemon cheesecake it was “to die for.”

    Like

    March 8, 2015
    • In my opinion, people who say ‘to die for’, and ‘must-have’ make me want to cause them ‘to die for’ their ‘must-have’ item. There is no item I would die for and don’t tell me what i ‘must have’. Then there s the cutesy word ‘kiddos’ overused by our local newscasters. Here is a newsflash, folks: we are not in kindergarten here. Using cutesy words just makes you sound like a fool.

      Like

      May 27, 2016
  44. The word “Basicially” is Definately the Most overused word in the world! I know i hear it used 100 times a day, Everyday, Everywhere.

    Like

    October 19, 2015
  45. jul #

    “bro” from the early 1990s and “boss” from the 1970s….yet most of the people who say them are too young to remember either word!!

    Like

    November 9, 2015
  46. Jules #

    Febreeze just came out with a new product…apple delish

    Like

    November 30, 2015
    • sumkooldude #

      That’s just as bad as “delectable.”

      Like

      February 16, 2016
  47. Q #

    Agree with all but literally

    I don’t mind using it and if people get all confused when “I literally died” etc… Then they are stupid and shouldn’t take things so literally.. I don’t need to protect them from their own stupidity.. Literally, not my problem.

    Like

    January 23, 2016
    • And every recipe saying “comfort food”… Seriously, shut up.

      Like

      January 23, 2016
  48. Dog #

    Sometimes I squat down, wrap my arms around my knees, and lean forward. Because that’s how I roll.

    Like

    February 11, 2016
  49. sumkooldude #

    How about “You know what I’m saying?,” and “You know what I’m talking about?” and just as bad (or maybe even worse) “That’s what I’m talking about!” Terrible!

    Like

    February 16, 2016
    • Dee Dee #

      I’ve got a few: the “embedded” crowd, usually TV newscasters. Or how about: “Exactly” spoken emphatically as a response end of nearly every sentence another person utters. And then we have “trend” or “trending” — yes I’m definitely out of synch as I’m not trending now or ever. Maybe we could comment on vocal trends: of late: the sexy baby voice: high pitched, very rapid, little baby talk–great when they’re answering phones for customer service. Still popular: vocal fry tones, the sentence audible drops down to a gravel pitch, and lastly we have the “lilt” the sentences ends about one octave higher with a sort of a questioning tone. These vocal patterns are all trending now. Yes, be there or square.

      Like

      March 15, 2016
  50. Laura Bedin #

    I know this is an older post, but here it is 5 November 2016 and the word ” literally” seriously needs to go ( unless used correctly ) A usually well spoken radio DJ in town even throws it around carelessly.

    Like

    November 5, 2016
  51. Me #

    Ugh Awesome Sauce and Livin The Dream makes me what to vomit. Sooo annoying.

    Like

    June 1, 2017

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