Wednesday, 14 December 2011

In which I inadvertently make a list

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

This was not what this was going to be today. I can't quite remember what it was going to be, but it was not this. This has developed almost of its own accord, in a quite mysterious way.

It appears to be a list of words.

I think, I think, it was because someone wrote 'end of' on Twitter and I got cross. So I started, in a desultory fashion, to make a quick list of my pet hates. And then it turned into hates and loves, and now it seems to be the whole blog.

Here it is.

List of words and phrases I hate:

Pamper, pampering, pampered. (I also rather loathe the very concept of it, as it currently applies to middle-class, middle-aged women. I am a middle-class, middle-aged woman, and I do not need pampering.)

End of. When it stands alone, meaning end of discussion. I don’t why it maddens me but it does.

Kids instead of children. Especially when used by people of a certain age who think it makes them sound hip. Although, with complete inconsistency, I like the use of kid in the singular, as in: here’s looking at you, kid.

Progress as a verb, as used in current political jargon. As in: we have to progress the policy.

Fizz for champagne.

Meal. Sometimes it is unavoidable. But oh, oh, it is ugly.

Like to mean I was or I said. As in: I’m like oh no. Or: I’m like freaking out.

Grow, when meaning increase. I think one should grow plants. I get most disconcerted when I hear people say they are going to grow the business.

Killer, as in killer body, or killer legs.

And, in the same vein, drop-dead, as in drop-dead gorgeous.


Step change. I don’t even know what this means. What’s wrong with change?

Access as a verb.

Implement as a verb. Implement as a noun, however, is heaven, carrying within it its own ironical cast. As in: I shall be using a special implement.



In the near future. What is the matter with soon?

Host as a verb. Not that keen on it as a noun either, except in the words of the magnificent Dorothy Parker: ‘One more drink and I’ll be under the host.’

Impact as a verb.


And all the poncy words: residence for house, vehicle for car, query for question, beverage for drink.

Guy, to mean man or person. I love it as a verb, as in: to guy yourself up in your best clothes.


Action, as a verb.

Touch base.


On a daily basis.

Going forward.


To avoid being Nelly Negative, I should put in the words and phrases I love, too:




Random, particularly in the new sense the Young People use it, to mean unknown or unexpected or surprising, or even eccentric. As in: some random person. Or: that was completely random.


Nice, in its meaning of subtle or precise. As in: a nice distinction.

Wanton. Most especially in the context of King Lear: as flies to wanton boys are we to the Gods.

In her pomp.


Salad days. As in Cleopatra: in my salad days, when I was green in judgement.

I like green for inexperienced and naïve, too.

I do not sneer at all the old, worn phrases. Although one should, of course, avoid all clichés like the plague, there are some idioms I love. I like: black as pitch, it’s all Greek to me, easy as winking. I love some of the American idioms: happy as a clam is one of my favourites.


Blighty for Britain.

A fatal tendency.






Shaming. In the Mitfordesque sense, as in: too, too shaming.

All the L words: limpid, lambent, lucid, luminous, lustrous.


Fig. In all its meanings, most especially: I don’t give a fig.


And some of the Es: egregious, erudite, extraneous, esoteric, eclectic.





Griefs, in the plural, for some reason.

Jubilee. As in: this is my day of jubilee.










I rather long to know your loves and hates too.

Now for your pictures:

14 Dec 1 14-12-2011 13-21-33

14 Dec 2 14-12-2011 13-22-07

14 Dec 3 14-12-2011 13-22-57

14 Dec 4 14-12-2011 13-23-36

14 Dec 5 14-12-2011 13-23-39

14 Dec 7 14-12-2011 13-28-46

Three radiant Pigeons for the price of one:

14 Dec 15 14-12-2011 13-23-45

14 Dec 16 14-12-2011 13-24-10

14 Dec 17 14-12-2011 13-24-30

The hill, faint in the brightness:

14 Dec 11 14-12-2011 13-35-49


  1. Oh gosh, my mind has gone blank but I do rather love slipping 'milquetoast' , 'pulchritude' (and also 'pulchritudinous'), 'quagmire', 'sanguine'. 'internecine' and 'fell intent' into my writings.

    Luckily, I write a history blog so there's a lot of sanguine observations of pulchritudinous yet oddly milquetoast young ladies displaying their fell intent by behaving in an internecine manner. :)

    Oh wait, can I have 'incorrigible' and 'quintessential', 'halcyon' and 'iniquitous' as well? There's just too many good words!

    I believe there's a special space in Dante's Hell reserved for people who start sentences with 'At the end of the day' and then end them with 'end of'.

  2. Love the word gems especially sanguine and mirth.
    Perhaps I was a strange child, absolutely devoured the thesaurus, rolling the best words on my tongue, tasting their shape.
    Some of my favourites...
    The -scents: incandescent and opalescent
    Colurs: azure, cerulean, crimson, viridian
    And some that I believe are regional: mither, bairn, hinny

  3. Love this. I hate 'relative to' (instead of about), 'on a go-forward basis', 'untoward', 'belated' (even if you're late), and 'blessed' as an adjective. A few I love: 'lovely', 'sanguine', 'random', 'magnificent', 'fabulous', 'fig', and 'wee'. And while we're on 'wee', I love little and tiny too!

  4. "awesome" especially when breathlessly drawn out, sets my teeth on edge...every single freaking time.
    There are more but I am tired (the cold makes me want to hibernate)...
    I did miss "interface" (as a verb) on your hate list, but perhaps it's a bit passe (?) (I am SO out of the loop!)
    Night night

  5. Even worse is when a mixed group of men, women and children is addressed as 'guys'. I also bridle when an announcement on the train informs me that we have reached our 'final destination'.

  6. I utterly abhor the use of 'quick' as an adverb: not at all nice, and used this way quite without impunity even by the BBC!

    Phrase I love at the moment, a very recent acquisition for me: 'Is One of Those' or, unpalatable as it might be, there is nothing for it but to accept it, swallow it down and quickly forget. It must be used very sparingly, as mean of last resort, but has the power to stop in its track a train of frustration and allow you to let go and move on.
    Do try.

  7. My most hated word is 'moist' it makes me squirm.
    My current favourite is 'keenly'
    The husband's current favourite is 'irksome'

  8. I am of the generation that uses "awesome" unreflectively-- a good friend, 20 years older, deplores the habit and so I try to reserve it for when I am actually filled with awe. I loathe all business-speak ("interface," "grow" as in increase-- that's a big one and I was so glad to see it-- "synergistic" and "out of the box" and so forth).

    I like the word "pox" as a curse. And "bulbous," "murky," "petulant," "perplexed," "scruple," "ataxia," and "paint" for makeup. Ooh and "vexed."

  9. Madameguillotine - pulchritude and internecine are marvellous.

    Anon - cerulean and gibbous are tremendous.

    Mary - wee is much loved in this neck of the woods.

    Pat - so agree about awesome.

    Lucille - and what about the 'next station stop'?

    Cristina - quickly must be saved.

    Anne - irksome is splendid. Just think how exciting it shall be when George has his first favourite word. :)

    Ellie - love paint for make-up, as in powder and. And a pox on all your houses is one of the finest curse ever.

  10. two celtic loves: peely wally and cwlio

  11. Anon - peely wally is fantastic. Despite living in Scotland, I had never heard it before.

  12. I would like to cut and paste your list of hates as I am editing an extremely dry, tedious corporate 'thing' and if I read any more business-speak I may stick a needle in my eye.
    End of.

  13. Oh, Em - am practically falling off my chair with empathy and sympathy.

  14. Oh oh oh may I please add to the list of things I hate: "scrumptious."

  15. Ellie - keep adding all you want. I'm loving these Dear Reader lists.

  16. Loves:
    frock and frock up
    bugalugs as term of endearment for small child or a term for someone whose name I can't recall (eg bugalugs from down the road). A very Australian expression!

    comprises of - grrrrr
    arcane legal expressions such as hereuntobefore and its ilk

  17. I, too, love trope, querulous, discrete, brazen, mirth, and the L words (esp. limpid, lambent, and lovely). Add to those: lugubrious, lurch, lackadaisical, lamentations. Also: persnickety, perspicacious, rapscallion, dappled, conflate, antepenultimate, hapax legomenon, boustrophedon, donnybrook, and wonky. I'm sure more will come to mind after posting this.

  18. Rhododendron, Tokyo, Cholera, brimstone, wobble, triblodite are loves.
    Hates are 'myself'/ 'yourself' instead of me or you. and the terrible 'innit' and the general tendency of so much speech to be of the up at the end momotonous querying type.

  19. Wow - what a great blog and comments. I love discovering new words. But what does Peely Wally mean?
    Gift (as a verb) totally lost battle this one but what was wrong with giving?
    Mimsy (you used this recently Tania and I was so happy, thought it was just my lovely ex-partner who is much, much older than us
    Such a frost (another of his expressions)
    A snap (which has just come to me courtesy of gorgeous, sadly no-longer-with-us novelist Laurie Colwin)
    Lovely pix too Rachel

  20. Invite - as a noun - drives me absolutely mad! what's wrong with invitation?

  21. I have a massive problem with words beginning with 'F'. Can barely bear to even say them... Also the combination of 'nt' - I find it almost eye-wateringly ugly. Just read the word 'mimsy' and now I have 'all mimsy is the borogrove' in my head which is an especially pleasing phrase. Synaesthesia has an especial way of making certain words either utterly dull or incredibly colourful, so my son't name Oscar Benjamin is a riot of sunshine-yellows and reds with a hint of navy blue, whereas my full name, Joanne Louise, is just dreary beyond dreich - all pale browns, a bit of white and some ugly blue I don't have a name for, with a red 'a' in it that make it like a bruise.

  22. Before I hit you with my list, I have to comment on yours, as this IS the comments section.

    Some of your hates/loves I haven't ever even heard before, so this post is enlightening and cheerful because I love words! Never heard "end of" used in a sentence. Never heard "in her pomp", either.

    Most of your "hates" I can agree with, except for the poncy words. If it weren't for all the varied ways to say boring things like "car" and etc., novels would be impossible to get through! I love the fact that we have so many different ways to say things. As for "moist"... I find that word very sensual, when describing earth to plant seeds in, a delicious cake, or the lips of someone ready to be kissed.

    I am also interested to note that some words on your hate list seem to be there because of the sound of the word, and some are there because of what they mean.

    Now, a brief list of my own:

    Hate: genre, homage, hoagie, webinar, lanai, knick-knack, wii, debit, reality (when paired with TV), "mad cool" (or mad anything)

    Love: ululation, luscious, bizarre, pique, woe, eclectic, languid, baroque, burl, cornucopia, torpid, ennui, iridescent, fey

  23. Loved this post. Peely wally means pale skinned
    complexion. I loathe the word moist and also gusset - as, I believe, does India Knight! Also the pretentious use of residence for house! Also most Amercanisms like er, like, you guys, way to go, high five..... with apologies to any american readers! What really bothers me is when a sentence ends on a question note when its not a bloody question!
    This has prevented me living in either America or Australia.....

  24. Hate '24/7', 'lounge' and all-too-common misuse of 'disinterested' and 'uninterested'. Love 'salamander','marmalade', 'eclat', 'psalmody' and 'pudding' - so much more unctuous and inviting than 'dessert' or - horrors - 'sweet'. Oh, and so many placenames - Tintagel, Gortnamona, Vallombrosa, Skye. And my mother, Irish, used to say she'd 'malavogue' us if we were bold - sounds wonderfully 18thc, doesn't it?

  25. More brilliant lists. I adore this game, and rather hope this comments thread might go on and on. Thank you all. :)

  26. Hate:
    wow factor
    property (when referring to a house)
    moist (gag)
    meal (ick)
    at the end of the day


  27. Sorry, I forgot my favorite word in the world:


  28. Pucker.....ugh! just had to add this, now i feel ever so slightly queasy.
    Jane x

  29. Such fun to read, partly because you can see the difference what is said in the UK and the US. Some of the words that are on the 'hate' list of Brits sound rather charming to one who doesn't hear them very often.

    I hate nouns inappropriately pressed into service as verbs and any form of "resume-speak" (implement as a verb, various dressed up substitutes for 'did, worked, etc.'). Also hate that in the US, the schools have apparently given up teaching that there are various tenses of verbs to indicate when something happened. That says, I guess, that my hates relate more to how words are used rather than the specific words themselves. (Although, 'awesome' is just plain loathsome when used to cover anything from halfway decent to magnificent.)

    Loves: never can think of them off the top of my head. Some of it is the delight of running across them unexpectedly---just smiling when they light up a sentence.



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