Kieran McGovern strikes out against youth culture and the decline of the English language with his Top 10 most annoying words in common use amongst today’s youths – with a word of warning to those… not-so-young.
Words are like clothes in that there are some that are only really suited to the young.
Here’s my top ten verbal equivalents of short skirts, low cut trousers and hoodies. These should be avoided by anyone over the age of… well, you decide.
- Dude – meaning: male person. Has become pretty universal amongst young Americans and increasingly in the UK, too. A great word with a long pedigree, like a baseball cap it does not suit greying hair.
- Awesome! – should only be used for that which truly inspires awe. This does not include the a new cover for your mobile phone.
- Banging (great) safe (excellent) ‘hood (neighbourhood) homie (friend) – this job lot of street slang is the private property of teenagers. Sounding like a wannabe gangster is inexcusable if you have a mortgage.
- Cool! – the exclamation mark is the line in the sand here. Describing something as ‘pretty cool’ is acceptable but not squealing c-o-ol!
- Wicked – (meaning great) Life is complex enough without calling bad things good and vice versa.
- Chillin’ – perhaps a controversial one but I think the world would be a better place without the phrase ‘chill out’.
- Skank – horrible word meaning someone of low class, sometimes also used to suggest sexual promiscuousness. Don’t use, ever!
- Gay – meaning rubbish, as in ‘that’s so gay!’ As used in the school playground it doesn’t generally have a sexual connotation, but best avoided.
- OMG, LOL etc – I know they’ve just entered the OED but there is something a little embarrassing about ageing fingers typing this kind of text short-hand.
- Whatever! – this is irritating enough coming from truculent teenagers, unacceptable from anyone old enough to vote.
What do you think? Am I being unfair? A language despot? Or are there more words you’d like to add?
Kieran McGovern blogs at English Language FAQ.