Word Aversion

(This is a photo that I took on campus. Stealing is bad. So if it’s mine and not yours, then there’s no reason to take it, right?)


People who love to read and/or write tend to love words. We love phrasing. We love usage. We love their sounds.

Oooh, how words sound.

I don’t have any words I have problems with, but sometimes I feel like I’m the only one. I can’t tell you how many people I know that have issues with the word “moist.” Recently, I came across an article on Cracked about words that people hate.


I’ve never disliked any of those words. The way they sound is exactly what makes them awesome. It’s good to be uncomfortable. If everyone lived in a happy little padded cell all the time, then life would be safe and boring. It would have the limited amount of textures that were in there with you, and that would be it.

But we have horror movies, disturbing books, creepy poems. Why? Because we as humankind love to be uncomfortable sometimes.

If every word was completely pleasant and unoffensive, then where would we be? Words have weight and meaning and texture. Life is not a clean sheet of white paper. It has twists and turns and colors and patterns and rhythms.

We need words that take us out of our comfort zone. I love words that make other people uncomfortable. (Of course, I love seeing other people feel awkward sometimes, soooo… I don’t know where that leaves me.) Without words we don’t like, where are we? Some bland place with no flavor or variety.

I’m no synesthete, but I think good writing is delicious. It can make my mouth water. I drink it up like it’s the first taste of liquid I’ve had in days.

I’m not averse to words. I relish them.

Your assignment: Make two lists: one of words you like and one of words you dislike. Try to have at least five words in each list. If you’re having a hard time coming up with words, pick words that feel bland to you, that seem too neutral to elicit any feeling (unless you realize that it creates the exact feeling of monotony that you were searching for, of course). Try to quantify what these words make you feel and why you think that is. Write something that uses all of the words. Can you use the words you don’t like to create an enemy for the words you do like? What common themes do you see among each set and how they end up being used in your writing? Let yourself get carried away with this one–it’s all about feeling.

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