Rolling awful phrases thread

As prescient as George Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language” continues to be, he could not have foreseen how the language of commerce, sports, and talk radio would sully discourse.

I hear or read the following phrases and words more times a week than I can note. In most cases, the Latinates transform unwieldy nouns into verbs when an appropriate word already exists (e.g. “incentivize” for “encourage”), which, I suppose, is the point. Most of these lexical atrocities exist to confuse audiences; they cloak sentences in a fog of neutrality. Others merely coarsen. One construction I see often: “Not only did I buy a taco, but a burrito as well” instead of “I bought a taco and a burrito.”

The following is an incomplete list:

UPDATES

weaponize
operationalize
collusion
speak to
I was tired, so I went to bed/I ate because I was hungry/My feet hurt, so I sat down
The question is,
It was like any other Tuesday
pearl clutching
White journalists who use “woke.”
adult beverage
creatives (noun)

POLITICAL/SPORTS JARGON

fast track (verb)
green light (verb)
double down
walk back
home run

MISCELLANEOUS

gift (Verb)
dialogue (verb)
impact (verb)
incentivize
network (verb)
hate on
transition (verb)
literally
quality time
life experience
very own

unique
life-changing
one of a kind

journey
deconstruct
The opportunity to
emigrate for immigrate and vice versa
Not only…but
Having said that/That being said
proactive
cutting edge/unique
I find myself…
internalize
roller coaster ride
doable
kind of
all things being equal
at the end of the day
going forward

INTENSIFIERS

very
truly
super
absolutely
definitely

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7 Responses to Rolling awful phrases thread

  1. akorn342 says:

    speak to

  2. j says:

    going forward
    utilize
    within

    swag

  3. Tray says:

    Incentivize and encourage mean different things. It would be more accurate (though still wrong) to say that incentivize and reward are synonyms.

  4. Hilary says:

    “Inextricably linked” and “a whole host of” are my least favorite

  5. Jesse Scheckner says:

    The phrase “brand new” particularly irks me. The modifier, “brand,” adds nothing to the adjective, “new.” And don’t even get me started on “brand spanking new.”

    I’m familiar with the phrase’s likely etymology–that it refers to being “hot off the firebrand,” from a blacksmith or similar forger. The likelihood of encountering a thing so new that the description is apt, however, is infinitesimal.

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