Photo by Gemma Evans on Unsplash

So slowly that we barely know it is happening a word that once did a great job explaining a specific niche spreads like a virus and ends up on Starbucks chalk boards. Here are some of the worst offenders.

  1. Curated. My father was an artist. I went to art shows. Those were curated. By a curator. The rest of us just have preferences and make selections. Cookbooks rarely have provenance. We choose the clothes in our closet, we don’t curate them. Unless we are douche-y.

    Photo by Todd Quackenbush on Unsplash

  2. Artisanal. Originally artisans were people skilled at an applied art. In days of olde artisans roamed the earth laying brick and crafting cabinets. The main point? There were no machines involved. So  cheesemakers can be artisans and their cheese can be artisanal. You know who doesn’t do things by hand? The lab team at Kraft Foods.
  3. Creatives. I love when people are creative. I don’t love when they are “a creative.” I don’t love when words change parts of speech. “Adulting”, although irritating, at least has the “ing” of a verb. Creatives make for eye-rolling cocktail conversations. Normal person: ” What do you do doing the work day?” Douche-y person: “I am a creative” Normal person, trying to roll with it: “Oh… what do you create?” Douche-y person doubling down: “I create content.”  Thanks for that conversational dead end. I might as well talk to this other chick about training for her marathon. At least she isn’t “a run.” Although she may eventually get them.
  4. Solutioning in progress. Photo by Kait Loggins on Unsplash

    Solutioning. Sometimes I am lucky enough to listen to Steve “on a meeting.” These people (almost all men) like to solution the shit out of things. Are they adding a powder to a liquid? Only if they have upset tummies (like I do when listening to them.) Nope. They are not solving problems.  They are “solutioning” problems. They have created a less concise word for the less effective way that they solve things.

  5. Literally. There have literally been a billion articles about the word literally. So I literally won’t write another word about it. Except to say it is literally the worst.
  6. Bespoke. This started out as the British way to say custom. We already have that word and it sounds a lot less douche-y than bespoke. Bespoke is a way to weed out people who can’t pay for custom clothing and furniture. It is out of the range of words that normal people speak. People who don’t wear cuff links.

    Photo by Igor Ovsyannykov on Unsplash

  7. Epic. Odysseus has something to say about the word epic. Although frankly he is too busy to talk much about his journey. Penelope might be the real hero in the tale #feminism, but neither of them would consider a ski run epic. It might be long and shred-worthy, but if you can’t grow a beard while doing it the thing in question is most assuredly not epic.
  8. Irregardless. If you take regardless and add irrespective you get Irregardless. Regardless (or irrespective) of the popularity of the word either of its parts do the job just fine. Sort of like Bennifer they should consider a divorce. But also like Bennifer they might stay together for the good of the children.
  9. Honestly. Honestly and its co-hort “to be honest” share the title of “worst way to start a statement.” It never occurred to me that you would be lying…until you cued me in that everything before this next statement was false…because only now are you being honest. And upon further reflection this next bit, the bit you labelled as “honest” is starting to lose the ring of truth. Why are you lying to me? Why? Honestly…
  10. Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

    Notorious. Goddamn you BIG. Notorious does not mean famous. It means known for something negative. Like you, and your ruination of a good. specific word.

  11. Douche. Here in a totally meta twist this list becomes self-referential. The douche is pointless. Some creatives solutioned a problem of their own making. Irregardless of the need for a vaginal freshening device they sit in curated clusters on our shelves. Literally thousands of types are available probably soon to be joined by an artisanal version straight from the notorious maker’s space. Honestly, I never use them. So I may not douche, but clearly in crafting this epic list I am a douche.
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Anna Rosenblum Palmer is a freelance writer based in Denver, CO. She writes about sex, parenting, cat pee, bi-polar disorder and the NFL; all things inextricably intertwined with her mental health. In her free time she teaches her boys creative swear words, seeks the last missing puzzle piece and thinks deeply about how she is not exercising. Her writing can be found on Babble, Parent.co, Great Moments in Parenting, Ravishly, Good Men Project, Sammiches and Psych Meds, Playpen, Crazy Good Parent, and YourTango. She also does a fair amount of navel gazing on her own blog at annarosenblumpalmer.com.

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