The Daily ReTORt

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Top-10 List: Bad Words

While driving during our recent holiday travels, my wife read to me a great column by Washington Post magazine writer Gene Weingarten about words that get mispronounced or as I like to call them “Bad Words” – (shame on you for thinking I’d write a blog dedicated to a list of “Swear Words” – although that’s not a bad idea for the future).

Even though I’m paid to write and speak (I’m a corporate spokesperson for a butt-kickin’ biotech in the DC area), I make as many mistakes as the next person when I’m speaking and writing.

Regardless, here’s my personal list of irritatingly misspoken bad words….

10. versa vice – the correct phrase “vice versa” comes from Latin with the root word vice meaning “in the place” while versa means “turning or reversing.” But even though the phrase means reversing in place “versa vice” does not mean “vice versa.”

9. preturbed – I used to get pretty perturbed when a former CEO I used to work with constantly misused this word during media interviews. All the print reporters made the needed correction to his quotes, but radio and TV reporters couldn’t – which was really perturbing.

8. perscription – the only prescription or possible cure for this grossly misspoken word is a Castor-oil based tongue lashing.

7. exspecially – this is especially irritating because I had a horrible statistics professor my junior year of college who simply could not say words that began with “es.” We joked about smuggling beer into class and “forcing” ourselves to drink every time he goofed up – it wasn’t an especially creative idea but it sure beat his dialectic on multi-variant regression analysis (ugh!)

6. exscape – it was difficult for the aforementioned professor to escape his misuse of this word as well.

5. expresso – I was always sure to get a triple-shot of ultra-dark roast espresso before heading to statistics class.

4. irregardless – regardless, of what people say there is no such word as "irregardless."

3. libary – when someone says this word, I’m never sure if they’re referring to a genetically-modified boysenberry for mincemeat pie or a place to read books. If it’s the latter, then there should be an “r” after the “b.”

2. fustrated – it’s frustrating to listen to commentators or politicians who habitually leave out the requisite “r” near the front of this bad boy.

1. supposably – the correct word is supposedly, yet supposedly intelligent people I know somehow manage to sneak the letter “b” in there somewhere.

Aside from pontificating bloggers who drone on about grammar and parts of speech, what are your pet peeves?


  1. Feb-yoo-ary.

    I had a driver's ed teacher that could not pronounce "intoxicated". It was always "in-toss-ti-cated". Couldn't help but be amused by that one.

  2. @Cheryl, in-toss-ti-cated? Now THAT is funny...

  3. "try and"
    as in, I'm going to try and post an intelligent comment on Tor's blog. Then I will try TO have patience with the intelligent but unaware people who "try and" do their best.

  4. @Nan, great one! I'll be sure to try and avoid doing it myself....

  5. Very funny, Tor! Since I work in a library, you may enjoy hearing the worst mispronunciation of your #3 Bad Word ever. A couple years ago a Mom brought her 2 year old in weekly, and every time she asked him where he was. His answer: the Robbery!

  6. I was expecting swear I'm sure you aren't shocked.

  7. For me it's easily the misuse of the word literally. As in, it does not literally drive me up the wall when people misuse it.