October 18, 2008

Annoying and pretentious terms.

Collected by N. Stephan Kinsella (via Metafilter). The list is excellent -- reminds me of one of my all-time favorite books: Flaubert's "Dictionary of Accepted Ideas." The list is also pretty long, so let me select a few that especially annoy me:
Quoting “Mr. Dooley”; Quoting Will Rodgers; Quoting Yogi Berra; Quoting Boswell and/or Samuel Johnson (especially the stupid one about what is impressive about a walking dog is not that he walks well but that he walks at all); Quoting Shakespeare and/or calling Shakespeare “the Bard”
Yes, especially Mr. Dooley. Especially the one about the Supreme Court: "''No matther whether th' constitution follows th' flag or not, th' supreme court follows th' iliction returns.'' Ugh! Dialect... so long after everyone's abandoned dialect humor. It's a thoroughly conventional idea, so don't repeat the most conventional way to say it. Find a new way, or shut up.
... Hey-presto!
I've never heard anyone say "hey-presto!" but that's why I hate seeing it in writing.
journeyman; yeoman’s work
Yes, please stop saying yeoman's work. No one around now has a vivid mental picture of a yeoman working, so it's an image without an image.
nonpareil (having no equal; without compare)
That annoys me by making me think of that candy I inexplicably enjoyed when I was a girl. You know what else is annoying? Young women getting nonpareils all over their lips. Somehow, I don't find it annoying in a guy. I'm more I don't know what that is, but I want one of those.
tony (as adjective, “The tony club in downtown Manhattan.”)
Right, if it's actually a club for guys named Tony it would be kind of charming.
smudge-pot (something used in tort cases for first year law students)
LOL. Love the appearance of law school on the list.
man of letters (“Edmund Wilson was a man of letters.” First, who the hell was Edmund Wilson? Second, what the hell is a man of letters?)
LOL... to the point of tears. Maybe there's a problem with the whole format "[noun] of [noun]" in place of "[adjective][noun]." I'm about ready to make a blanket rule. Kinsella seems so easily annoyed that he might object to "blanket rule." What the hell is a "blanket rule"?
vouchsafe (to give by way of reply )
That reminds me. Judges need to stop saying "cannot be gainsaid." And I'm delighted that if you Google that phrase, the #1 hit is this old post of mine.
worry a bone (a dog chewing/playing with a bone)

let slip the dogs of war (“slip”?)
Don't make us think, unnecessarily, of dogs. No, I don't want that as a blanket rule, because one of my favorite verbs is "dog." Not many animals get to be verbs -- bug, man, fish, cow, horse (around), monkey, ape...
bids fair (“seems likely”, as in, “Kenneth Starr’s report bids fair to become a classic, bawdy epic.”)
Had to include that, since it fits one of today's blog themes.

Kinsella also has a list of "cool terms."
epistemology

orangutan

What up?

ergonomic

“walking papers”--as in when your wife tells you if you screw up again she will sign your walking papers
I wonder what if he likes "riot act," a term that definitely annoyed George Carlin:
It's like the Riot Act. The Riot Act. They always tell you they're gonna read that to you. Have you heard this thing at all? Like when you're a kid, they threaten you.

"You wait 'til your father gets home. He's gonna read you the riot act!"

"Tell him I already read it myself. And I didn't like it, either; I consider it wordy and poorly thought out. He wants to read me something, how about 'The Gentlemen's Guide to the Golden Age of Blowjobs'?"
Enough now. Your turn.

136 comments:

Beth said...

Rather than let some dictate to me what is "cool" to say and what is "pretentious," I'll go with the Bard and say "to thine own self be true." Much better advice, without the stink of preciousness Kinsella emits.

SteveR said...

I was reading along, thinking, until you put that George Carlin quote in. There's just a lot of silly terms. Besides I work for the DoD, throw in acronyms and acronyms made of acronyms, and you have to numb yourself to make it through the day.

Ann Althouse said...

So you were reading along, thinking, until I put that George Carlin quote in... and then what happened? Did George play havoc on the processes of thought?

Palladian said...

I'm with Beth; (OMG I USED A SEMICOLON! THAT'S SO UNCOOL!) It's not acceptable to quote Shakespeare? Well, to quote Shakespeare, "this is the silliest stuff that ever I heard".

The basic fact of language is that it's all received wisdom and accepted ideas. We inherit our language and, depending on who you believe, we either use someone else's tools (words) to express our thoughts or someone else's tools fundamentally create our thoughts. Or a bit of both. But if you're communicating, you're being "unoriginal". I suppose the trick is to be less unoriginal than others who use the language.

And I am wary of the word "pretentious". There are certainly pretentious things in the world (Tori Amos, Robert Wilson, This American Life, photographing yourself with nonpariels on your lips and putting it in the "GirlsWithAttitude" Flickr pool), stupid people also like to label things "pretentious" that make them feel stupid.

kynefski said...

I side with George Johnson in wanting to promote autochthonous. It's a good natural sciences term that ought to find wider usage.

Comments like beth's are more or less autochthonous to weblogs.

Palladian said...

OK, I will list a figure of speech that I find extremely annoying:

"calling someone out"

I hate that meaningless, stupid phrase! It sounds like someone being ejected from a 3rd grade dodge ball game for aiming the ball at Jenny's head. "Billy! I'm calling you out!". Stop using it, people!

Chip Ahoy said...

The phrase that pisses me off because it's an attempt to sound cool but instead makes someone sound stupid and now I see it e v e r y w h e r e is:

"going forward from here" or now just, "going forward"

as if there were any other possible way through time for us to go. I visualize someone performing a 180 and moonwalking backward. The FRB just sent me a letter with that stuck in there gratuitously and I thought, "an idiot wrote this, trying so hard to sound like manager material. "

EDH said...

How about the word "LOOK" used as a rejoinder or transition phrase, particularly in political debate.

Obama and McCain are both full-blown infected. And Fred Barnes, as far as I can tell, is Patient Zero.

My business partner started using it after 15 years, and I told him "stop right there."

Chip Ahoy said...

This post was tricky to read. For a minute there I thought you were objecting to "LOL." Then I realized, no, that's a thing being used, not one of the things being objected to.

MrBuddwing said...

I like the idea of the list(s), but I'm a bit thrown by some of the items that are included. "Gender-neutral language" (the concept or the language itself?) is pretentious/annoying, but "copasetic" is "cool"? What does Mr. Kinsella think of a phrase like "pyrrhic victory," I wonder? As for "who the hell was Edmund Wilson," gee I don't know - one of those 20th century literary types you hear about but don't read, like James Agee or Gertrude Stein?

People who said "I could care less" instead of "I couldn't care less" used to set my teeth on edge (cliché alert!), but I've given up on that, just as I've given up bending myself out of shape (cliché again) over the use "disrespect" as a transitive verb (e.g., "He disrespected me").

Chip Ahoy said...

"It's jéjà vu all over again." Com'on, be original, throw 'em off, try "déjà vu all over the place," for a little originality.

Christy said...

Third Beth's comment.

Kynefski, autochthonous is one ugly word. The hard k followed by th does not flow trippingly (oops, my bad) from the tongue and simply cannot be used in graceful speech. Even Obama could not say autochthonous pleasingly.

Chip Ahoy said...

Ha ha ha ha ha. "Look." That's a good one. Ha ha ha patient zero. Ha ha ha ha ha

That "Now, look," gets me.

It makes me crane my neck in the direction of the speaker and bulge out my eyes in exaggerated attentive looking.

Samuel said...

The list of annoying quotations should include Humpty Dumpty's quote from Alice in Wonderland --"When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more not less." If I had a dollar for every time some litigator has used that one in a brief, I could retire, no matter what the market did.

SteveR said...

AA: Yes he did, to the extent I have a "process of thought"... havoc, it is fair to say..

Chip Ahoy said...

* looks up autochthonous *

Chip Ahoy said...

I've got a tiny little bug up my bum for two adjectives for small joined together in a sentence. Does that make something doubly small or what?

kynefski said...

Something from this political season that I hope doesn't survive it: "walk back."

Beth said...

stupid people also like to label things "pretentious" that make them feel stupid

Exactly! Kinsella includes "underground railroad" on his list, because he didn't get it as a kid. But he gets "What up!" so it's cool.

Beth said...

Chip, when you're done looking that up, let me know if I was being insulted or not. I'm too unpretentious to get that one.

Beth said...

I thought autochthonous was something with an exoskeleton from the Cretaceous period, but apparently, I was wrong.

Trooper York said...

The thing that first drew me to this blog is the pretentious comments of so many of the commenters. Good job.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John K. said...

Interesting background: Stephan Kinsella is an anarcho-capitalist associated with the Mises Institute. He is very big on the homesteading principle, and enjoys reading out of libertarianism anyone who doesn't swallow that principle hook, line and sinker.

What's interesting though is that Ludwig von Mises himself didn't put much stock in the homesteading principle (i.e. the idea that simply by mixing one's labor with the land -- presumably including merely putting a fence around it -- one creates an inviolable and sacred title to that land). Mises recognized that land "rights" and property distributions were initially established on a might makes right basis. Subsequently "law" arose with the overriding purpose of establishing and maintaining peace, without much regard for the justice of the property distributions it already found in place.

Donn said...

Annoying because it's so overused:

Meme.

SteveR said...

Look, my friends, I'm calling you out.

J said...

"nonpareil (having no equal; without compare)
That annoys me by making me think of that candy I inexplicably enjoyed when I was a girl"

One of the joys of reading blogs is those "I wonder if anyone else ever has this thought" moments.

Original George said...

The Riot Act, 1715.

Obey or face the death penalty.

Here is what the Act commanded local authorities to say "openly and with a loud voice" and with a "loud voice command" before enforcing the Act:

"Our sovereign Lord the King chargeth and commandeth all persons, being assembled, immediately to disperse themselves, and peaceably to depart to their habitations, or to their lawful business, upon the pains contained in the act made in the first year of King George, for preventing tumults and riotous assemblies. God save the King."

The entire Act itself was not read.

Ann Althouse said...

"Rather than let some dictate to me what is "cool" to say and what is "pretentious," I'll go with the Bard and say "to thine own self be true." Much better advice, without the stink of preciousness Kinsella emits."

I like idiosyncratic lists like this. No one is saying that you must refrain from annoying Kinsella. Kinsella is just saying what annoys him.

Try making a list of expressions that annoy you, not because they really are objectively annoying, but they just annoy you. Is your list interesting? That's all that matters here.

Some of it is just stuff that annoyed him from an early age because he didn't understand it, and maybe we identify with that.

Sometimes something annoys you when you're young because you don't understand it and the feeling of annoyance becomes permanent, even after you understand it. For example, for me, the phrase "as it were." That irritates me, even though I'm faintly amused by the phrases "as they say" and "so to speak."

Michael McNeil said...

Is “Voila!” in there?

Yeoman's work. Oh, I don't know — I always think of one of those “Yeoman so-and-so's” (usually a highly attractive female guest star — who's therefore doomed) in Star Trek.

Usually, I feel like I'd like to “work” her!

Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Donn said...

Very annoying:

I gave, I'll give 110%.

Nobody can give more than 100%.

Trooper York said...

The current usage for "Yo-man" is the shortie you send to get the crack from behind the dumpster when the herbs roll up to get some of the product.

Don't youse guys watch the "Wire."

Paddy O. said...

I'm annoyed by the word 'actually' when used by know-it-alls who are about to begin a correction to a usually minor point.

I've annoyed myself enough with it that I'm trying to banish it entirely from my verbal vocabulary.

Also annoying is guild jargon used by non-guild members, or equally so, guild jargon used by guild members in non-guild settings.

I happen to also find the word pretentious annoying, and being annoyed by how other people use language is more than a little bit pretentious.

J said...

Tarmac - a paving method, not a location on the airport.

Evangelist when you really mean conservative fundamentalist.

Paddy O. said...

I'm so annoyed by 'as it were' too!

Beth said...

Some of it is just stuff that annoyed him from an early age because he didn't understand it, and maybe we identify with that.

I find those kinds of things more funny and intriguing than annoying. Making a list of things that annoy one in the guise of being "interesting" is pretentious.

Oligonicella said...

What amazes me is that people actually become irritated at a string of words (always uttered by the less 'sophisticated'), or the way others dress (same), as if they themselves are not irritating in both areas.

Michael McNeil said...

Nobody can give more than 100%.

Maybe nobody can give more than 100% (of what?), but the space shuttle routinely throttles up to more than 100% of “nominal.”

Ann Althouse said...

Oligonicella said..."What amazes me is that people actually become irritated at a string of words (always uttered by the less 'sophisticated'), or the way others dress (same), as if they themselves are not irritating in both areas."

I think most people who get annoyed would probably admit that they are annoying. Is it annoying to be interested in annoyingness? I think annoyingness is a fascinating phenomenon.

Simon said...

Although I suppose I should just be happy that "anything in latin" isn't on the list, why is "[The]Civil War" on the list, and southern euphemisms like "The War Between the States" listed as being preferred?

Kirk Parker said...

"At the end of the day..."

Buford Gooch said...

The list seems very annoying and pretentious.

Saint Russell said...

If "soda", "pop" and "soda pop" are all on Kinsella's list, what exactly does he think we ought to call it? Are "soft drink" and "carbonated beverage" somehow less annoying or pretentious?

Beth said...

Simon - entries like the ones you cite on this list (and of course, Shakespeare and Johnson) are what cemented my response. If those are the types of things that annoy Kinsella, what else can we assume but that he is a dolt?

Jeffrey said...

Beginning any blog post or comment with the word "Methinks."

Just hideous.

Christy said...

Never heard of the candy, but regency romances would be nowhere without nonpareil. Why, Georgette Heyer even uses it in a title.

Stings of words don't annoy. I'm bothered by the disappearing adverb.

I'm amused by the use of cold beverage or adult beverage. Does it annoy others?

Palladian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John K. said...

Simon,

The answer is clearly Kinsella's ties to the Mises Institute and lewrockwell.com. He's a paleolibertarian, with nostalgia for the Confederacy.

Don't get me wrong. I'm a daily reader of lewrockwell.com. I understand the cheering on and celebration of secessionist impulses. The crimes of the Old South render it rather unsympathetic from my point of view, but such things haven't generally deterred the paleolibertarians in their regret over the outcome of the Civil War. (Lysander Spooner was one of the most militant abolitionists in the pre-Civil War year, even plotting with others to rescue John Brown from his jailers by force. But after the Civil War, he wrote his essay "No Treason," lambasting the North for instigating an unjust war of aggression, and arguing that those who fought on behalf of the South and those who were leaders of the Confederacy could not be found guilty of treason.)

Palladian said...

Another extremely annoying thing: people who use Latin in English writing. It's almost never necessary.

Bissage said...

Nobody can give more than one-hundred percent?!?!?!?!

Au contraire, Pierre.

** makes goofy French smug-ass face, complete with raised eyebrows **

Aw-haw-haw.

Bissage said...

How’s that for annoying!

Palladian said...

Another thing that I find extremely annoying: when educated, white, NPR types use lower-class, uneducated urban jargon in an ironic way. The actual jargon itself is annoying enough when used authentically, but when I used to hear people at Yale saying things like "bling" and "playa" it made me want to "get medieval on their asses". And by that I don't mean making them my vassals and granting them lands in exchange for an oath of fealty.

Come to think of it, this annoyance is probably on that "Stuff White People Like" site.

Ann Althouse said...

"Beverage" itself used to be considered trade jargon word that should only be used for humorous effect. That's why "adult beverage" is considered funny by older folks (Rush Limbaugh invariably refers to drinks that way). I would advise avoiding the word "beverage" unless you have a good reason not to say "drink." "Drink" is a short, snappy, cool-sounding word. It rhymes with "mink," "think," "dink," "stink," and "pink." What does "beverage" rhyme with? "Leverage."

Buford Gooch said...

Avoid the noid.

Palladian said...

I hate when people use the word "drink" as a noun. Let's have drinks! OK, drinks of what?

If you mean to say "let's go and drink some alcoholic libations" then say that! In fact, I think one should be required to say that, to drive home the immorality of the enterprise.

Stephanie said...

I dislike the use of the word "around" instead of "related to" or "associated with" and blogged about it here:

http://westallen.typepad.com/idealawg/2008/01/around-how-abou.html

Simon said...

Palladian, I said my peace on Latin (does "saying one's peace" belong on Kinsella's list?) here.

Beth, John, I had a suspicion that it might be something like that. Lookit, if the South doesn't like the term "civil war" and wants us to use a different sobriquet for that unpleasentness down south in the 1860s, I would be more than happy to riff on some alternatives they'll like even less.

Ann Althouse said...

palladian said..."I hate when people use the word "drink" as a noun. Let's have drinks! OK, drinks of what? If you mean to say "let's go and drink some alcoholic libations" then say that! In fact, I think one should be required to say that, to drive home the immorality of the enterprise."

This is why people have trouble with the good, straightforward word. People who don't want to refer to alcohol are afraid it does, and people who do want to refer to alcohol are afraid it doesn't.

It's kind of like "cuddle," in George Hamiltonese. "Let's cuddle." What are you agreeing to?

Palladian said...

I absolutely despise when the creations of tabloid journalism creep into the language, most unfortunately the pseudo-humorous reference to every political scandal as "something-gate".

The other painful example in the same category is making cutesy portemanteau words out of the names of celebrity couples, such as "Benniffer" and "Brangelina". I blame the lamentable influence of women and homosexual gossip columnists.

Palladian said...

"It's kind of like "cuddle," in George Hamiltonese. "Let's cuddle." What are you agreeing to?"

Eww!

Or the hateful "make out", which is somehow more direct yet more ambiguous than "cuddle".

In fact, I condemn the word "cuddle" as a repulsive-sounding word that should be driven from the language.

Meade said...

I'm not one who is easily annoyed, but the following phrases always seem to rub me the wrong way whenever I hear them:

Sometime this YEAR, maybe?

Hey, pal, where the @%&*$! did you learn to drive?

What, were you born in a barn?

Take a picture, it'll last longer.

Do you realize that's against the law - doing that in public?


Oh, and this one always gets my goat:

Hell-Oo (takes fist and knocks on my skull like it's a front door or something), ME-ade, anyone home in there?

kynefski said...

Another extremely annoying thing: people who use Latin in English writing. It's almost never necessary.

I remember my high school Latin teacher declaring repeatedly that some high percentage of multi-syllabic English words derive directly from Latin.

I think necessary is one of them.

rhhardin said...

Why does man kill? Man kills for food. Often there must be beverage. -- loosely remembered Woody Allen quote.

My own theory of natural langauge acquisition is that you learn to paste cliches together. So it's top-down, bottom-up. Grammar rules the pasting. So we're happy with ``He did it on the sly'' without ever having acquired ``sly'' as a noun. It's not a paste-point.

Margaret Sabin starts an essay in the very first issue of Raritan, ``It is fitting that the French contributed cliche to our modern repertoire of pejoratives''

Mirablie dictu, it is online, sort of.

T Mack said...

"how about 'The Gentlemen's Guide to the Golden Age of Blowjobs'?"

Ann since you brought it up, what do you think of blowjobs?
Thanks

Meade said...

Mental note to self: When you finally do get your big chance with Althouse, don't use the word "cuddle," just ask her if she'd like to, you know, "do it."

rhhardin said...

what does beverage rhyme with

Any French -age noun ending.

Like outrage, originally outre-age, an event beyond what is proper.

Palladian said...

Palladian, I said my peace on Latin (does "saying one's peace" belong on Kinsella's list?) here.

Reprobo est!

Palladian said...

Necessarius!

Simon said...

Palladian - I thought about getting the bumper sticker that says "Si hoc adfixum in obice legere potes, et liberaliter educatus et nimis propinquus ades." ;)

ricpic said...

The term, social justice, makes me want to frow up, to paraphrase Dorothy Parker.

Meade said...

Did I say "cuddle?" Silly pretentious me. What I meant was - if you wouldn't be annoyed or anything, how about I rip off all your clothes and suck whipped cream out between each one of your dainty little polished toes?

ricpic said...

Everyone's annoying,
Everyone's wierd,
Except for you my darling...
Now do I get a blow job?

Palladian said...

Heus, modo itera omnia quae mihi nunc nuper narravisti, sed nunc Anglice?

EDH said...

If "soda", "pop" and "soda pop" are all on Kinsella's list, what exactly does he think we ought to call it? Are "soft drink" and "carbonated beverage" somehow less annoying or pretentious?

In New England, it's widely called "tonic." But that elixir-sounding colloquialism is on the wane, alas, like candlepin bowling.

chickenlittle said...

The terms pnictogen and chalcogen are dear to my heart, yet they are just pretentious ways of saying nitrogen family and oxygen family.

Naphthalene is commonly mispronounced, perhaps because its use has been mothballed.

1jpb said...

What does "beverage" rhyme with? "Leverage."

It depends on the accent.

former law student said...

Tarmac - a paving method, not a location on the airport.

"Live from the Red Carpet" -- E! before any awards show -- "Red Carpet" does not mean just the broadloomed material.

I used to hate corporatese, but these words have fallen out of favor: "proactive" and "bottom line" (replaced by "at the end of the day"). Also Briticisms such as "fully vetted."

kynefski said...

"Fully vetted" has merely been declared unnecessary.

Lawgiver said...

I can see Althouse made a decent pull and she's keeping the aggro for once. Locks be ready to banish any demon trolls, Mages AOE the adds, and we can all walk away with some good XP.

ricpic said...

He plied her with an alcoholic beverage thinking it would give him leverage;
To his joy she was able both at ale and at drinking him under the table.

Palladian said...

"Naphthalene is commonly mispronounced, perhaps because its use has been mothballed."

Sigh. That caused a strong reaction when I read it.

Palladian said...

"He plied her with an alcoholic beverage thinking it would give him leverage;

To his joy she was able both at ale and at drinking him under the table."

She offered her honor, he honored her offer and so all night long he was on 'er and off 'er.

Ann Althouse said...

rhhardin said..."Why does man kill? Man kills for food. Often there must be beverage. -- loosely remembered Woody Allen quote."

I'm willing to bet that it's "frequently," not "often," and isn't "frequently" a funnier word than "often"?

"My own theory of natural langauge acquisition is that you learn to paste cliches together. So it's top-down, bottom-up. Grammar rules the pasting. So we're happy with ``He did it on the sly'' without ever having acquired ``sly'' as a noun. It's not a paste-point."

Interesting. I never noticed that "sly"... based on "on the fly." "On the fly" seems like one of those phrases that Mad Magazine used to depict literally.

"Margaret Sabin starts an essay in the very first issue of Raritan, ``It is fitting that the French contributed cliche to our modern repertoire of pejoratives'' Mirablie dictu, it is online, sort of."

Hey, and it mentions my favorite Flaubert book on the first page.

t mack said..."Ann since you brought it up, what do you think of blowjobs?"

I think it's one of the funniest words in the English language. We're talking about language, right?

meade said..."Mental note to self: When you finally do get your big chance with Althouse, don't use the word "cuddle," just ask her if she'd like to, you know, "do it.""

The Joy Behar expression is "go there."

Simon said...

Palladian said...
"Heus, modo itera omnia quae mihi nunc nuper narravisti, sed nunc Anglice?"

Yes: the bumper sticker translates to the effect of "if you can read this, you're quite well educated but too close."

A guy I went to high school with - Steven Morris; absurd I should remember his name! - would often roll his eyes in exasperation and demand "me sursum transmitte, caledoni!" ("beam me up, scotty!")

Darcy said...

orangutan?

Who knew? Other than just picking up a copy of Borges and the Eternal Orangutans, I haven't been particularly attracted to the word.

chickenlittle said...

Palladian wrote: That caused a strong reaction when I read it.

Maleic anhydride is one hellacious dienophile.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Simon said...

rhhardin said...
"My own theory of natural langauge acquisition is that you learn to paste cliches together."

But didn't Orwell warn against precisely that in Politics and the English Language? He warned that vagueness and imprecision marred much English prose: "As soon as certain topics are raised, the concrete melts into the abstract and no one seems able to think of turns of speech that are not hackneyed: prose consists less and less of words chosen for the sake of their meaning, and more and more of phrases tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated henhouse."

Chip Ahoy said...

Your many varied irks and grievances greatly cheer me.

John Burgess said...

kynefski: "Walk back (the cat that has already escaped the bag)" is far older than this political season. Anyone doing PR for a boss with an ego bigger than his brains knows that term on a molecular level.

The phrase that annoys me to death is end/final result.

We can tag intermediate results as such. They should, perhaps, necessarily be identified.

The result of something, however, comes at the end and is logically, final without the tautology.

Oligonicella said...

Ann --

"I think most people who get annoyed would probably admit that they are annoying."

Good thing.

Original George said...

The Computer Dictionary

Everything from 'a-linux'- to 'm68k-vme-tftplilo' and 'ZVM.'

The middle one means "Linux kernel TFTP boot loader for m68k VME processor boards. Tftplilo is a highly configurable kernel and ramdisk network boot loader for BVM and Motorola m68k VME processor boards. It provides a mechanism for one or more diskless machines to interactively select a kernel boot configuration from a set of configurations defined in a single text configuration file that is transferred from the host tftp server. Each defined configuration specifies things such as Linux kernel and initial ramdisk file names which are then also transferred from the host tftp serv"

That's the default definition.

Oligonicella said...

Ann --

"Beverage" itself used to be considered trade jargon word that should only be used for humorous effect.

Reall? In what portion of its eight hundred year history?

Michael_H said...

I once worked for an old Navy guy - a retired Admiral who found retirement dull and entered the civilian world as an upper management type.

He hated the word 'upcoming'. He especially hated that one of my co-workers used 'upcoming' in nearly every utterance, sentence, paragraph, report, memo and proposal.

After several failed attempts to cure the problem, the Admiral sent all staff members a memo that said, among other things that the next time heard or read the word 'upcoming', he would be 'incoming' to the guilty person's cubicle to advise the writer/speaker that he would be 'downgoing' the elevator and 'outgoing' the front door.

Michael McNeil said...

“me sursum transmitte, caledoni!”
(“beam me up, scotty!”)


Except that the Latin name for the Scots (not the people who live in what is now termed Scotland, but their cultural ancestors, who then lived in what we call Ireland) was… Scoti.

Jeff Gee said...

If people stop saying “Let slip the dogs of war,” eventually no one will understand what it means when we say “Let slip the dogs of poker.” Also, what’s cool about the word ‘epistomology?’ Now pizmotality, that’s a cool word.

mrs whatsit said...

I'm putting "What up" first on my Annoying Phrases List. Where verb?

Ruth said...

We laughed when my sister's 5 year old grandson started using "actually," to begin each phrase with which he was correcting us. We laughed knowing he was feeling how very intelligent he was. He is very intelligent but we laughed in private when he told us he was as smart as God. They told him in his preschool he was made in God's image so that is how smart he was.
Further notes:
tony I thought was toney, as in classy; (notice all this punctuation) and WHAT DRIVES ME AWAY IN A SCREAMING FRENZY IS using done in place of finished. When I was in school we would have been told that was WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!
And the current use of present tense instead of past tense by all the news folk on television and radio.

SGT Ted said...

"reading them the Riot Act" implies that violence is to follow unless changes in behavior are made.

On the overall list, I hate it when pretentious writers try and trash literary or linguistic traditions.

SGT Ted said...

"calling someone out"

This means to challenge someone. As in to a duel or a fist fight. It isn't from sports.

Palladian said...

""calling someone out"

This means to challenge someone. As in to a duel or a fist fight. It isn't from sports."

But what does it mean? Call someone out of where? A tavern? A coffee house? It's vague and annoying! I prefer to "demand satisfaction" if I want a duel!

Palladian said...

"“Let slip the dogs of war,”"

I don't mind this one as much as describing the "drum-beat" of war or the "drum-beat" to war. I remember hearing of the "drum-beat" of the Bush Administration in the bygone days of 2003-2004. It's almost up there with "speaking truth to power" in the realm of eye-rollingly embarrassing lefty cliche.

Of course, I also hate the overuse of the word "terrorist".

reader_iam said...

I am annoyed at how many of these annoyances I employ and how annoyingly often. Annoyed and annoying: annoyance_iam.

SGT Ted said...

Calling them outside.

I sometimes hang with a rough crowd. This is what it means to them.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Don't make us think, unnecessarily, of dogs.

Lipstick!

Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

ANTONY:
Blood and destruction shall be so in use
And dreadful objects so familiar
That mothers shall but smile when they behold
Their infants quarter'd with the hands of war;
All pity choked with custom of fell deeds:
And Caesar's spirit, ranging for revenge,
With Ate by his side come hot from hell,
Shall in these confines with a monarch's voice
Cry 'Havoc,' and let slip the dogs of war;
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
With carrion men, groaning for burial.
-- Julius Caesar, Act III Scene 1

Don't quote it, though, Kinsella; you might learn how to use the Englsh languge.

(A couple of miscellaneous pet peeves of mine: "impact" used as a verb; and calling people conservatives when they're reactionaries. It insults conservatism.)

Paul Zrimsek said...

Can you say ______?

Thanks for playing.

kynefski said...

"Walk back (the cat that has already escaped the bag)" is far older than this political season. Anyone doing PR for a boss with an ego bigger than his brains knows that term on a molecular level.

I can only say that I'm grateful not to have known that.

Paul Zrimsek said...

In case 1jpb shows up: "Folks" when used by anyone other than a Hollywood actress of a certain age auditioning for the part of a plain-spoken Southern matriarch in the next Fried Green Magnolias of the Yadda-Yadda Sisterhood movie.

Cedarford said...

He wants to read me something, how about 'The Gentlemen's Guide to the Golden Age of Blowjobs'?"

I believe the Golden Age of Blowjobs started in the mid-80s and ended in 1998.

It was initiated by men successfully convincing woman that they were unlikely to get herpes, AIDs, or Papilloma virus from doing frequent BJs, hopefully on demand - and besides, "It really isn't like Real Sex - you know! It won't make you into a slut, honest!".
It ended of course when the Monica Lewinsky BJ became famous and everyone but Clinton-supporting feminists and us crafty men began calling it "real Sex" and that Monica was a slut and Bill a horndog and all sorts of diseases could have been spread in the Oval Office. Now, I was married before that, so I can't say Monica "blew it" for me..but yes, that was the end of the golden age of Blowjobs.

From what I understand, there was also a 70s, early 80s mini golden age of blowjobs before my time when a movie launched the "deep throat" craze. I don't quite understand the "allure" of that one, which was noted by vomiting sluts and guys bragging they were well-endowed, Because their date or bar-meat locker pickup vomited all over their car or parent's rug trying to fit what Titus calls "the big hog" all the way down their gullet.
It was the 70s. A strange, mildly disgusting time. Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Disco, and guys bragging they were still picking pieces of their dates Chicken Kiev meal out of their pubes.

Ann Althouse said...

Oligonicella said..."'"Beverage" itself used to be considered trade jargon word that should only be used for humorous effect.' Reall? In what portion of its eight hundred year history?"

I'm not saying it was a recent coinage, only that writing guides that I remember from 40-50 years ago said that the word was not used in good writing, but was used in the commercial context. There was a type of businessman's writing that good writers were supposed to avoid. Just as you wouldn't write "as per your order of Monday last" in a serious novel unless you were quoting some businessman's letter, you shouldn't write "beverage" except to be jocose. I wish I could find an old usage guide to prove it! It was probably something along the lines of the original Strunk advice to choose the Anglo-Saxon word over the latinate word, but more vigorous. Stern advice not to embarrass yourself. No one seems to remember this. Maybe it's a bit like saying "automobile" for "car." It sounds commercial. Normal people don't say "automobile." Not Americans, anyway.

mrs whatsit said..."I'm putting "What up" first on my Annoying Phrases List. Where verb?"

And you'd be mrs whatit.

Ruth said..."We laughed when my sister's 5 year old grandson started using "actually," to begin each phrase with which he was correcting us."

One of my sons, when he first learned to talk, said "actually" a lot. It was very funny, mainly because it made us realize how often we said it. Don't assume the child is trying to show off. He's probably just talking like his parents, who aren't talking kid talk to him, but modeling ordinary adult speech. That's what happened to us.

(I find that use of "modeling" annoying, btw.)

"... WHAT DRIVES ME AWAY IN A SCREAMING FRENZY IS using done in place of finished."

There's a very funny passage in the new David Sedaris book about the difference between "quit" and "finish." Sedaris is charmed by people who speak English as a second language, and riffs on someone saying he's "finished" finished smoking -- as though he'd been allotted 300,000 cigarettes at birth and the reason he doesn't smoke anymore is that he's smoked all 300,000.

Palladian said "Of course, I also hate the overuse of the word "terrorist"."

Well, what about the use of the phrase "of course" along with a statement that isn't at all something we're all supposed to know already?

Meade said...

ann althouse said...
"The Joy Behar expression is "go there.""

Just so there is no misunderstanding, Joy Behar won't be there when we go there, will she? Because if she is there, I'm here to tell you - there will be no there there.

madawaskan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
madawaskan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Simon said...

Ann Althouse said...
"[W]hat about the use of the phrase "of course" along with a statement that isn't at all something we're all supposed to know already?"

That - or rather, using "of course" to imply that following statement is so obvious as to be beyond question, even if the reader hadn't consciously thought of it before - is a bad habit of mine.

Meade said...

madawaskan, put those back. They were hilarious.

kynefski said...

I'm pretty good at avoiding "Of course," but I'm a terrible abuser of "Certainly,"

Darcy said...

OK!! No more use of "folks" here! Promise. :)

wgh said...

"To be sure..."

that's mine. Used all the time in pretentious writing... but never, ever spoken.

vnjagvet said...

"Another grim milestone" was an overused phrase until this year in any MSM article describing Afghanistan or Iraq.

Annoying.

Oligonicella said...

Ann --

.. you shouldn't write "beverage" except to be jocose.

As if to prove the inanity of condemning certain words.

vnjagvet said...

I confess my use of folks for people. It's shorter. Also, I suspect I'm influenced by my Pa. Dutch heritage. Volk = people auf deutsch.

Ken Mitchell said...

"Yeoman". I have two different images in mind for that, neither coming from the definition "hard worker".

"The Yeomen of the Guard", from Gilbert & Sullivan.

And in the Navy, a "yeoman" is a clerk, the guy who fills out all the paperwork.

Ken Mitchell said...

Palladian; "Calling someone out" is a challenge to a duel; "Come out and fight, ya lily-livered coward!"

peter hoh said...

I've seen "too clever by half" used too many times.

Palladian said...

"Well, what about the use of the phrase "of course" along with a statement that isn't at all something we're all supposed to know already?"

Ahem:

"of course: introducing a qualification or admission "of course we've been in touch by phone, but I wanted to see things for myself."

Lionheart said...

"That being said" as a way of voiding the pc introductory phrase of a sentence.

"let me get this straight" as a tip to forthcoming nonsense which will then be refuted.

"Literally" when it isn't.

"Seriously" when used as a complete sentence.

Jake said...

Real estate agents (and everyone else) who use "home" when they mean "house". Extra doubly irritating... "townhome". Yuch! Paul Fussell has has the complete list of down market pretensions in his funny book "Class".

Kevin Walsh said...

"A watershed moment" -- what is a watershed? Why do important things happen at watersheds?

www.forgotten-ny.com

Christy said...

I'm not giving up folks. In my family we also address each other as Sister or Brother which would undoubtedly annoy equally. It is natural in some parts of the country. What's your problem with local color?

former law student said...

"A watershed moment" -- what is a watershed? Why do important things happen at watersheds?

Everyone lives in a watershed, usually defined by the body of water rain flows into when the ground is saturated.

Hey, I'm gonna guess the watershed moment is when the water starts running off instead of going into the ground.

"too clever by half"

Another Briticism.

"Seriously" when used as a complete sentence.

Seriously!

My bad.

Joy Behar won't be there when we go there, will she? Because if she is there, I'm here to tell you - there will be no there there.

Do you mean "down there"?

yeoman

Don't diss the yeoman. The yeoman could arm himself, and formerly was required to be armed. Privileges extended to the yeoman were spread to all men in America.

bill sherman said...

re: who is edmund wilson. scott fitzgerald called him "Bunny" and he was, for a time back when, a pillar of American literary and cultural criticism.

jennyloels said...

One of the joys of reading Ann Althouse's blog is admiring the care and precision with which she uses language. Using this standard set by Ann, Kinsella's list is annoyingly inconsistent.

Under the rubric of "Annoying/Pretentious", he conflates categories such as 1) the pretentious, 2) the overused, 3) the cultural Other, 4) the obscure (to him). Many of the words and phrases convey a nicety of meaning that describes the subject -- and the writer -- in ways that synonyms cannot. In addition, he is just plain wrong in places: a photomicrograph is not the same as a microphotograph.

As an example, he cites let slip the dogs of war. Although often used tritely, this phrase assumes a certain passivity to the onset of total, bloody war. All you have done is just let slip the leads of ravenous dogs of war who can no longer be contained. Also, this phrase assumes the reader is familiar with from the powerful speech of Marcus Antonius in Julius Caesar:

And Caesar's spirit, raging for revenge,

With Ate by his side come hot from hell,

Shall in these confines with a monarch's voice

Cry "Havoc!" and let slip the dogs of war,

That this foul deed shall smell above the earth

With carrion men, groaning for burial.
.
There is imagery and impact in Antony's speech that are bundled up into the use of its most famous phrase. This phrase can convey a precision of meaning that is absent if alternate phrasing is used.

Therefore, I disagree with Kinsella. I don’t think that this phrase is overused, annoying or pretensious, but rather conveys a visceral impact that alternative language would not carry. Similar analysis would provide similar conclusions for many of his other porposed "Annoying/Pretentious" words and phrases.

Michael_H said...

Bitchslapped. Ugh.

And the misuse of dialogue, as in 'we dialogued with her about her proposal'.

Stephan Kinsella said...

fyi, I moved my blog to Wordpress and the new link for the annoying words page is at http://www.stephankinsella.com/favorites/annoying-terms/.