What’s in a Word

22 Jun


If you could permanently ban a word from general usage, which one would it be? Why?

I know many will approach this from a more philosophical slant.  Some will opt to ban such words as hate, bigotry, pain, abuse, racism and the like.  The problem, as I see it, is that banning such words from the semantic range would not ban their reality.

You know, it’s the whole a rose by any other name idea.  You may wish to ban these words, and others like them, but the fact would be that they would still be very much real.  We may ban the word hate, but hatred would still exist, if only in a different semantic guise.

Now, if we could ban the reality of this or that; well, that would be a different matter.  Sadly, we cannot.

We can, however, live these bans out in a practical way.  That is, we as individuals can practice love, instead of hatred.  We can be people who bring healing, instead of abuse.  While we cannot ban the realities, we can do our part to counteract them.

So, I have chosen to take a less philosophical take on this prompt.  My choice is more selfish and self-serving.  It came down to two words for me; words I consider to be too often used.  I really couldn’t choose between the two, so instead of listing just one I will list them both.

The two words that I would ban from general usage if I had the power to do so, are plethora and surreal.

I have noticed over the last five to ten years these two words have been used, reused and overused more times than I care to count.  I never have traced it, but I think they must have been used in a movie or T.V. show once and people latched on to them.

I don’t personally have a problem with either word.  It is just they are used so often it gets to be a bit annoying.  Maybe it’s just me and it’s one of my many pet peeves.  I don’t know.

I am too much a libertarian to want to ban anything really.  Perhaps then, instead of a permanent ban, we could just limit their usage.

It is a shame.  Both words are good words.  But, over usage can spoil even the best words.


Posted by on June 22, 2013 in Daily Prompt


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10 responses to “What’s in a Word

  1. Kenton Lewis

    June 22, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    Oh, I hate it when someone uses those words. Well chosen.

    • Timothy Murray

      June 22, 2013 at 4:47 pm

      Kenton, thanks!

    • SoundEagle

      June 24, 2013 at 10:45 am

      SoundEagle agrees with Kenton. It is a great pity that “plethora” and “surreal” have been overused to such a great extent. One suspects that some people utter them to give others the impression of being well educated or sophisticated, as if those words are the good currency and fair representation of their cultural capital.

  2. Dagny

    June 23, 2013 at 5:31 am

    What about ‘awesome’? I’m sick of that word too. And ‘nice’ just makes me want to buy a gun.

  3. Beth Murray

    June 23, 2013 at 9:43 am

    I’ve always hated the word cute. If it is meant to be a compliment, it fails, because it seems to be a word that is used to pay a compliment which to me is the same as saying ugly. Children can be cute, adults, not so much. I would go so far as to say if you can’t say anything nice then do not say “cute”!!


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