.

Sugar. Fudge. Darn. Heck.

A guide to words the FCC should actually bleep

Occasionally, I will slip and use profanity in front of my daughter. And of course when I do, she is quick to chastise me and let me know I should not use that sort of language. While I can appreciate the reminder to remember my audience, I cannot help but think of many more generally acceptable terms bandied about in everyday conversation that are significantly more offensive than swear words.

 Words like, “moist” and “dabble” and (obviously) “appletini.”           

As much as I detest those words, there are no suitably concise alternatives for them, so I am somewhat accepting of their usage. And by “somewhat accepting,” I mean if you use them in my presence, they better be in the following context:

“I’ve made millions dabbling in pork belly futures, the bulk of which I want to give to you. Let us celebrate with a moist appletini.”

I’m much less tolerant when people use dreadful sounding words and phrases that have perfectly appropriate synonyms. To illustrate what I mean, please consider the following:

Unacceptable

Acceptable

Reason

lover

boyfriend/girlfriend/beau/significant other/special friend/sweetie

I will vomit. On you and your lover.

stool softener

laxative

The graphic nature of the term will make me think about this. I do not want to think about this.

pamphlet

brochure

No one looks good saying the “phlet” sound at the end of this word.

engorged

swollen

Most of us do not work in porn.

anklet

ankle bracelet (only conditionally acceptable)

I’m showing my anti-ankle bracelet bias here.

pustule

blister

Really? You require an explanation?

venti

large

We do not live in Italy. American newscasters pronouncing “Colombia” with a Colombian accent is similarly unacceptable.

panties

underpants

I really don’t have anything against the word “panties;” it’s just that “underpants” is hilarious.

unguent

salve

Do you really want someone to describe what you say as “guttural”?

luscious

delicious

If you use the word “luscious” you are probably using it to describe the ribbon candy in the milk glass dish on your coffee table.

luncheon

lunch

Why the three extra letters? It’s wasteful. And inefficient.

I believe we would be a more peaceful, gentle people were we to agree upon the replacement terminology I’ve suggested above.

And if you don’t agree?  Well, I don’t really give a sugar.

Bradford February 16, 2011 at 04:35 PM
ASAP - means "As Soon As Possible". But the meaning has been distorted to mean RIGHT NOW. Fecal matter - sounds WAY more disgusting than "poop" (which is actually funny). "Erectile" anything - I don't want to know! Implant - unless it's a pacemaker, I also don't want to know. Bucolic - sounds like a disease. Why can't you just say "pretty farm country"? Irregardless - it's not a word! Drives me crazy. Catheter - shudder! Just thinking about it makes me cross my legs. Loins - what are we talking about here? Just say what part of the human anatomy you're referring to (caution - see note on "erectile") Most despised Washington phrases: 1) The devil is in the details 2) I'm cautiously optimistic 3) There's been a paradigm shift 4) It's a Hobsons Choice 5) It's better to deal with the devil you know
Kathleen Canedo February 16, 2011 at 04:55 PM
6) Think outside the box And your words are excellent. Bucolic -- gak! It is so misrepresentative of what it is. Why the ugly name? You're exactly right. And I'm with you on "loins". Anything with the "oi" sound...moist, ointment, joist...they all make me shudder.
Lisa Kearns February 16, 2011 at 05:11 PM
I find it interesting that in the most recent story I wrote I used five of the words from your table, not including the few swear words. Four from the acceptable list and one, the dreaded "pamphlet," from the unacceptable. I shudder when my husband calls the meat for a sandwich "lunch meat." Just call it what it is. Turkey. Ham. Roast Beef. In my opinion, if it's called "lunch meat" then it's not really meat. Could you imagine if your lover asked if you'd like a luscious luncheon meat sandwich? Ugh. Lisa
Kathleen Canedo February 16, 2011 at 05:28 PM
Lisa - I'm glad to know that you're working on the side of good (mostly). And I'm sure you'll now strive to use the melodic-sounding "brochure" in place of "pamphlet." Lunch meat is gross. As is loaf, come to think of it. Would you like some lunch meat on some bread from that loaf? Egad.
Tumbleweed February 21, 2011 at 03:32 PM
Sherbet. It wants a r. It needs an r. If you say sherbert, you're an illiterate. If you say sherbet you're a wanker. You can't win.
Kathleen Canedo February 21, 2011 at 05:11 PM
Absolutely, Stacey. It should be sherbeRt. It was meant to be pronounced that way.

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