Words Never to Use When Speaking. Or Anywhere Else.

Language may be constantly adapting, but we still give
a big thumbs down to certain words.

Yes, we admit there was a brief period post-college where some of us coveted that delicious, lovely two-volume OED (Oxford English Dictionary) that came with its own little magnifying glass.  What can we say, we like words.

But just because the days of having a giant Webster’s sitting on the corner of your desk may have come and gone, it doesn’t mean that we still shouldn’t take care with the language we use. We’ve compiled a list of non-words or words that are commonly mispronounced (therefore making them non-words) that send us scurrying towards our beloved reference section of the library for solace.

  1. Irregardless—We’ve heard rumors that this one has been added to the dictionary because people use it so much. But we haven’t looked, because that would break our hearts. It’s regardless, no “ir” necessary.

  2. Supposably—Here we have a pronunciation issue. Please don’t replace the “d” with a “b.” It not only sounds wrong, it is wrong.

  3. Non-defunct—Defunct is defined as “no longer living, existing or functioning.” Adding the “non” creates a double negative. That’s the kind of thinking that makes grammarians unhinged.

  4. Foilage—Welcome to another addition of “Let’s learn how to pronounce words.” It is “fo-li-age” not “foil-age.” Those are leaves on the trees, not thin sheets of aluminum.

  5. Misunderestimate—This one we can credit to President George W. Bush, who coined it during a speech in 2000. Underestimate means to estimate something to be less important than it is, adding the prefix elevates it “to seriously under-estimating” something. We just think it is overkill.

  6. Vice-a-versa—No “a” folks. It is simply vice-versa. Letters are fun, but this isn’t Sesame Street, so let’s not try to be creative.

  7. Anyways—If you lived in the 13th century, this was a word. But it is the 21st century now, and we’re guessing you aren’t 700-plus years old. This is colloquial, so the occasional use in every day conversation is ok, but if it starts to slip into your business speak, we suggest you dial it back.

  8. Snuck—This is a word that has simply been made up. The past tense of sneak is sneaked. Many may not even realize they are using a made-up word, but now you know. And we will be listening.

  9. Impactful—Here we have something advertising agencies created in the 1960s. It sounds important and professional. But it’s also very trendy and buzzwordy, so we suggest you avoid it.

  10. Funner—Some dictionaries may be buying “fun” as a noun, and we will let that one slide, if for no other reason than adding “er” to it is so much worse. This is never ok. Never.