What follows is only the beginning of a collection of words and phrases that I loathe. When I hear them or see them in print, I am tempted to apoplexy.
issue “What is her issue?” is the feminine euphemism for “What is her problem?” Men who use the word in this sense are telegraphing their slide toward metrosexualism. “Our system had issues and couldn’t process your check.” No, it didn’t. It screwed up. It has problems. And so do you when you swap issue for problem.
utilize George Bretherton of the New York Times asks when it is right to “utilize the two-point conversion?” That’s wrong two ways. You can’t utilize the two-point conversion. You may attempt it, and if you could run a play, you should use it not utilize it (a word that was never heard in any huddle). From the same people who screen films instead of watch movies, we have the pretentious, unnecessary replacement for use. Or utilization for usage.
lifestyle “There’s a lifestyle issue involved in this,” says Ted Kulongoski on Kate Galbraith’s New York Times Green, Inc. blog. “They’re not just diaper bags, but lifestyle bags,” runs the copy for Yikes Designer Messenger Diaper Bags (I weep, I really do). You have a life, a time in which you engage in activities, most of which will be dull, others exciting. Those activities will define the style of your life. All people thus have a lifestyle. But that is not what lifestyle means: it is a snobbish word used by advertisers and publishers who want to convince you that you are not spending enough money on useless (utilizationless?) trinkets or real estate.
designer “The celebrities who have received Mackerilla Designer totes have been absolutely thrilled upon seeing them.” Well. Celebrities liked them. Nothing more need be said, I suppose. Except that every damn man-made object was designed by somebody. Everything has a designer! If your ears perk up when you hear this word, you signal a willingness to engage in unnecessary expense, a desire for fashion over style, for fad and shallowness over depth, and the unnatural craving to be liked be others because of your purchases.
awareness “We’re holding a splenetic fever Awareness Day!” Thus shouts the broadsheet. Very well, I am aware of splenetic fever. Now go away and leave me alone. And I will not wear your damned fuchsia splenetic-fever-awareness ribbon.
from As in “prices from the low 500s.” Since from is logically consistent with without limit, including it in an advertisement conveys almost no information whatsoever and is thus there only to induce suckers.
My time is short and I am busy, hence the “Part I”. But I invite you to include your own distasteful words.