CSU reacts: What are, like, the worst words?

Nick Botkin

A student sits on a bench in the Behavioral Sciences  Building at Colorado State University
Alex Lae, a junior environmental geology major, said the most obnoxious English-language word for him is “moist.” (Photo courtesy of Nick Botkin)

Language is annoying.

Not all language of course, but there are the inevitable words and phrases that may truly rankle you for any plethora of reasons.


What words and phrases annoy our fellow Rams? And why? And what words, conversely, convey beauty?

The following are some student selections.


“People get annoyed when other people say moist,” said Alex Lae, a junior environmental geology major.

Lae said people use the word deliberately to annoy others.

“It is obnoxious hearing it,” Lae said.

2. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

“I do not think anyone knows what it means,” said Cassandra Elston, a senior psychology major. Elston added that it is too long.

 “No one uses that word,” Elston said.

You might associate the word with a song from Mary Poppins. However, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word was first utilized in the 1940s. Its very rough meaning is “atoning for educability through delicate beauty.” 


3. How are you? and I’m fine

“I think for obnoxious I am thinking in terms of things that are overused and lose meaning,” said Julie Carr, a freshman social work major.

Those phrases are among them.

Carr said such phrases have become automatic responses from people, lacking in reflection.

“It feels ingenuine,” Carr said. “I want to know what is going on in their life and they are not letting me.”

4. Like

“People say it too much,” said Lily Smith, a freshman health and exercise science major. “People say it in pretty much every sentence.”

I think for obnoxious, I am thinking in terms of things that are overused and lose meaning,”Julie Carr- freshman social work major.

5. Flaky

“It is a bad word to describe people as,” said Kelly Babcock, a freshman health and exercise science major. Babcock added that it is a “mean word and a gross word.”

6. Penetrate

“I think it has a weird connotation and people use it in other contexts,” said Erin Rueter a freshman health and exercise science major.  Rueter cited the example of soccer games in which players are told to “penetrate” the defense.

Fun fact:

In 2017, according to a Marist Poll, “whatever” was ranked as  the most annoying casual phrase for the ninth year in a row.

What about the beautiful words? What words give our Ram community meaning?

“Hope,” Babcock said. “I think everyone can use it in a way they think best for themself.”

Alonso Fernandez, a freshman business major, enjoys the word peace. Fernandez said he liked the word “just because of the meaning of it.”

“I like majestic,” Smith said. “It seems so peaceful and it flows.”

 Others have even more specific picks like butterfly, which signifies beauty, Elston said.

“I am gonna say Bernese, like Bernese mountain dog,” Lae said. “I think it is a pretty cool and elegant word.”

 For some, beautiful words literally take on a higher power.

“God,” Carr said. “I think of him as being radiant and the creator of beauty.”

Collegian reporter Nick Botkin can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com. His Twitter handle is @dudesosad.