Words you just want banned from the English language

By Amy Cherry 7:34pm, April 1, 2013 - Updated 7:45pm, April 1, 2013
Graphic courtesy of Google
Do you have a word that when you hear it, you just want to curl up in utter disgust? If so, you're not alone.

WDEL's Amy Cherry explains.

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They're called word aversions. Mine is for the word.


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Ugh I cringe when I hear it, and apparently so do at least three-thousand others, who've started a Facebook page for their hatred of the "M" word.

"You might think it vokes some kind of unpleasant or disgusting situations," says Mark Liberman, a linguistics professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

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It does just that, and so do other words--Liberman says like...

"Slurp or pulp that are similar to that."

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But some of the other words that make people cringe and curl up in disgust may surprise you.

"There are some people who are completely weirded out by words like hardscrabble or pugilist or kidnap or cornucopia," says Liberman.

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What explains it? Is it like a phobia or a pop culture phenomenon?

"It's not a phobia in the sense that the emotion that's evoked is not fear, but it's like a phobia in that it appears to be irrational," explains Liberman.

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Liberman wants to know what the physiological reactions to people averse to the "M" word are really like.

"Do you see the same reaction you would see if you showed them a picture of somebody eating a word or something else that they would find disgusting?" he asks.

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Liberman says society has no idea how much of the population has these intense feelings of hatred for certain words, but he calls it "fairly common."

To read more on word aversions, click here.

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