In 2018, I published a post called Top Ten Words or Phrases That Make You Cringe. I only included eight because they were so annoying. There was no need to torture readers with more. 

Over these past few years, some of the worst offenders have fallen out of favor. And thank goodness for that. Unfortunately, a few other common words or phrases have taken their place. 

With that, here’s my current, latest, on-the-fly Top 10 Most Annoying Words or Phrases for 2023.

  1. Mansplaining – This obnoxious made-up word isn’t exactly new, but it sure is current. It’s even made it into dictionaries, whereas no one says womansplain…do they? I’d love to see the insane online overreaction that would come if a man decided to call it womansplaining when some woman condescendingly explained something to him. Might there be a slight double standard here? And perhaps a bit of misandry (a much less well-known word than the ubiquitous and overused misogyny)? Well, in any case, it leads me to
  2. Patriarchy – Another overused and misused word. This deserves an entire blog post of its own. Some other time. But for now, I’ll just note that we’re a lot closer to matriarchy than patriarchy here in the U.S. today, the Roe v. Wade debacle notwithstanding. More women than men graduate from college, women make virtually all the decisions about childrearing and household budgeting, and you’ll hear plenty of men refer to their wives as “the boss,” whereas you’ll never hear any American woman refer to her husband as such. Want to know what real patriarchy looks like? Check out Afghanistan, or sunny Saudi Arabia!
  3. Dope – Oof. It was bad enough when youngsters used this as their version of cool. When I heard a guy in his 40s use it, I cringed. Let’s not do this one anymore. Please?
  4. Fire – Another one of the most common words in the language, also used to mean cool, great, and so on. Fire in this context is the 21st-century equivalent of groovy.
  5. Having said that/That being said – Here’s a perennial offender from the old list, a long way of saying um. In other words, an unnecessary placeholder. What surprises me is how many professional speakers add it into a talk…multiple times!
  6. At the end of the day – Having said that, I’m now going to be businesslike and make sure you know that, when it comes right down to it, at the end of the day…ah, just forget it. 
  7. No words – I believe this gets written more than spoken, mainly on social media. It expresses horror, shock, sadness, etc., I guess. Problem is, you just wrote two words to tell us you have no words. See the problem?
  8. I Can’t… – This is the new “no words.” Only somehow worse. Social media personalities either say or write this as shorthand for “I don’t know what to say” or “I can’t take it” or…well, pretty much anything, I suppose. But it’s a catch-all phrase I can only interpret as meaningless.

Okay, there’s my list. I know, I only did eight again, but honestly…don’t you feel bad enough just from those?


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