In response to my post last week about my distaste for the word "blawg," a friend e-mailed me about how he can’t stand the phrase "the Supremes" when used to refer to the U.S. Supreme Court. As he says, "It makes me cringe because it is so unoriginal, yet the person writing it thinks they are so creative for using it. I’m cringing just thinking about it."
I concur. I suppose someone who writes or says this phrase might want to be viewed as an insider, but instead they look like some pathetic wannabe. Plus, there is only one group worthy of being called the Supremes, and John Paul Stevens never was in it.
I thought it might be interesting to see what words readers hold in revulsion. What words or usage do you dislike, despise, detest or disdain? Send me your thoughts by e-mail, or, if you prefer, leave a comment below. I’d like to put another post together sometime with responses.
All this has got me thinking about specific words or phrases to which I give the skunk eye, and why. I hate all the Latin and archaic English words I see sprinkled in legal prose, as if the writer thinks they are magic powder. How many times have you gotten a letter that says something "is attached hereto." Of course it’s attached hereto, what else is it going to be attached to, your face? I dislike use of the word "literally," because it’s almost always used to refer to something that isn’t, and "clear" or "clearly," for the same reason. I’m not sure who the writer who pops a "clearly" into every second paragraph is fooling — probably only himself.
Side note: Here’s Kevin O’Keefe’s blast against the word blawg. Kevin, of LexBlog, is the blogging consultant for Insurance Coverage Law Blog and many other law blogs. Besides being the St. Paul of legal blogging (not literally), he is a fine blogger in his own right.