Word Prohibition: The Results are IN!

The results are in from the discussion on “what words are you irritated to hear or avoid using when talking with others.”  There is a 4 way tie for first place.  The leaders are…Amazing, Like, Irregardless and Yes, but (when agreeing).

Thank you for your submissions.  And here are the all the words.  And the most active LinkedIn Groups are the ASTD–TCC chapter, Cretin-Derham Hall Alums and the Minnesota Sales Institute blog.


The #1 (fill in the blank). Everyone seems to be #1!
Posted by Jeff Perry

Mine is “expert”. Attorney’s are forbidden to use the word. They will be quickly disbarred with any reference to it. Maybe we should take a lesson from them. When I hear that word, I think to myself, “When did you know everything and stop learning?” Maybe that is a little harsh, but the knowledge base doubles every 5 years. For instance, we are moving through an evolution of marketing that is affecting the companies that spend the most (i.e. P&G). FaceBook came on the scene, Six Sigma is taking over process management, the government….ok, let’s not go there. The “best practices” (ok, that’s another word for later) are constantly changing, our marketplace it turning global practically overnight. There is still so much to learn and try to understand – how can a person call themselves an expert with so many changes in the world?
Posted by Scott Plum

I could care less“…when someone means they couldn’t care less.
Posted by Jennifer Overbey

Free” seldom is.
Posted by Don Kelly

Like….like….like…. still can’t believe how many people I know still use LIKE has a way of taking a breath while they are speaking. A couple MINNESOTA PHRASES: Supposebly…which is actually supposedly. Can I BORROW YOU a dollar? No, you can’t borrow me but I can loan or give you one.
Posted by Leslie Mueller

Re-purpose” or “repurpose” if you will. Ack, ack, ack! This.is.not.a.word!  Gifting. Dialoging (don’t even know how to really spell it….). Messaging. Empowering.  Perhaps the worst of all….”impactful.” More ack!  And the next person who says “me and my team” will get 50 lashes with a wet noodle (John might not like my turn of phrase!). “Me and [fill in the blank]” is a terrible linguistic trend that has exploded in the last 5 years or so.
Posted by Jane Neumiller-Bustad

no problem“– needs a better wording. Like, my pleasure or your welcome.
Posted by Monkey in a Dryer

Posted by Jayson Wold

Calling a Powerpoint presentation a “deck” grates on my nerves. I agree with “learnings” and also detest “trainings” – they’re training programs! Also “You people…”, “You have to…ought to…must”. Oh, and using “gift” as a verb. I’ll stop now.
Posted by Dawn Baker

Any “MBA” buzz words – leverage, synergy putting out fires, etc.
Posted by Cecilia Deuhs

My bad!” Sounds as if the person is an immigrant and can’t speak English! It’s even worse when a grow-up uses it thinking that he/she sounds young – be a grown-up!
Posted by Nikki Abbott

“Like” as a filler word.  She is ‘like’ so funny when she ‘like’ hangs up on her boyfriend. He ‘like’ gets so mad.
Posted by Glenn Olson

offline” – as in, “I’ll be offline for the next few hours, but after 9pm you can “message me”…Oh! That’s two phrases that are too prevalent in my world. @Terri, “yes, and” is a great one!
Posted by Gabriella Broady, M.Ed.

Try the word amazing. Its over used. Not everything can be amazing.
Posted by Gerald Isensee

I’m a cranky old man, but it is like fingers on a chalkboard when I hear someone use Uh-mazing.
Posted by Jim Votel

I really, really hate “yes, but …”, particularly since I learned a rather pleasing work-around. You can replace it almost indiscriminately with “yes, and …” without drawing attention to the change. People don’t seem to register the substitution, but it sure makes a difference in how they respond.
Posted by Terri Cheney

Amazing.” It’s overused even in network news broadcasts and commercials, of all things. Also, “reach out” rather than call, e-mail, etc.
Posted by Julie Keimig

There are several that irritate me from gross overuse: “at the end of the day” , “out of the box thinking”, “irregardless”
Posted by Robert G. Hart, Jr.

I’m sorry” gets overused.
Posted by Daniel Shuster

Posted by Toni Schreier

Utilization…I go a little crazy when I hear that word.
Posted by Joann Lynch

Speedy words and violent words that ARE EVERYWHERE and that WE ALL USE. Quick, grab, run, throw, hit. As in “let’s hit this place and grab a quick bite to eat” or “I can throw that in a bag for you.” Our language shapes and expresses our psyche – and we are becoming way to fast, casual and violent (if not abrupt) in our words and actions.  Phrases that do not work for me and try to avoid 1) “Yes, but . . . . . .” 2) “What you need to do is . . .” (when I am the customer and am being directed to action rather than served).
Posted by John Fennig

My least favorite phrase:  “It is what it is!” Cliche and gives impression nothing can ever change ar that we should just accept it. Over used!
Posted by Mike Schwartz

Posted by Matthew F. Witchell

Comedians make light of it but texting acronyms are making it into mainstream discussion and emails such as LOL.
Posted by David F

same -difference
Posted by Tom Chorske

Democrat” and “Republican“. I find it disturbing and hard to believe that after all these years we still group the majority of the people of our entire nation into these two categories.
Posted by Tony Rubasch


Will this change how you use these words?  I know I will adjust the usage of some and be aware of the ones I do use.


  1. bipartisan – why have a word that does not exist anymore!

  2. Usually, my intention is to listen to what people are really saying. Getting irritated by their choice of words in speech or print doesn’t serve me well as a listener. Knowing what words or phrases will irritate them is really useful!

    With that said, my greatest irritation is “I’m confused.” Especially, when the person expressing their confusion hasn’t been listening and even interrupts an explanation to share their lack of understanding.