Lately I’ve stumbled across a few lists like this one, featuring obsolete words the blogger thinks deserve a comeback. They don’t. Not because of their meanings but because they are ugly. Snoutfair? This word was hideous even before I read the definition (n. an attractive person) and became even more hideous when I did. Good riddance, I say. And I’d like to recommend hunting out of existence a few other words that, while hardly common, still crop up to offend from time to time:
Vouchsafe: I probably first read this word in a high school literature class, then again in at least two college literature classes. No doubt I looked up its definition on each occasion — then immediately forgot it, so horrible is its sound. I refuse to even look it up for this post because I will probably never type it again, much less say it.
Mellifluous: This word hardly lives up to its definition: smooth-flowing, sweet-sounding. It is simply impossible to be mellifluous while saying it. Melodious isn’t much better. It’s, well, odious.
Gainsay: What’s wrong with oppose? All the other gain- words are dead (gainbuy: redeem; gaintake: retake). Let’s finish off this species.
Pithy: as in, a pithy comment. It sounds like it should mean insubstantial or worthless but means the opposite, and it leaves the mouth like chicken gristle.
I’m confident that all writers and/or avid readers harbor a hatred for certain words. Beyond those that are ugly by what they represent (mucous, phlegm, crap, etc.), cliche (game-changer, resilient) or not words at all (irregardless, TXT, YOLO), what words grate your ear the most?