Your words

This page is intended to “capture” your favourite and least favourite English (and Scottish and other-language) words. It brings together your comments – made here in the blog or in emails and Twitter – on Words that set our teeth on edge, English words the world likes… and …the words the world just can’t abide. Drop me a line in the comments if I’ve missed any of your favourites or bugbears. It would be fun to keep this page going with new additions, so please feel free to send in your words.

Words you like

Chosen by non-native English-speakers:

smile – shilly-shally – chuffed – flabbergasted


cundy (Dundee word for “gutter”. Careful pronunciation required!) – feartie – pauchle – stramash – dreich – glaikit – bahookie – outwith

Standard English:

Belgium – jujuflop (well, not quite standard)  – pan-galactic – darling – gorgeous – of course – crapulent – loquacious – facilitate – almond – scent – glamour – foible – empathy – caterwauling – gubernatorial – incandescent – kerfuffle – superb – spectacularly (when twinned with ‘ugly’ especially) – majestic – clamjamfry – skeery – pejorative – harbinger – muddled – overwhelmed – intrinsic – connotation – guitar – gloaming (not sure if this should be Scottish or standard) – Edinburgh – literature – history

Other languages:

pepin – selbstverstaendlich – ubicarse

Words you don’t like

Standard English

basically (at beginning of sentence) – parenting – myself (in wrong context, as in ‘contact myself’) – set to – fiscal– holistic – oriented – crucial – unacceptable – actually – verbalise – valorise – deploy – launch – storageability – erb (ie, US version of herb) – medal and podium (when used as verbs) – touch base – pus – snot – phlegm – horrid (unless referring to Horrid Henry) – incentivise – prioritise – diarise – raft (as in raft of…) – should of – momentarily (when used to mean ‘in a moment’ instead of ‘for a moment’) – a big ask – big up to – cupboard – ridiculous – Spam


Other languages

valorizzare (I hate translating it)




Add to DeliciousAdd to DiggAdd to FaceBookAdd to Google BookmarkAdd to NewsvineAdd to RedditAdd to StumbleUponAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Twitter

12 Responses to “Your words”

  1. 1 Marco

    Here’s my wee list of English words:

    Good words –
    Literature (took me so much to learn how to pronounce it correctly at school)
    Edinburgh (see above)
    History (if read with a Scottish accent)

    Bad words –
    Cupboard (is it a room? a piece of furniture? both things together? please help!)
    Ridiculous (I can’t pronounce it properly, the latin root is just too strong)
    Spam (as if the tins that contain it weren’t bad-looking enough)

  2. 2 Jem

    Hi Marian,

    I found a link to your website this morning and had a brief look. Humour appeals to me and one or two of the links made me laugh. It looks highly educational too.

    When I was strumming my guitar this morning the word intrinsic came to mind. It’s an enjoyable word to say and often has pleasant connotations. The words connotation and guitar also give me pleasure.


    • Hello Jem,

      Thanks for your comments, I’ve added your words to the page. I love the idea of you strumming your guitar and thinking about words like intrinsic!

      I’m glad some of the links made you laugh – where would we be without humour?

  3. 4 Eileen

    Would like to know the derivation of the Glasgwegian word ‘coupon’, meaning face. – as in, ‘He has a coupon you would never tire slapping!’

    Would also agree with the writer who dislikes ‘should of’. As a teacher, I am fed up correcting it in children’s work.

    • Afraid I don’t know where “coupon” comes from – will investigate.
      As for “should of”, I imagine you must get loads of howlers from the kids.

  4. 6 K1mca

    I’ve always liked kerfuffle, superb and spectacularly (when twinned with ‘ugly’ especially)

    I hate ‘should of’ and the misuse of momentarily (the yanks use it to mean ‘in a moment’ when it means ‘for a moment’)
    Internationally speaking, I’ve always liked ubicarse (Spanish for ‘to get your bearings’),
    they put it so much more succinctly!

  5. Good words – majestic; clamjamfry; skeery; pejorative; harbinger; muddled.

    Bad, bad phrases (are these allowed?) – A big ask; big up to;


    • Yes, phrases are allowed as long as they’re short – I might do another page for them.
      “Skeery” as in “scary”?

      • Yes, it does mean scary but I’ve used it meaning a bit weird, odd. Perhaps, I’ve been wrong.

        On the subject of children’s books. Gosh, Adam has enjoyed everything from the “Spot The Dog” series when younger to “The Gruffalo” and other Julia Donaldson offerings such as “Tyrannosaurus Drip” and “Sharing A Shell.”

        He doesn’t bother so much with nursery rhymes these days but a neighbour handed in a pile of books and among them was “Aesop’s Fables” and Adam has been engrossed, full of questions. “Not So Scary Sid” by Sam Lloyd is another current favourite while “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and “We’re Going On A Bear Hunt” have also had their moments.

  6. Great! The more the merrier. Caterwaul’s great, and here’s another good word from Hairy Maclary’s Caterwaul Caper (by Lynley Dodd):

    said Scarface Claw
    The din was so awful
    that up hill and down
    you could hear the CACOPHONY
    all over the town”

  7. Glad this is up and running again.

    Good words: caterwauling; gubernatorial; incandescent.

    Bad: raft (as in raft of…)

    Might well supply more in due course.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: