Everyone has words they hate. The president hates the word “briefing,” and his aides now describe his meetings as “Go Tell ‘Ems.” The pope always skips the ox counting bit at the beginning of Numbers, because saying “quinquaginta” makes his lips go numb.

Now, anyone would tell you I’m a calm and collected person (Jk! I’m a fireball of barely suppressed rage), but there are a few words which make me twitch like I’ve been poked in the ear with a needle. Often it’s not the word itself, but the worldview that comes packaged with it. (Don’t tell me you’ve never heard the word “cleanse” and started inching toward the door.) I have assembled the following words in ascending order, from the least to most likely to make me stab myself in the hand with a pen, just to feel something.

Traditional.
The word itself is fine, it’s just that every time I see it I start to hear warning bells in the part of my brain that enjoys MythBusters. This word is largely employed by people who think anything invented after the Industrial Revolution causes cancer. It joins “pure,” “natural,” and “raw” in the category of words which become more irritating with use. Any food substance described with three or more of these words will taste like bark and bean husks.
Exception: Anthropological journals.

Thrive.
Usually in regard to someone’s child. “Alana Briatta is really thriving at the Waldorf School.”

Farm-to-Table.
All food is from a farm. Most meals occur on tables. (Unless, like me, you prefer to eat what you’ve stuffed into your cheek pouch while crouched in a corner.) I like to call my dinner “fork-to-mouth.” Later I’ll be hosting a “screen-to-brain” movie marathon. This evening I plan on spending some time developing a “shit-to-bowl” movement. (BOOM.)

Colorways.
This one is less common, and unless you’re a knitter you may not have heard it. I only started hearing it a few years ago. It means colors. The colors of a yarn. Just say “colors.” You don’t get paid per syllable.

“THIS.”
It’s okay if you have nothing to contribute on this comments thread. You can just like something, quietly, on your own. No one needs to know. The world will not end. Nobody will mind.

Furbaby.
When you call your pet a “furbaby” you’re pretending it’s a joke, but it’s clearly not, just like when you end your insulting texts with “lol.” (“kathi ur skirt was so short last nite darren wants to date u lol.”)

When you die, your “baby” will eat your lips.

Probiotic (also Superfood)
A word clearly designed to covey great scientific weight but with minimal risk of lawsuits. “Probiotic” is “toxins” less celebrated sister word in the Great Lexicon of Promotional Vagueness. (Before you argue: According to a 2010 Guardian article, the European Food Safety Authority “‘avoids using the term probiotics,’ since it has no proper scientific meaning.”)

Self-care.
Picture this for me: Two lumberjacks finish up a 12-hour shift. That evening, while slamming black coffee at the local greasy spoon, one says, “So… what are you gonna do on your day off?” “Oh, not much,” the other replies. “I’m probably gonna just watch reruns of Worst Jobs and eat Doritos.” The first lumberjack nods, sagely. “Self-care is SO important.”

Nourish.
Also nourishment, nourishing. Nourished. UUUUUUUNNNNGGGGGHHHHHH.
Exceptions: None.

UPDATE: People who call themselves “humans.” (Humans of New York, I’m looking right fucking at you.) This is the one word version of “We’re all just animals, man.” This terminology is employed by two categories of people: anthropologists and sentient granola. For scientists it’s entirely acceptable. For everyone else it makes me want to punch someone in his chakra.

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