Crevice: One of Americans’ most disliked words. Associated Press

Are there words that bother you?

Lots of them bother me, and I’m willing to bet that there are quite a few that bother you too. They may not be all that strange, and they’re not even necessarily bad words — except for maybe some profanities — but, for whatever reason, some common words just rub a lot of us the wrong way.

Even has a problem with certain words and has deemed some to be absolutely “cringe worthy.” They are: rural, phlegm, mucus, dripping, hubby and wifey.

A “New Yorker” magazine poll once revealed that up to 20 percent of Americans felt that the word “moist” should be eliminated from the English language. Research shows that our collective disdain for the word seems to come not from the sound of it, but rather because of the images it evokes. Other disliked words, said the magazine, are: crevice, luggage and slacks.

If your reaction to all this stuff about annoying words is “whatever,” you should know that, according to Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute of Public Opinion, as of 2017 “whatever” had been voted the most annoying word in the English language for nine straight years, taking 33 percent of the vote. To hold on to its title, “whatever” beat out these word or phrases: “fake news”; “no offense, but”; “literally”; and “ya know what I mean”?

A recent Harris Poll found that the incorrect usage of “their, there” and “they’re” ranked as the most annoying problem in the English language, ahead of only the misspellings of “February” and “definitely.”

While I find many words bothersome, the most aggravating to me are those I can’t coax from the back of my mind to the place where I can remember them. Maybe it’s old age sneaking up on me, or maybe I just have too many words (many of them weird and useless) cluttering up my brain. Whatever the reason, I find myself referring to Mr. Roget’s thesaurus a lot more than I used to. Vexatious indeed.

Jim Witherell of Lewiston is a writer and lover of words whose work includes “L.L. Bean: The Man and His Company” and “Ed Muskie: Made in Maine.”  

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