A few days ago, my friends and I had a fun conversation about words like moist and panties. It's always amused me that certain words are so commonly hated. While most of my friends get a bit squeamish when they hear those two words, I never really had a problem with them. I actually like the word panties except on the rare occasions when it is preceded with the word moist, because no one wants to think about wet underwear.
The conversation made me wonder, however, if there were other words that had the same effect on me as moist and panties had on others. After thinking about it for a while, I realized that yes, there were a few words that give me the shivers and that I sometimes encountered them in my reading. It doesn't happen too often, but when these cringe-inducing words do pop up, it's still one time too many. You might not want to be eating anything when reading this list.
CHAGRIN, shuh-grin [noun]: A feeling of being frustrated or annoyed because of failure or disappointment.
(Bad) Example: He heaved a sigh, chagrined by her refusal.
Why I Dislike It: There are just some unpleasant sounding words out there, and chagrin is deeply irritating to my ears. Shuh-grin. Blech. I don't know why certain authors love to use this word.
OOZE, ooz [verb]: To flow out slowly; to show (a quality, emotion, etc.) very clearly or strongly.
(Bad) Example: His posture practically oozed confidence.
Why I Dislike It: When a character is said to be oozing confidence or sexiness, I have the terrible image of a pus-like liquid slowly flowing out of every orifice on a person. It's not a pretty sight. Alternatively, I think Ivan Ooze from the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers movie.
(Bad) Example: "Just get in the car, babe."
Why I Dislike It: Some people love to be called by these nicknames or terms of endearment, but they're not something I enjoy personally. Unless we're talking about the sheep-pig, I'd rather avoid the word babe as much as I can.
SUCCUMB, suh-kuhm [verb]: To stop trying to resist something
(Bad) Example: She knew she had to find him before he succumbed to the darkness within him completely.
Why I Dislike It: The reason why I dislike this word is pretty much the same reason why I can't stand the word chagrin. It's just an ugly word to say. It also seems like I encounter this word at least once every time I read a "dark" book. (There's also a really childish reason why this word gets to me, but let's not go there. Heh.)
EVERY EUPHEMISM FOR PENIS/VAGINA EVER
(Bad) Example(s): "Inner goddess," "Fat pink mast," "man-meat," the list could go on forever...
Why I Dislike It: Ah yes. Some phrases can be unintentionally funny while others are just plain disturbing. I don't know if authors are actually expecting us find phrases like "velvety folds" or "rod of love" arousing, but I find myself just crossing my legs and screaming internally when I encounter them.
What about you, readers? Do these words bother you the same way they bother me? Are there any other words that make you cringe? They don't have to be common words you encounter in fiction, and your aversion doesn't have to be rational. Just answer in the comments and see if anyone hates the same words you do.