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PhiNotPi's avatar

What are some phrases that you despise the most?

Asked by PhiNotPi (12285 points ) January 13th, 2013

A lot of times, people ask for a favorite phrase or quotation. Now, I will ask for the opposite. What are your least-liked quotations and phrases.

The first one that comes to my mind are “Shoot for the moon, because even if you miss you will land among the stars.” I dislike it because it displays an unrealistic notion that a person will always succeed. It is also said by people way too often.

The next one that comes to mind is “Better luck next year” because although it is supposed to mean that you will get another chance, it seems to point out the fact that failure is permanent. It is also said by way too many people, such that it is impossible for everyone to actually mean what they are saying, so it feels sarcastic.

So, what are your least-liked phrases? Why do you hate them so much? Are they victims of over-usage, or something else?

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50 Answers

gasman's avatar

Fashionable in recent years (starting in 1980s?): “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” I still agree with the opposite assertion: “If at first you don’t succeed, try again.” Techie version: “If at first you don’t succeed, that’s one data point…”

Pingu's avatar

Not so much an axiom but just something that I hear people append to their sentences over and over again, apparently unconsciously: “per say” and “you know.” I just hate the way people say “you know” all the time, you know?

livelaughlove21's avatar

Giving it 110%.
Think outside the box.
YOLO.
I could care less.
Same difference.
It is what it is.

Pingu's avatar

@livelaughlove21 “I could care less” always irked me. Shouldn’t the expression be “I couldn’t care less?” “I could care less” seems to imply that you care somewhat.

bookish1's avatar

-“I’m not religious, but I’m spiritual.” Shows disdain for all religion just because you happened to have had a bad experience with one of the monotheisms growing up.
-“I’m going to be honest…” So you’ve been lying to me the rest of the time?
-“Gender identity.” A special thing that only trans people have. Cis people just get to be their gender. I really hate this one.
-“People of color.” Well-intentioned, but lumps everyone together indiscriminately just the same as “non-white people” does. Not all nonwhites use this term, but somehow it’s OK for white leftists to use it for them.

@livelaughlove21: What does “YOLO” mean? I don’t think I’ve heard that one before.

fremen_warrior's avatar

“I know what you are thinking”, followed by “why are you doing this to me” and then “after all I have done for you” – and the many variants of this monologue. Followed by name calling if you try to defend yourself.

Egocentric bullsh*t. Makes my blood boil every time…

@bookish1 “you only live once”

Pingu's avatar

@bookish1 You Only Live Once, the favored catchphrase of teenagers and 20-somethings wishing to justify irresponsible or risky behavior

bookish1's avatar

@fremen_warrior & @Pingu: Gotcha, thanks. It sounds much nicer in French… On ne vit qu’une fois…

Pachy's avatar

* Awesome
* Whatever
* Like
* No problem
* At the end of the day
* My bad
* I stand corrected
* Second Amendment rights
* Anything cliff

bookish1's avatar

Oh, can we despise single words as well?

LITERALLY?

Pingu's avatar

@bookish1 I literally despise that word.

gondwanalon's avatar

I’m so tired of OMG and LOL.
And also I’m tired of people saying the word “amazing” so much. Why use astounding or fantastic or terrific for a change at least once in a while?

Pingu's avatar

Also, I hate the use of gay as a pejorative term, as in “that’s so gay.” I’d like to reclaim the word for its original meaning. For example, to say “I went to the park with my little brother today and played frisbee with him. It was really gay.”

DominicX's avatar

“Family values” – code for bigoted, homophobic beliefs. It’s sad that the word “family” has come to be a meaningless buzzword of the Christian Right.

Mariah's avatar

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” and “God won’t give you anything you can’t handle” – yeah because nobody has committed suicide ever.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@Pingu Exactly, on both YOLO and the other.

Pingu's avatar

@Mariah there seems to be so much pretentiousness in both those sayings.

Yeahright's avatar

@bookish1 In Spanish: Solo se vive una vez :)

filmfann's avatar

I am not sure it belongs here, but when people say “third world country”, I cringe. No one uses that term correctly anymore. They always use it to describe poverty.

Michael_Huntington's avatar

“I listen to everything!”
Oh really? Even field recordings? Post Avant-Jazzcore? These people probably couldn’t even handle ambient era-Burzum.

fundevogel's avatar

“Everything happens for a purpose.”

I fucking hate that phrase. What brain disease do you need to have to think bone cancer and child murder must always be preordained to lay the ground work for some greater good? I swear to God if someone comments on some future misfortune of mine and declares it’s got some mysterious purpose I’ll punch them in the nose.

fundevogel's avatar

@Michael_Huntington You’ve got me. I really only like black metal when it’s midtempo and melodic. No interest whatsoever in blastbeats.

Where do I turn in my eclectic tastes badge?

gailcalled's avatar

Most of the above.

I couldn’t agree more. What is that supposed to mean?

Michael_Huntington's avatar

@fundevogel lel, I was just trying to rustle some jimmies. I can totally understand where you’re coming from.

gasman's avatar

“Look…” Often heard by politicians & other talking heads as an attention-getting preface to remarks, as if to say “See how simple it is…” An old usage that became much more popular in this context less than a decade ago.

gailcalled's avatar

Did anyone mention actually, basically or where it’s at?

Yeahright's avatar

@gailcalled I find those two really useful, that’s probably why they are overused. What would you say instead though? Fundamentally or essentially? They sound awfully close to basically, and in essence sounds a bit too sophisticated.

gailcalled's avatar

^^^ I would skip them.

Many people use them as a way of jump-starting the actual thought or the basic idea.

I love your icon.

I’d like to add kind of and sort of as similar words.

wildpotato's avatar

“In my humble opinion” or its pretentious little brother, IMHO. It drives me crazy because it’s redundant. People, remember how your 8th grade English teacher told you to not write “I think” in essays?

DominicX's avatar

Sometimes I hear my roommates say things like “on the daily” or “on the real” instead of “daily” and “for real”. Just why? I can’t stand it…

glacial's avatar

@gasman Yes!! I hate how frequently I hear politicians or pundits say “Look…” lately! But I tend to interpret it as a stalling technique rather than a highlighter. I think it gives them an extra second or two to form that next sentence.

Sunny2's avatar

I’ve only recently noticed and it’s already annoying me. There seems to be a tendency to answer a question with “So, . . . . .” It seems to be answers that require an explanation and so far I’ve noticed it with scientists of various kinds and professorial types. To me it’s pretentious at worst and a substitute for, “uh’” at best. So, I wish the expression could be nipped in the bud, but I fear I’m going to have to be annoyed for years.

Sunny2's avatar

Oh, and I find the expression “over the hill” despicable as well. I won’t be “over the hill” until I’m “6 feet under”!

ucme's avatar

Sorry for your loss
Just sayin
Yeah like whatever
My bad
Could care less
Y’all have a nice day now y’hear.
Least said soonest mended.

thetas49's avatar

To be honest…...........................REALLY!

mattbrowne's avatar

We strive for operational excellence (which means we are committed to ruthless cost cutting).

bookish1's avatar

Speaking of individual words, I really hate how “diversity” is used in the U.S. It is pretty much a code word for the inclusion of people with brown skin, and ignores other kinds of diversity, including economic, geographic, religious, and political.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I hate it when people shorten husband to hubby. I see it mostly on Facebook but it always makes me cringe. If your status says something like “had a lovely day with hubby” or “I have the best hubby in the world” I will problem have an urge to hit you (right after I have thrown up!)

livelaughlove21's avatar

@Leanne1986 YES! I’m glad I’m not the only one.

DominicX's avatar

@Leanne1986 I almost never see that (most of my FB friends are unmarried), but I still hate it :)

bookish1's avatar

@Leanne1986: I’m not very fond of that one myself. It’s pretty damn cloying…

glacial's avatar

@Leanne1986 Yes. A thousand times yes.

mattbrowne's avatar

@bookish1 – In Germany “diversity” is usually associated with more women in management positions. But officially it’s about all kinds of factors including ethnic group, sexual orientation, age and so forth.

Paradox25's avatar

‘Fake it until you make it’.

OpryLeigh's avatar

Whoa! I wasn’t expecting so many people to agree with me!!! Thank you @bookish1 for teaching me a new word too (cloying)

wildpotato's avatar

“Don’t you ever get tired of being wrong?”

I’ve never heard it IRL but it crops up all the time in TV and movies, usually said by a spunky female supporting character to the somewhat insufferable male lead character. It’s terrible writing and an annoying trope.

gailcalled's avatar

From today’s NYT: “To basically eradicate assault weapons from our streets in New York as quickly as possible is something the people of this state want,” said Sheldon Silver, speaker of the NYS Assembly, on a new package of gun restrictions.

That basically means nothing. In order to find out what the restrictions are, you’d need a lot more detail. So you’d have to ask Silver to explain.

glacial's avatar

@gailcalled I agree that these words are used far too often, but they do serve a purpose. The word “basically” in that sentence lightens the impact of the word “eradicate”. It is a way of avoiding responsibility in writing or speaking. “Oh, I didn’t mean to literally eradicate assault weapons… I just meant to take a lot of them away.”

The reason I think people should use these words less frequently is not that they are meaningless, but that they subtract meaning from what is being said… or not being said, as in this case. If the writer of that sentence was not able to use a word like “basically”, then “eradicate” would be seen as the hyperbole that it is, and they would have to choose a more accurate word. That would be a very good thing.

Yeahright's avatar

@gailcalled I think that the word emphasizes the actual action of erradicating as opposed to continue debating the issue and that people just want it to be put into practice right away. If we had the previous sentence to that or more context it’d be helpful to see more clearly why that word is necessary there.

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