Makin’ Me Cray-Cray: Words to FINALLY Retire in 2016

Out with the old, especially when they’re annoying as all hell. Here are my choices for words and expressions that need to disappear with the last of 2015:

13. “…and then she does THIS,” or “until she did THIS” or “but I never thought she’d do THIS,” or whatever THIS

We’ve all seen these headlines. We’re all just plodding through this tedious world where nothing can move or surprise us anymore, and then THIS came along and lifted our hearts away from suicide and restored our faith in humanity and showed us that yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. It was a hook of a headline, about 3 times. It’s played out, and is almost never justified anyway. I won’t even click on something with this kind of headline anymore.

12. “I just threw up in my mouth a little.”

Gee, thanks. Now I did, too.

It was always gross. Now it’s overused and gross.

11. As annoying and pervasive as the idiotic “hack,” please, please, for the love of all things holy, stop calling everything “passive-aggressive.” This has become the trendy term for anything and everything, particularly if it involves leaving a note for someone who is being an asshole. The vast majority of the “hilarious passive-aggressive” notes people leave on the office fridge or other people’s windshields are in fact rather assertive, along with being sarcastic and/or retaliatory. “Hey, jerkoff co-worker who keeps stealing my lunch, you should know that yesterday I spit in it just for you” is pretty active-aggressive.

It makes no difference whether the writer of the note is identifiable or it is unsigned. “Anonymous” and “passive” are not synonyms.


“Passive-aggressive” means to hurt another through inaction. If I let you leave the ladies’ room without telling you the back of your skirt is stuck in the waistband of your underwear, that is passive-aggressive. Letting my despised boss turn in an important report without telling her about the potentially embarrassing error is passive-aggressive. A bit less blatant, but still passive-aggressive, are the tactics of consistently frustrating things by chronic lateness or absence, “forgetting” to do things, doing a substandard job, sulking, or retreating instead of actively participating. Consistently. Forgetting something once isn’t passive-aggressive; it’s just forgetting.

10. “That’s so gay.”

Are you homophobic? Or simply too lazy to find a word that doesn’t insult a good portion of the population? Come up with something else.

“That’s so straight.”

Hmm, maybe.

9. “Epic” and “Awesome.”

No, usually not. As with “THIS,” I don’t even click on headlines with these words anymore. “Awesome” means “to inspire awe,” like a spectacular singing performance or the view from the ISS. “Epic” correctly refers to feats of heroic proportions or difficulty, or a long struggle, or both, such as Homer’s Odyssey or the centuries-old fight for women’s rights. Your lunch is not “awesome.” A snappy comeback to a fat-shamer, no matter how well-deserved, is not “epic.”

I have become more aware of my own hyperbolic usage of “awesome” and am making a conscious desire to cut it out. I’m so awesome.

8. “This. So much this.”


Stop. Just, so much stop. I can’t even.

7. “I can’t even.”

Sure, you can! Find your words.


6. “I really wanted to like this.”

I’m not sure why it was so important to someone’s sense of personal fulfillment to find a movie or book or restaurant or whatever to be pleasing. Chance after chance after chance, but it still failed to live up to expectations, or hype, worse than wanting to like a new romantic interest who, it turns out, won’t stop texting during an expensive dinner. A desire for conformity, maybe? I find it easier to conclude that I have more discerning taste than the philistines who surround me.

5. Bae, cray-cray, nom-noms, totes adorbs, and so forth. Actually, I can accept these from teenagers, since I’m assuming they’ll grow out of it and I remember being young and uttering idiotic things too (“Neat-o!”). If you are an adult and you use these expressions, I am laughing at you.

4. “My bad.” Your bad what? OK, yes, I get it, you’re acknowledging a mistake.  I guess it’s okay if it’s a minor mistake, but absolutely not if it’s used in place of an apology.  That’s lazy and unacceptable. If the misstep is serious enough to warrant an apology, then apologize. Properly.

3. “Huh?”

When I hear this I feel like I’m trying to converse with a cow. Again, use your words. “Excuse me?” “I’m sorry; I didn’t catch that,” or even a mannerless “What?” are better than the boorish “Huuuuaaaaah?”

2. Random.


Used these days to mean cool, unexpected, unique, as in “look how irrelevantly awesome I am! “ No. “Random” means without design, purpose, or discernible pattern, not cray-cray. (It’s also the name of one of my favorite Roger Zelazny characters in some of the best fantasy fiction of all time, but I’m not sure I expect anyone misusing the word to know that.)


1. Still in the number one place is calling everything a “hack,” although I’ve noticed it has dropped off since I griped about it some time back. I’m going to go ahead and take credit for that.

The crusade continues.

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Author: Deborah Lee

I like trees, dreaming, magic, books, paper, floating, dreaming, rhinos, rocks, stargazing, wine, dragonflies, trains, and silence to hear the world breathe.

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