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Monday, December 3, 2012

H&N Shoutout: Great Wine And Horrible Words

In this 2009 photo, white wines priced under $10 are displayed at Thief Wine in Milwaukee. (Morry Gash/AP)

Are there words you’re sick of hearing, or just think they should be banned from the English language? Let us know what words drive you crazy and why in our comments section below, so we can put it to our Here & Now wordsmith in an upcoming story.

We are also looking to hear from you on wine! What are your questions about wine, or what are you drinking these days? Let us know and we’ll discuss it in an upcoming story.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • http://twitter.com/siraguso Frank C. Siraguso

    What words (and phrases) drive me crazy and why I want to deep-six them.
    1. Going forward
    This smarmy bit of corporate speak takes up room with useless syllables. What other direction would we go? Nobody says, “Going backward,” or “Going upward.”

    2. Artisan/artisanal
    Not everyone who makes something with his or her hands is an artisan. Do we think those poor schmucks making sammies at Starbucks, Arby’s and wherever see themselves as artisans or craftspeople? Do we see them that way? I’m doubting it!

  • Greg Rosine

    If I were in Judea 2,000 years ago and had a glass of wine, what would it taste like?  Was it like a Cabernet? A good Merlot?

  • John Brock

    Here’s a dilemma. The words that I would like to see banned I would not share in a public forum even to nominate them for the list. That is, perhaps, definitional of the words I would likt to see banned.

  • Timagain


  • Timagain

    We should generally discourage journalists and language laypeople from the inclination to use nouns as verbs. I refuse to even verify with the latest dictionaries, but I presume that “impact” has finally succumbed to being a verb. I won’t look because it would likely break my heart to find that another word has been enslaved inappropriately. Humbly I say: it should not be. While the language is a changeable thing, we as a culture should first seek to use words “legally” as they already exist. Ours (English) is a fantastic language, without anyone playing Merriam or Webster. James Thurber’s birthday is the eighth of the month, and I can hear the thud of him spinning like a top in his grave.

    As for a good wine to drink of my linguistic sorry: Montepulciano (categorically similar to Cabs for those less-familiar).

    A peaceful holiday to you all.

    • http://leviathan0999.myopenid.com/ Jonathan Andrew Sheen

      Do spinning tops — or, indeed, spinning deceased literary giants — thud?

      I always imagined more of a whirring sound…

  • Katie


  • http://www.facebook.com/skrinyaz Robert Skrinyaz


    especially as a proper name for wine. Especially Pinot Noir. It’s almost like calling a person “Mr.” and expecting another to know whom you are talking about.

    There is something so undescribably nasal, pretentious, cloying, and self-satisfied whenever someone orders a PIIIIIII-NOT: reading over old wine books, people often referred to chardonnay as pinot chardonnay. Add to that Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, and you have a description as useful as double-d’s on a mallard. Pinot: it’s not just for Noir.

    • Chris

      Funny you should mention that. I just did that for the first time ever last week and the waiter looked at me astounded and asked me Pinot what sir ?

  • http://www.facebook.com/jgrantscott Grant Scott

    i would like to get rid of the incorrect usage of ‘literally’  literally means literal, actual… not figuratively; the opposite.  unfortunately the god awful Merriam Webster now has it listed as meaning literally, and meaning the exact opposite.  the idea that someone literally laughed their head off is funny, but i’m sure that’s not what people mean when they say that.

    • http://leviathan0999.myopenid.com/ Jonathan Andrew Sheen

      So you would literally ban literally? Wait, I’ve got that wrong somehow…

      • http://www.facebook.com/jgrantscott Grant Scott

         literally, just the incorrect usage.

  • Hannah

    Utilize. Why use three syllables when one (use) will do?

    • Mark Micheli

      I agree. This one drives me crazy. I think people say “utilize” instead of “use” because they’re trying to act smarter than they are.

  • Kevin Anderson

    Epic. My god. Why is everything so epic all of a sudden? Your sandwich was epic? Did it battle Grendel in the rings of hell on its way home from the Trojan War? No? Then perhaps another adjective might be more fitting for your ham and cheese on wheat.

    • Chris

      Wicked good

    • DR

      “Awesome” answer… 

  • JoyceM

    I would love to do away with “discerning” as in “discerning customers” or “discerning buyers.”

  • Deborah Bier

    I’d rather ban the banning of words.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mserreze Mary Serreze


  • Kim

    I work at a wine distributor, and couldn’t really understand the fairly rise in the sales of Sancerre –  until someone mentioned that it’s the drink of choice in Fifty Shades of Gray. Sigh. Sideways all over again.

  • Valerie

    – Wicked, as in “a wicked good wine.”  
    – Iconic.  
    – At the end of the day.  (OK, it’s an expression, not a word, but it should be banned nonetheless).

  • Pete

    Dungarees, trousers, slacks, and tennis shoes. These are clothing words that your grandparents should take to their graves.

    • Debby Flores

      How about Knickers?!?

  • Chris

    ” Off – line ” as in let’s take this conversation off line. Very irritating to hear this five times a day .

    The other one is irregardless. Yes I know it’s not a word, but people use it “irregardless ” . Heavy fines should be imposed by the language !

  • Chris

    That would be language Police!

  • Jvgearan

    I overuse actually and authentic, actually but it is authentic.

  • Jvgearan

    I overuse actually and authentic, but it is usually authentic, actually.

  • Chris

    Über. Why does everything have to be Über these days?

    And while we are at this, people should stop starting sentences with So. So yesterday Cathy and I went to the movies. So. How was the movie? So what grammar school teacher taught you how to speak like that ?

  • Alibiuser


  • http://twitter.com/Vinformative Vinformative

    As a wine professional, I get to taste thousands of wines per year and travel throughout the wine-growing world. Recently though, I returned from my first trip to South Africa, where I was honestly stunned by the quality and variety of what is being produced there. As is the case in other countries, many of South Africa’s best wines are made by boutique wineries and in minute quantities (some are not even exported), but the quality to price ratio for almost everything I tasted there was head and shoulders above like-priced wines from South America and New Zealand/Australia, and certainly when compared to wines from France, Italy, or the US, where prices have risen steadily over the past ten years.

    Moreover, the winemakers I met with in South Africa had an almost infectious excitement and an eagerness to learn and share with one another that reminded me of producers in Oregon ten or twenty years ago, and in California, in the late 1960s.

    What makes South Africa even more interesting, though, is that they’ve actually been producing wine for +350 years; yet, because of apartheid, the modern wine industry there is still very much in its infancy.

    While there are some incredible South African wines to be had now, for sure, there is still extraordinary potential yet untapped, so I expect that the hit parade will go on for some time. And with the dollar far outpacing the rand, great values abound.

    Feel free to hit me up on twitter if you would like more specific recommendations re: wineries/wines: @vinformative:twitter


    Mark Goldberger

  • DR

    Awesome. Everything is “awesome” these days but I doubt that much actually inspires awe.

  • http://MVMediaWebSolutions.com/ Mary-Ellen McAllister

    How about irregardless!  Regardless of how irregardless is used it is still regardless!  Or suposebly? A shiver runs down my spine when I hear either…

  • Debby Flores

    Why do people say “absolutely” when they mean “yes”? If I heard it once, I heard it 100 times when I was visiting family in California for the Thanksgiving holiday.

  • Stl602

    Awesome, definitely.

  • peggym5

    “decimate” (reduce by 10%) when the implication is “devastate,” as in …the village was decimated by the bombing; nearly every house was destroyed…???

  • lettersandsodas

    “what not” and “per se”

  • Anna Kate

    Peeps, as in “my peeps” to refer to people.

  • Sandy

    I would like to ban the pompous “going forward”.    What’s wrong with saying “future” or “in the future”?     Also “absolutely!” is completely overused for a simple “yes” much of the time, especially on Science Friday.  Finally, “reach out” for “talk to” or “get in touch with” is absurdly touchy-feely and makes every verbal transaction sound like a crisis.

  • Jesse

    Ger rid of the word “should”! Ha ha ha.

  • Shawver83

    I hate the term ‘brain fart’ and always have. It makes no damn sense. And I hate when someone uses the term ‘my bad.’ I despise when people use acronyms as words, such as “I LOL’d!” or ” I ROTFLO’d!” and refer to someone as their ‘biffle’ (as in BFF). Another thing I despise is people using terms like ‘cray’ for crazy or ‘totes’ for totally. When I hear a sentence like, “I had a brain fart and LOL’d with my biffle yesterday, it was totes cray!” I feel homicidal rage creeping in.

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