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Bad English language words

The most hated words in the English language

While us British are usually a relaxed and friendly people, there is something that will upset even the most placid Brit: bad words in English. There are certain words that we shudder at whenever we hear them.

Is it possible to hate a word? Of course it is. We use words all the time - we read them, hear them and speak them and sometimes a word is used so often or so inappropriately that whenever we hear it, we silently curse the person who used it (even if it was us). Here are a few words that we absolutely love to hate:


We hate this because it is literally never used literally - as in people never use it correctly. Literally means to say something exactly yet people now use it as a substitute for basically or as a way to add emphasis.

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Reach out

If a lawyer writes to you to say that he wants to 'reach out', change your lawyer. 'Reach out' is a phrasal verb that we are guessing originated in the United States and which means to contact. Contact is the appropriate verb so use that.


While this word has allegedly been around since the 1950s, it seems to have become popular over the last few years. It is meant to mean that somebody is healthy in body and mind so you would think it would be a word that is impossible for anybody to hate, right? Wrong. There is already a more suitable word available in our lexicon: well-being. This covers everything related to wellness along with a lack of stress and being happy in everything you do.


This is a word that I have an odd affection for but this love is not shared by many of my fellow Brits - or Australians and Americans for that matter. It is regularly picked to be the most hated word in the English language. It means slightly wet.


We don't hear this word too often right now but it is always threatening to return. It is what's known as a portmanteau - a word that blends two sounds and two meanings into one. In the case of chillax, we are combining chill out and relax to create a word that primarily means relax. Other examples of portmanteaus include brexit, brunch and podcast.

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