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Guess which word is currently the most hated in the English language

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Amy Swales
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It’s a word to inspire tears of joy in amateur bakers when uttered by Paul Hollywood, but out in the real world (the one without massive tents, beautiful shiny kitchenware and jokes about Mary Berry’s booze habit), we’re just not having it.

The word is “moist” and it appears to be the most hated word in the English language, according to early results from a worldwide survey.

Oxford Dictionaries has launched research into language preferences across the globe via an interactive online map, beginning by finding out which English words are the least popular.

With more than 10,000 submissions at time of writing, the #OneWordMap reveals the UK is not fond of the words “moist” and “no”. “Like” comes in third, no doubt more disliked for the way people use it as verbal punctuation than for its actual meaning, while unsurprisingly, “Brexit” makes an appearance too.

most hated words english language

The interactive map reveals the most-hated words in the English language by country

“Nice” is also in the top five, presumably thanks to it being so inoffensive and nondescript that it’s tipped over into offensively boring.

“Moist”, “no” and “hate” seem to be universally unpopular, with “moist” also currently topping the list in Canada, Australia and the US. In India, “love” is emerging as the most disliked English word, while a few countries other than the UK don’t seem to like “hello”. In the Netherlands, the surprisingly contradictory “war” and “love” vie for attention.

The map allows people to submit their own despised words to contribute toward research that will later be split by country, age and gender to reveal more about our dislike of certain words. Many are sharing their choices on Twitter, while a quick office poll reveals “gusset”, “panties”, “crevice”, “flaccid” and “titillate” as stylist.co.uk pet hates, alongside “squelch”, “phlegm”, “smear”, “mucus” and “discharge”. Lovely.

So if you’ve got some linguistic bugbears, the kind that make you feel nauseous just to think about them, head to blog.oxforddictionaries.com (and really, don’t worry about writing them in the comments here. Really).

Images: iStock / oxforddictionaries.com

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Amy Swales

Amy Swales is a freelance writer who likes to eat, drink and talk about her dog. She will continue to plunder her own life and the lives of her loved ones for material in the name of comedy, catharsis and getting pictures of her dog on the internet.

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