Attention Wordists

Reading the little profiles of  people on tumblr, I noticed that a few people described themselves as eccentric. Like, ‘eccentric 19 year old art student loves cats, drawing, photography cupcakes and  random  cartoons.’

My feeling is, you don’t describe yourself as eccentric. That’s a conclusion made about you by someone else. It  just  seems unseemly. Like calling yourself ‘classy,’ it’s kind of a self-negating word.

Naturally my husband failed to see the problem. I explained that actual eccentrics would not describe themselves as such. They tend to take no notice of how odd they are, but rather to find others baffling. The most eccentric people I’ve ever known would never describe themselves that way.

Therefore, almost by definition, these self-described eccentrics are just being pretentious. My husband then asked me what other words I would categorize as unseemly. I came up with “complex” and “complicated’ as well as ‘lanky.” I don’t know where the  lanky came from, but it’s certainly not a word to use about  oneself unless you want to be sickening.

It was frustrating to try to make my point when to another wordist, I’m sure it’s all a given. It’s pretentious to use certain words about yourself, even if those words are fairly accurate.  Maybe you’re quirky, but don’t bill yourself as quirky. It’s an evaluation for others to make.

I was excited about getting into this conversation  with someone as sensitive and prohibitive about words and word-usage as I am. I though of calling Cousin Russell, who’s always up for a word discussion. But what I really wanted was Max, because he would know exactly what I meant and he would be eager to throw in some other words that he found unacceptable in the same way.

I need someone to be Max. When it hit me, I started to cry, even though we were on our first weekend vacation in a year and a half.  Maybe my other nephew can help. I need someone who cringes when they hear a room or building called a ‘space.’

Anyone care to help out? Agree or disagree, as long as you have strong opinions about words.

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117 Responses to “Attention Wordists”

  1. Mette Says:

    I agree, you really shouldn’t call yourself an eccentric.

    I always cringe when people describe themselves as being “a little bit crazy”. They always end up being boring as hell, or incredibly annoying.

    Same goes for “intense”, “passionate” (unless you’re passionate about something).

  2. skye Says:

    Totally agree. I recently read someone describing herself as “selfless”, which is also definitely not a word anyone should ever use to describe themselves.

  3. Ro Says:

    Referring to oneself as an “old soul” in order to convey a maturity and wisdom beyond your years. Lovely as an observation when made by others, utterly pretentious as a self declaration. Hate it!

  4. sam Says:

    I am sooo with you on the use of the word ‘space’ and I agree with you about describing oneself as ‘eccentric’ – ya just can’t.

  5. Sister Wolf Says:

    Ro – Hahahahahaha, I forgot about ‘old soul.’ That has to be the worst, right?

  6. Elaine Says:

    I can’t think of a good example right now but words used pretentiously irritate me. I hate home decorating and renovating shows that abuse ‘modern’ and ‘contemporary’ because they think they need to explain the room’s style. I can’t stop watching them.

    My thoughts are with you on missing Max. It’s hard to find someone who understands how you brain works without explanation

  7. annemarie Says:

    I agree. I also think it’s stupidly presumptuous when people describe themselves as intelligent.
    Another offender is “smart and sassy.”

  8. Victoria Says:

    Anyone who says vista….whats wrong with view….

  9. Iron Chic Says:

    Maybe this doesn’t qualify, but I hate when people (especially celebrities) say
    “I’m only human, so….”
    As if we thought they were beyond being human and they had to clarify.

  10. Ro Says:

    ooh ooh also “perceptive” or “instinctive” used as personality traits, yet failing to notice me throw up a little in my mouth when describing your process as “organic”.

  11. Dru Says:

    It’s funny that this particular descriptor (is that even a word?) is so prevalent on tumblr, because on livejournal- where I met true crazies who actually were regarded by most of the internet as a bit wonky in the head- almost no one does that.

    A lot of it is down to the differences between the two platforms- livejournal allows you privacy to the point where you can lock your journal or entries so that no strangers can see them, while tumblr operates like Facebook, in the sense that it’s all about showing off your great taste/pretty pictures to as many people as possible.

  12. Ann Says:

    Gasp! Old soul IS the worst. Or calling oneself a “humanitarian.” That’s not meant to be self-proclaimed.

  13. tartantreacly Says:


  14. Jessie K Says:

    Another phrase (or variation of) that drives me wild, “I’m SO psychotic/crazy/insane, I’m an absolute lunatic, you should have seen this wacky thing I did last night.” Translation: you’re as conventional and dull as a slice of Wonder Bread sprayed with Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, the spritzer version.

  15. dana Says:

    Oooh. Yes, yes, you are exactly right. All of you. More offenders: slender, discriminating, egalitarian, open-minded. And the list of 564 things you accomplished this week. Well, bully for you.

  16. Aly Says:

    I’m tired of celebrities saying they are “over the moon” about something, often the birth of a child.

  17. Caro Says:

    I love the word eccentric, I secretly hope I AM eccentric, but no, not a word you can apply to yourself.

    In the everyday world eccentric seems to have turned into another form of ‘partier.’ Girls with acrylic nails, excessive waxing seem to think their drunken bad behavior is eccentric rather than just good old-fashioned slutty. I saw one such lass refer to herself as eccentric on a day-time talk show recently. Eccentric is Isabella Blow, not Kim Kardashian. Come on.

    The world that makes my skin crawl now is ‘resistance.’ My spiritual friends use it to convey that I am ‘resisting’ the spiritual truth (ie, what they think I should be doing with myself), when in fact what I’m really doing is saying ‘fuck off and stop telling me how to live my life.’

  18. Caro Says:

    @Ann. Old Soul! When I lived on Miami Beach in the early ’90s all the dumb-as-dirt models seemed to have decided they were ‘old souls.’ That made my skin crawl too.

  19. Edie Says:

    when people self diagnose themselves as O.C.D like it’s a goddamn badge of honour! really annoys me. (love your blog by the way )

  20. Edie Says:

    when people self diagnose themselves as O.C.D like it’s a goddamn badge of honour! really annoys me.

  21. Dru Says:

    The only word in descriptions that is worse than “eccentric” (because at least that word is valid for others to describe someone) is “edgy”.

    It should be banned forever, mainly because it makes anyone who uses it in any way, whether it’s about themselves or someone else, sound like a wannabe fool who knows fuck-all about anything.

  22. Stacy Says:

    I’m with ya Sister Wolf. If I’m worthy, I look forward to being called eccentric in my old age. It’s a noun I associate with older women who’ve had many lovers, collect art, and still wear the layers of jewelry they’ve collected in their travels around the world. In my opinion a 19 year old couldn’t have possibly achieved ‘eccentricism’ yet.

    On a somewhat similar note – I came across a magazine at Whole Foods yesterday called ‘Allergic Living’. I mention the name of the grocer as I find it helps to visualize the target market…

  23. CR Says:

    I agree that “old soul” is bad . . . not as bad as calling yourself a “free spirit”, though. “Young at heart” or “inner child” (when used to describe oneself) make me cringe too.

    I, personally, hate the words “horrid” and “passion”.

  24. Caro Says:

    Whole Foods / “Allergic Living”

    My favorite grocery store mindset is the one you find At Trader Js’ or WF. That “Namaste, now get the fuck out of my way” face…

    Endemic on the West Coast, and all places where one’s enlightened self does constant battle with the inner selfish turd that lives in all our hearts.

  25. EJ Says:

    Every teenager ever describes themselves as ‘random’ (including teenage me). I hate them all (including teenage me).

  26. Audi Says:

    I couldn’t agree more SW; people who are truly eccentric have no notion that they’re so. The 80-year-old lady down the block who wears purple track suits with pom-pom trimmed hats and walks her cats in a stroller? Definitely eccentric. I find it often takes people more than a few decades of living to cultivate true eccentricity.

    I’d say calling yourself ‘cool’ or ‘sophisticated’ is also in extremely poor taste.

  27. Alicia Says:

    You would LOVE having this conversation with dudeguy.

  28. Kay Says:

    I’ve seen a couple self-described “aesthetes” on tumblr. Really? Come on. “Curators” of anything but the Smithsonian can go fuck themselves, too. Also: self-proclaimed revolutionaries, gurus, and anyone who goes on about branding where no livestock is concerned. Quirky. Radical. Refined. Nerd. Firecracker.

    I don’t know what I hate more on tumblr: pretentious fucks like these or the idiot teen girls reblogging pastel shorts and disney tattoos and adoring comments from anonymous fans. Sounds so specific, but, surprise! There are zillions of them.

  29. kt Says:

    I was (and still am) at constant war with my ex who claims I am far too sensitive when it comes to word choice and usage. We also argue semantics what seems like very time we speak. I feel very similarly regarding your disdain for certain self identifiers. I feel my blood rise when I hear people describe themselves as ‘secure’ and ‘self-aware’ when, as you so aptly described, it’s those who actually express this aloud are those full of pretension and sometimes delusion. But, I’ve also struggled with this concept of describing one self throughout the years. How do you talk about yourself without seeming like you’re a total self engrossed douche, and conversely, without being self deprecating (which can be equally annoying)?

  30. sheri Says:

    “Very unique” anything.
    On both the whydon’tyouletusbethejudgeofthat and the youcan’tmodifysomethingthatmeansoneofakindwithvery levels.

  31. Make Do Style Says:

    You are so right!

    Remember when you spotted the dreadful ‘curate/curating’ trend – you are ahead of the ‘curve’ here. I hate the use of that word ‘curve’ – please add to list. xx

  32. Caroline Says:

    “Sensitive” – when someone describes themselves as this, it means they’re about as sensitive as a battering ram and narcissistic to boot.

  33. Jessie K Says:

    I thought of another one: “I’m a really nice guy.” If a man feels compelled to articulate this, it means he is a tool. Run.

  34. maki b podell Says:

    that feeling of wanting to talk to someone who is no longer here because they are the only ones who will understand/be amused/appreciate/agree/disagree and totally get it-its crushing

  35. Sonia Says:

    I cringe when I hear someone call acting a “craft.” Scrap-booking, yes. Acting, no.

  36. Aly Says:

    Completely agree, it is egotistical to call oneself “eccentric.” Egotistical in that you are really revealing how into your own image you are. Other egotistical self-descriptives would be: gorgeous, good listener, great sense of humor, sensitive (agree with other commentors), hmmmmm I will try and think of more.

  37. ali Says:

    I think in a small community once you are labeled “eccentric” or “crazy” you can only escape the caricature if you acknowledge it and try to move beyond it– perhaps mock the caricature that people have constructed of you.

    the word quirky is absolutely annoying because its supposed to be endearing. basically means “cool.” the socially acceptable amount of odd.

    i don’t even really know what eccentric means anymore except that I am sick of it.

    as for “space,” one of my close friends (actually named max,) used to use it seriously all the time (he is a studio and performance art major.) Once, he looked at an old (vintage?) telephone on the wall and commented that putting a frame around the telephone would improve the SPACE of the wall. i laughed for about thirty minutes and immediately fell in love with him. So now I love “space” because I love max.

    anyway, I know I annoy you and this blog post might possibly refer to a recent post of mine, but I don’t really care. I still love your blog and care about you even if you think I am an idiot.

  38. Andra Says:

    Icon/iconic used for anything except a small Russian religious painting.

    People who insist on telling you they are honest … they aren’t if they have to tell you.

  39. Liz!! Says:

    People always question why I’m so self-deprecating in my descriptions (“loves books but not very street smart”) and I respond, “What else should I say?”

    I think that anyone who self-identifies, out loud, as humble, interesting, revolutionary, complex, etc. are most likely the complete opposite of the descriptions.

    However, I also can’t stand false modesty (especially when the 23942 pictures of themselves and 213 GIFs indicate otherwise), so I don’t blame anyone for hating me when they read my description of myself :)

  40. Deanne. Says:

    I love this post because I totally feel this way about some words. I hate it when people describe themselves/their styles as “sophisticated.” I’m a twentysomething girl and I feel like that word is a word to be used exclusively for older, mature women with an assured sense of self, not some social climbing bimbo who thinks express is “classy.” I think I only use the word comfortably describing my mother.

  41. firefly Says:

    I think other people think I’m crazy, judging from their reactions. However, I wouldn’t describe myself as “eccentric”, as that term reminds me of some truly strange people, such as Picasso and Dali. Anyone who makes a movie out of their dreams with an eye-carving scene is eccentric, I believe.

    My word peeves: “hipster”. This one is old by pop culture years, but it annoys the heck out of me. People that exist to be “cooler than you” always have that attitude as if you could never insult them. “Rape” is another one, when it is used out of context, because it is so god damn rude and trivializing to the actual act of rape.

    On another note, I live in America but I say “bloody” all the time, simply because I watch a lot of British TV shows and because of the different connotations. I hate it when people complain about it! Sure, I may not have the “right” to say it because I’m not British or whatnot, but I don’t say it just to be “cool” or “edgy”.

  42. Tanya Says:

    I get annoyed when people say things like “I’m a wine snob” like it’s a good thing. Fuck off. Just say that you like or enjoy the wine without trying to assure all of your discerning taste.

  43. Laila Says:

    BOOKWORM! Anyone who’s well-read should be more creative when describing their love for books.

    Come to think of it, hearing someone insist they’re “well-read” causes me to cringe, too.

  44. Laila Says:

    One more. Thanks, firefly, for reminding me. I don’t liked “edgy” whether it’s self-described or not. When I moved from Dallas to the small town I reside in now, someone told me the move was good for me because it gave me some “edge”. Well, thanks, but somehow in the process of being uprooted from the only home I had ever known, I forgot to give a fuck about being edgy.

  45. Daniel Eaton Says:

    The word ‘Treat’ makes me wanna vomit, but that’s just me.

  46. Jaimi Says:

    I’ve tried to incorporate ‘bloody’ into my vocabulary a bit, I guess as an alternative to ‘fucking’ or ‘shitty’. Slightly more appropriate in the workplace.

    Anyway, yeah, this gets me, too!
    That and places which aggressively describe themselves as ‘sustainable’. Shove it, you profiteering creeps.

  47. Beannie71 Says:

    ‘man child’

    What I dislike about the self profession of terms like eccentric, man child, crazy, insane etc is they are seeking a free pass for bad behaviour on the part of the self-proclaimed. For example, I am a man child and therefore can’t understand complex or subtle emotions and don’t judge me when I hurt you as a result.

    Also I have been reading for a long time of the loss of your son, SW and wanted you to know I have been a coward about commenting because even though I wish it my words could not possibly give you any solace. I am however very sorry for your loss and hope you will find comfort.

  48. lulu Says:

    Don’t get me started…I loathe it when people describe themselves as ‘quirky’ and ‘kooky’ and worst of all, ‘eclectic.’

  49. Sister Wolf Says:

    Beannie71 – “man child”?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? I would kill anyone who calls himself that with my bare hands.

  50. Rach Says:

    On slightly tangential note, I cannot stand anyone — ANYONE who uses that damn Marilyn Monroe quote on their facebook profile or similar. You know the one. “I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.”
    Translation: I’m a fucking drama queen and I love it that way. Shudder.

    I agree with almost every self-proclaimed word (wacky is another one) aside from lanky. Lanky is a physical description- you either are tall and skinny, or you’re not. It’s like someone describing themselves as blonde or green-eyed.

  51. Cricket9 Says:

    A wonderful discussion, SW!
    I may be a bit off-topic, but I wonder which school of journalism the author of this gem (from Elle-Decor) came from:
    “Great dinner parties are like great opera performances,” says the effervescent Manhattanite, a sparkling presence in fundraising circles and on the front row of fashion shows”.
    Could it possibly be more pretentious? How “sparkling” and “effervescent” this woman is? Does she blow bubbles out of her nose, or are we talking about a glass of Alka-Seltzer?
    Fashion and shelter magazines are full of this kind of crap, and I just want to kick the authors in the balls.

  52. Brunehilda Says:

    maybe we just don’t describe ourselves

    I get what you mean about needing someone ~on your wavelength~

  53. Ann Says:

    @Rach: SPOT ON with that fucking Marilyn Monroe quote.

  54. anA Says:

    It really bothers me when people refer to themselves as “nerds” or “geeks”. When you say ” oh my gosh, I a such a nerd” what you are really saying is “I think I am really, really smart.” That bothers the shit out of me.

  55. Faux Fuchsia Says:

    I hate it when people claim that their style choices or lifestyle choices “Challenge the Paradigm”.


  56. Grace Forde Says:

    Oh my Lord, you guys ARE mad, and just a little bit scary.. there is serious stuff going on out there, surely a little misused ‘wordage’ (eeeeek!!) can’t be that drastic.. On saying that, I really hate it when people say ‘keep it real’ what the f…!! and ‘too easy’ it never is.

  57. Tallulah Eulallie Says:

    Ooooh, the word pop, as in a pop of color. That one really bothers me. Or using the word home when what you mean is house. Or the word utilize when you should just say use. My supervisor does that, and we all laugh at his pretentious ass. I agree that descriptives like classy and eccentric should never be used to describe onesself; it just smacks of Trying Too Hard. Whenever my mother and sister tell me I’m crazy, I tell them in my best faux-southern accent, “No, no. I am charmingly eccentric; YOU motherfuckers are crazy.” Then we all cackle like the lunatics we are.

  58. Tallulah Eulallie Says:

    Oh, how could have I forgotten this one? The term Good Christian. Ugh! Whenever someone makes it a point to tell me that he or she is a Good Christian, I cross my legs and hang onto my wallet, because one way or another, I’m about to get fucked.

  59. Cricket9 Says:

    Tallulah, I did not hear (yet) this one – I would probably run away screaming form a self-described “good Christian”. By the way, isn’t that Pride, one of the 7 Mortal Sins? A little Modesty (one of the 7 Cardinal Virtues, I think) please, Good Christians!
    By the way, I deflected a Jehova Witness trying to discuss the Bible today at a bus stop, by saying “no thanks, I’m a Buddhist”. This somehow works on them and she left me alone.

  60. Aja Says:

    I had a really obnoxious roommate in London. My exboyfriend and I took great pride in rolling our eyes when she came around. Seriously, she was the type of person who set up internet in the house but only wired it to her room so she could be the only person to use it. Yeah, you hate her too now.

    One day Will comes up to my room laughing hysterically.
    “What’s so funny”, I demanded to know.
    “I just got Obnoxious Roommate to refer to herself as ‘zainy’. First, who uses that word and second who would go so far to refer to themselves as zainy?”


  61. Brie Says:

    I despise people who call themselves “random”. It has given me a dislike for the word.

    When someone calls themselves “random” I always want to say “You mean your annoying and cannot follow a conversation?”

    I have so much dsilike for that word.

  62. Erika Says:

    I love this. At least several times a day I find myself incensed by someone’s word usage.

    Ever since you pointed out the use of “pop” in relation to fashion, I cringe every time I hear it. My boss seems to be enamored with using it for the new jewelry collection ad I keep wanting to tell her not to use that anymore.

    I agree with the usage of nerd, like I’m such a nerd really meaning ” I am adorably awkward” uggghhhh….

  63. Alison Says:

    I hate it when people use the word “frock” to refer to a casual dress. A lot of times its because they’ve already used the word “dress” a whole bunch of times. I feel like, if you get to the point that you feel like you’ve overused the word “dress,” it’s time to talk about something else. Sometimes they get past “frock” and and they have to resort to “little number,” as in “sexy little number.” I am pretty sure this is supposed to be cute.

    Another thing people say that is supposed to be cute is “hubby” instead of “husband.” As in “Khloe, pictured here with her hubby, shows off her baby bump in a frock by ____” BABY BUMP. Ugh, don’t even get me started.

  64. Dru Says:

    I’m rather surprised no one has listed the term “free spirit” here yet. It’s really just a fancy term for “I can do whatever the fuck I want, unlike you suckers who actually have to work/make money/study, and I’m superior to you because I do none of the above!”

    Or maybe I’m the only one who loathes those two words with the fury of a thousand suns.

  65. Gee Says:

    “Introspective” – when others use it, it’s a thoughtful and subtle comment on the rich inner life of the individual they describe.

    When a person uses it for themselves, I can’t help but think they choose that phrase because the pompous little shite thinks he or she is waaaaaaaaaaaaay deeper than you in a way you couldn’t possibly understand because you dont care as much about stuff.

    Surely there’s a word for this kind of inappropriate self-praise via description? Auto-accolade? Auto-endorsement?

    SW, like Beannie above I am a long-time reader but never quite have had the courage to comment. I have no explanation but wish to send my thoughts and admiration for your dignity and poise during this time. I also admire the sequinned trousers. Screw the haters.

  66. Andra Says:

    Thank somebody I live in a small city in the north of nowhere.
    I have never ever heard 90% of these words mis-used as suggested.
    I don’t think I could survive in the modern world full of “hipsters” and “young persons”.
    I think I would be locked up within a week for a mass killing or two.
    Beulah, Beulah, where the fuck is my gun??

  67. Dexter VanDango Says:

    Speaking of self-diagnosis.. Is it only women who say things like..

    “My problem is I’m too tolerant.. too giving.. too forgiving..”

    The worst male bastard would never think of inflating his ego by pretending to damn himself..

    “My problem is I don’t hurt enough people.. I’m too merciful..”

  68. EJ Says:

    I think the lesson we should all learn here is that we should never EVER describe ourselves. Remain a mystery. Just don’t call yourself mysterious.

  69. Dru Says:

    ^ I second that motion.

  70. Cat Says:

    Hi, Sister Wolf.

    I completely agree with you, that one just cannot label themselves with some words but the actual reason I’m writing is not to agree with you. I hope I will never understand what it is like to lose a son, all I want to say is that I hope you are careful with comparing Max in situations. I do of course not know, if you only do it sometimes but I have lost a brother myself and almost everytime my family would do something together my mother would sit in the corner, detached and compare how things would be much better with my brother there. It not only made me feel like hell and belittled, it surely made my mother feel bad, too. I suspect she still blames herself. I only wanted to comment, not to say not to miss Max (he sounds like he was a wonderful person) and also not to say that you shouldn’t mention him in situations, I just wanted to let you know, that if you of course have enough energy to do it, you should let the people around you know, that you still love them and not only Max. I know it’s hard but I also know, that it would have saved me a lot of grief and selfdoubt, if my mother had the strength to do this. I hope you are not insulted and of course, if you feel like I am totally wrong please do ignore it. I just wanted to let you know, that while you have had a major loss in your life, a loss which probably cannot even be described, you still have something and somebody left and they most likely need to hear, that you need them.
    I wish you all the best.

  71. Cricket9 Says:

    Agreed with EJ. I do hate “young bright things” – beloved by the British press; they are usually not that bright, but come from big $$$, or Mom is a Duchess or some such. I also had a now ex-friend who was fond of saying “I’m like a child – I can’t tell a lie” , then lying through her teeth in the next sentence. Her second favourite saying was “I was born that way”, used as an excuse for behaving like a spoiled princess.

  72. Witch Moma Says:

    Generally, people are exactly the opposite of what they most loudly proclaim themselves to be.
    Eccentric = stuffy, lanky = chubby, etc.

  73. Hammie Says:

    I quite like plucky?!

  74. tartantreacly Says:

    Also –


    Translation: “I reblog about other people’s creative things on my Tumblr.”

  75. EJ Says:

    Does lanky mean something different outside of the UK? It’s not a compliment here.

  76. DCD Says:

    Oh God, has anyone mentioned the term “epic fail” yet?

    And I agree with whoever said “random” – as in someone describing him/herself as “random.”

  77. Jaimi Says:

    I usually hear lanky used to describe a tall, lean built person with long arms and legs in the US. I’ve only heard it used positively.

  78. Artful Lawyer Says:

    Only a few minutes on Etsy will make a person hate “chunky” and “steampunk.” Moreso, “tribal/ethnic.”

  79. liz Says:

    I like to imagine if I was a celebrity and had to describe myself in interviews like they do..and I imagine I would probably tell the interviewer to f* off..Seriously the most annoying thing ever is to hear a celebrity say they are this or that..stfu

  80. Artful Lawyer Says:

    Ooh, can I add one more thing?

    The “you’re only as sick as your secrets” thing on tag lines, email signatures, blog headers, etc. makes me itchy. Like, you mean that I’m not living right because I’m not wandering around, telling everyone that I don’t really love my job and find my sister in law loud at times? I’m not entitled to those secrets? Yes, I know it’s a recovery thing, but do we all have to be recovering in public all the time?

  81. Daniel Eaton Says:

    I once heard a girl refer to her breasts as “epic”.

  82. patni Says:

    edgy makes me bleed inside. “cookie” used in the same way as “quirky”, making stupid words like flowy, boutique-y like fashion magazines do should be punishable by public torture. Almost every day i feel explosive over people’s incorrect word usage. Pizzazy is not a word. if you actually read you can find real words that describe what you want to say. using all these stupid cliches is so lazy. All this said, I can not spell to save my life, and have horrid horrid grammar. So I am a total hypocrite. But at least I am not a free spirited quirky rugged individualist.
    If you really want to scream go read some dating sites.

  83. Erika Says:

    I’ve got it, whimsical, I hate that word. It makes me think of talky types in flower hats going on and on and on…
    Also when someone says “I’m an artist…” as if it is to be broached with holy reverence. No one should believe their own shit. Most “artists” would actually question the concept til the day they die

    See here

    Is it just me or is this art yanking a chain of some kind ? Are there some people who are allowed to take a shit and call it art and we just nod in agreement while others with incredible skill toil in obscurity. Do they believe their own hype ? I found this confounding especially as it warranted a column in WWD. Like really ?? Okay…

  84. patni Says:

    To be fair, Kim Gordon is mostly famous for being in Sonic Youth, not for being a visual artist. and I did not read the WWD article, but I think she has an LA based clothing line.

  85. Marky Says:

    Your first commenter hit it for me: intense.

    When a person refers to him or herself as intense, it usually means they’re a cunt. No, not usually; always.

    Intense: Cuntish
    Quirky: they shop at Hot Topic and like ‘Napoleon Dynamite’
    Random : they’re stupid
    Edgy: See Quirky, and replace ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ with ‘Fight Club’
    Introspective: pathological masturbator
    Creative: if male, gay; if female, foul-smelling.

    Dating websites are treasure troves for this shit. I don’t know how many assholes say they’re looking for a ‘partner in crime.’

  86. Sister Wolf Says:

    Marky – I thought “intense” meant “psychopath.”

  87. Caroline Says:

    I hate when people say they are:

    “real and hate fake people”

    or they try to sound badass by saying “i can be your best friend….or your worst enemy.” Why say this on your facebook profile, seriously? haha.

  88. emma Says:

    I had an ex who was so pretentious, I had to break up with him on those grounds, because/although I knew that it had been bred into him and there was no way it could be stamped out, even kindly (and who has the energy for that).
    He was forever saying ‘environs’, without a trace of self consciousness….Even thinking the word now makes me cringe inwardly.

  89. Sister Wolf Says:

    emma – “Environs”?!?!?!? I’m glad you divorced him. My husband’s ex-wife likes to say ” I’m enamored of” instead of “I like.”

  90. Murr Brewster Says:

    When people describe themselves as eccentric, they are referring to their ink and their casual attitude towards laundry. Both of which make them a dime a dozen.

  91. Sister Wolf Says:

    DCD – How can a person describe their own self as “random”???? Surely one’s self is “specific!”

  92. Sister Wolf Says:

    I just looked at my old myspace page to see if I used any of these offending words to describe myself. I think I did pretty well!

  93. Sister Wolf Says:

    Cricket9 – that is some truly awful writing. How do they do it???

  94. Artful Lawyer Says:

    “Environs” reminds me of a local online reviewer (here, in the heart of the uncool Midwest) who posed in a fur wrap and described herself as “mad about all things epicurian” which made me hate wraps and the words “mad” if not used as a synonym for “angry” and “epicurian” unless used by, say a 400lb Frenchman in a white coat and toque.

  95. Aja Says:

    I had an ex who referred to himself as “intense” when really he was just acting like a shithead. I think all your observations on that matter word and the person using it to refer to themselves, ring true.

  96. Tricia Says:

    Why in the hell would someone call themselves “random?”

  97. Aja Says:

    I couldn’t decide whether to use “matter” or “word” so I just used them both!

  98. Andra Says:

    Tricia, why indeed?
    Why are so many people talking so much shit?
    I was taught to be succinct.
    Why are people saying so many words but not saying anything?
    Especially politicians.
    I want them ALL shot – soon.

  99. emma Says:

    Arg. I loved reading this, but now I feel like a Xanax and a lie down….why are people so stupid and annoying?
    (Ok, I do suffer from PMDD, but fuck it).
    Perhaps the best revenge is to ‘mirror’ these idiots. Might be fun to see if they notice….

    Just a thought :)

    Perhaps I’ll seek out that ex and see how often I can drop ‘environs’ into a conversation…

  100. Liz Says:

    Can’t believe I just read this! I say the EXACT same thing! My daughter has a Facebook and one of the girls on there keeps stating how ‘different’ she is!! I said to my daughter that if she were really so ‘different’ she wouldn’t need to state the obvious and as you so rightly say would more than likely be unaware of her differences!! I hate it when people label themselves in descprition headers with things such as I’m a Goth, I’m dark, I’m weird, I’m eccentric. I am SO fucking cliche. It sounds pretentious as Hell, so yes I totally agree with you on this one sis!

  101. Jill Says:

    I’m with tartantreacly…authentic is the worse and it’s all Oprah’s fault, old soul that she is…

  102. Jill Says:

    and “conversate”, foodie, it is what it is, and pre-menopausal.

    Should I have said “worst” in the prior comment….my grammar isn’t the best.

  103. Sofia Says:

    Nobody should describe themselves as eccentric, quirky, random or kooky under any circumstances, ever.

  104. Andrea Says:

    I’m sure I described myself as ‘random’ when I was a youngster, but in retrospect, I think I was trying to say that I was inconsistent in terms of my likes/interests/hobbies/values etc.

    I agree with pretty much all the words noted above. I’m also iffy about people describing themselves as ‘neurotic’ or, even worse, ‘charmingly neurotic’. Often, these people are really just fussy, self-important and obsessed with small details of their own lives. It’s not that they have a functional mental disorder.

  105. Jenny Says:

    I have to say I don’t have a problem with ‘space’ but definitely with people describing themselves as eccentric, different, quirky, when what they are is pretentious, and yes OCD, when what they are really saying is that thay are perfectionists with an admirable eye for detail. But what really annoys me is when my husband (actually my husband fullstop) accuses me of being a pedant about every day word usage/meaning. And it’s not a compliment, believe me. We get into the most heated arguments about his sloppy use of terminology and he’s a writer for Pete’s sake. For example, and it’s not the best but it’s the most recent one, is his use of the terms stain and lacquer interchangably. They are not the same thing, one stains, one lacquers. (Yes, you can get a stain lacquer which does both, but that just confuses things.) Apparently I am a pedant – all I know is that I want my table not stained.

  106. Jenny Says:

    Sorry – I want my table lacquered not stained.

  107. Jaimi Says:

    Jenny, so with you on people describing themselves in terms of psychological diagnoses — especially self-diagnosed ones. What the fuck is with that? Boring attention whores, all of ’em. I guess I take particular offense ’cause I’ve got mad obsessive compulsive issues and there’s nothing I find quirky or cute or compelling about it, just that it’s a drag on existing period.

  108. Dru Says:

    Jenny- who in possession of a dictionary can possibly think a stain and a lacquer are the same thing?!!

    If knowing the difference makes me a pedant, I’ll happily be a pedant. Or an anachronism, whatever the ignorants choose to call me.

  109. RLC Says:

    Oohhh, I always call myself lanky in the most self-deprecating way. I am tall with long limbs that I routinely trip over and I wish my body were more in proportion. I can’t really think of another way to say ‘tall and awkward’ without using the word ‘lanky’ but I’m open to any suggestions!

    I definitely agree that a true eccentric wouldn’t call themselves eccentric, I guess people get confused and see it as a synonym for ‘weird’ which it is not.

  110. RLC Says:

    Also, as a student of something called “communications” (whatever, even I don’t know what that means) I encounter the word “space” almost daily and it makes me want to scream. I have to “study” a lot of “spaces”, in particular “postmodern” “spaces” and the way in which the “inhabitors” of the space “relate to it”. BLERG. I also enjoy when people call their art galleries “independent art spaces” (note: these are usually hipsters with a spare attic/basement/studio, semi-artistic friends and access to free beer)

  111. The ex Anton Says:

    Since we talked about this yesterday I can’t use any of those words now without cracking up.

  112. The ex Anton Says:

    Oh God!!! Not the “random” word!!! Can we just erase “random” from existence??? Why and when did it all of a sudden become so popular to misuse? I can’t take it!!!

  113. kate Says:

    people cannot say their own movie, book or t.v. show is groundbreaking.

  114. Jenny Says:

    I realise you’ve all moved on, but today I remembered my pet hate word and knew where I could rant about it! ‘Fine’ – I hate the word ‘fine’! Particularly when I’ve asked ‘How do I look?’ – and the reponse is ‘fine’. ‘Do you like my new so and so?’ – it’s fine … Fine? What kind of a word is that? It’s the worst insult – totally unacceptable. I’d prefer hideous, disgusting, grotesque. Anything but fine.

  115. » Decidedly off-center Says:

    […] Sister Wolf finds some Tumblr profiles in which people describe themselves as “eccentric,&#822… and that’s just wrong: My feeling is, you don’t describe yourself as eccentric. That’s a conclusion made about you by someone else. It just seems unseemly. Like calling yourself ‘classy,’ it’s kind of a self-negating word. […]

  116. Juicifer Says:

    Bit late to the debate but boo yah:

    I don’t think anyone should describe themselves as:

    Rather odd

    I don’t like edgy but I think its okay to say “I’m on edge” if you intend it as a warning. Not that I would say it.

    I hate it when women refer to their breasts as “the girls”. aaargh! Wackness.

    Also not fond of the fashion singular – a navy trouser or a clumpy shoe
    And also “piece”, as in “I have one of his pieces”

  117. pegr Says:

    I know I’m late to this party but…why do people on these home improvement blogs or tv show say that they “staple gunned it” or glue gunned it? Ugh!

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