I probably need to cover myself up front by saying that I know lots of people who use words that make me grind my teeth or roll my eyes. I still respect them in the morning.
Words I find distasteful seem to fall into three categories. There are the profane words that polite society seems to frown upon. There are bodily function words. And there are words used incorrectly or simply made up. After I made my list I asked my writing group what their ick-factor words were. Although we had some dislikes in common, our differences surprised me.
My own absolutely-will-not-say words fall into the bodily function category. I didn't realize this until a fellow writer pointed it out. Being a biology research scientist, these words don't bother her at all while they're even hard for me to make myself write. For the sake of the blog, I'll do it: Fart, snot, and puke. Once, I stopped reading a book by one of my favorite authors when farting became a large part of the story.
Two words that I hear way more often than I should are orientate and conversate. I will say these words only as punchlines to jokes. A colleague offered the word confusement as her pet peeve.
Misused words make the list, too. A huge irritant is the use of less when fewer is the appropriate word. One writer-friend hates sentences that begin with so. I cringe when I am asked if I am done. Unless you're talking about meatloaf, the question is "Are you finished?" Another friend hates the phrase all y'all.
I'm from Virginia. I understand that idiom completely. And I loved it when Prince used it in a song. Y'all didn't know he was southern, did you?
Through my friends I learned there are words that some people dislike for no apparent reason, like moist, ooze, cannibalism or space cadet. The collection of words that drew the biggest groans? The feels, adulting, squee, bae. These made up words seem cute, but in reality cause massive eye rolls from readers/listeners.
If you are interested in seeing how new words spread across the country, check out these links. Then let me know what words make you cringe.