Mary ConnealyI found this list and we love lists on Petticoats and Pistols so, even though it’s not specifically cowboys I decided to use it today.


The list is from Oxford, which begs the question, don’t they have something better to do at Oxford?


And they appear in a book, which begs the question, how’d they get a BOOK out of this little bit of info. But I’ve read many non-fiction books that honestly should have been a pamphlet.


A good example of that–have you ever read The Rules? It’s a book of Rules for girls in relationships. It’s gotten a lot of ridicule and it also sold about umpteen-million copies. The truth is, there’s a pamphlet’s worth of good stuff in The Rules.


But you know publishers, ‘we want X number thousand words’ so an author is forced to take her pamphlet and pad the thing to up the word count. I suspect this may be the case in the irritating phrases book Damp Squid—named after the mistake of confusing a squid with a squib, a type of firework. And I’ll add here that I don’t mean the phrases book Damp Squid is irritating, I mean Damp Squid is a book about irritating phrases.


And ho-hum who cares about squid and squib. Not me, so the title is a little irritating in and of itself.


The book’s author Jeremy Butterfield says that many annoyingly over-used expressions actually began as office lingo, such as 24/7 and “synergy”.

Other phrases to irritate people are “literally” and “ironically”, when they are used out of context.


Mr Butterfield said: “We grow tired of anything that is repeated too often – an anecdote, a joke, a mannerism – and the same seems to happen with some language.”


The top ten most irritating phrases:

1 – At the end of the day

2 – Fairly unique

3 – I personally

4 – At this moment in time

5 – With all due respect

6 – Absolutely

7 – It’s a nightmare

8 – Shouldn’t of

9 – 24/7

10 – It’s not rocket science


‘At the end of the day’ popped into my head when I read the title of the article. I’ll add a few of my own.



The overuse of the word awesome is so, so irritating.


I could care less.

This means what exactly?


And I’ll add one here my husband says all the time.


Don’t know. Don’t care.


You know, this is very rude. He thinks it’s funny when he doesn’t want to listen to me yammer on about whatever vital bit of free association words are currently being shared with him.


Let’s share.


That’s also annoying. Someone coming up to you and saying, “I want to share something with you.” Don’t know why that bugs me, but it does.


And it always bothers me when someone, talking about holding a meeting says, “We need to sit down and (whatever)

I always think, no, let’s have the meeting standing or laying flat on the floor. How how about we meet at the swimming pool…MORON. Still, I have a hostile streak so that could just be me!


How about you? Do you have words or phrases that irritate you?



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86 thoughts on “Bugged”

  1. My friend in Canada kept saying with all due respect and then launched into an attack!

    here it would be tell it to someone who cares.
    I agree with awesome. Cool has the same effect.

    When mum cant care about what im talking about she just cuts me off.

  2. To my brother-in-law (after we spent a weekend out at their desert house) We went out to dinner and I said “you must be sick of me” he said he was just sick.

  3. I kinda hate the word “issues” when it means problems, personal stuff etc. To me, the word evokes piles of magazines.

    “I have issues.” Yeah, what? Time? Newsweek? Women’s Day?

    As always, Mary, you had me laughing out loud.

  4. I have a friend who uses the “I’m Sorry (put in persons name) BUT. which really means im sorry your wrong cos i dont agree cos she then would launch her attack.
    Every time she said it I was thinking oh no they are going to be told!
    I am thinking the Im Sorry really doesn’t mean that at all is is more a put down like im sorry you are so dumb to not know. or like the she tries really hard “Bless her heart” which is really a put down.

  5. ok..
    “I could care less”……this really annoys me

    If people would take the time to evaluate the meaning of that little sentence, they’d get that it is totally opposite of what they actually mean!

    “I could care less” means that you actually do care and there is room for caring less…instead it should be “I could NOT care less”..come on people! LOL

  6. I was just thinking about this yesterday, Mary! And not to say I’m not guilty of them, too. My worst–which I picked up from my mother–‘absolutely.’ Dang, I hate it when I use it so much! LOL.

    A few other words that make me cringe when I hear them:

    you know?

    I’m sure there’s more!

    Fun blog, Mary!

  7. Ooh, ooh, ooh, Ausjenny, that reminded me of one I HATE. And my kids do it to me ALL THE TIME.

    “No offense but–”

    I always cut them off and say, “Hold on a second, let me brace myself to be deeply offended.”

    “No offense but that shirt looks like something stolen off a corpse after a riot at a Star Trek Convention”

    No offense almost ALWAYS MEANS ‘incoming insult’.

  8. Issue…he has issues. You’re right Tanya, that’s usually an excuse for bad behavior.

    You know they found a collection of severed body parts in his garage…the guy had some serious issues.

  9. AusJenny, my daughter worked with a woman…she really liked her so this wasn’t a deal breaker…who always said, “Bless her heart,” attached to some horrible insult.

    “Bless her heart, she doesn’t have a brain in her head.”

  10. Melissa D, I know just what you mean about “I could care less” I read that sentence and tried to exactly figure out what it means for a while but it’s exhausting.

    The way it’s used always means, “I don’t care.”
    So it should be “I couldn’t care less.”
    But that’s not what they’re saying.

  11. Hi Mary,
    Let’s see. I tend to use You Think? a lot.
    For instance, If someone says, “The economy sure is in the dumper.”
    I’d say. ‘You think?” It’s a snarky reply and I’m trying NOT to do it anymore.

    Also, when someone says, “I mean this in the nicest way.” Then they lower the boom on you! Ugh, no they really didn’t.

    This is a fun blog today. I love words and phrases and that’s exactly what my Friday blog is about. Western phrases that fool you!

  12. Another thing that bugs me is when someone lists things by saying “A, he shouldn’t have been there in the first place, and B, if he’d kept his mouth shut….” The whole A and B thing bugs me for some reason. And the people who do it are repeat offenders.

    How about yada yada? That’s one I use myself.

  13. One of my daughters has a long running joke where she says, “A I knew I’d be late and TWO I knew you would be late, too.”

    She just thinks that’s hilarious, A and Two.

  14. Y’know, Pam, I’m a worst case offender on y’know. I’ve heard that interjections like y’know and ummmm are to cover while the person is thinking exactly what to say next. More a reflex than anything, a fear of dead silence, maybe

  15. I knew a man once who ended like….six out of ten sentences with, “And so on and so forth.” Even when it made absolutely NO SENSE. Such a speech pattern. I am sure he was unaware of it.

    So yes, I wanted to come across the desk and grab him by the throat, but that was all about HIM, that doesn’t count as an irritating phrase, y’know?

  16. I have one phrase that bothers me because I can’t make sense of it.

    A near miss.

    What the heck does that mean? I know what the speaker means but what does it really mean? A near miss is what? A miss or a hit? You nearly missed means you didn’t miss. Acck. It befuddles my poor brain.

  17. What a fun blog today, Mary. Here’s my irritating list:

    1) It’s in your “BEST” interest. Hardly ever true.

    2) We have to do this “for your own good.” It never is.

    3) Community rights are so much more important than your own personal freedoms. Oh yeah? In what Constitution was this written?

    4) Or this one — “I (or we) know better than you do what’s best for you.” I don’t think so.

    These are the ones that irritate me the most — not only when said to me, but when said to anyone. : )

    Thanks for the chance to vent.

  18. Great post, Mary! When I was a teen my mom would ground me for saying “Whatever.” A steep punishment for one little word…or so I thought until I had teenagers of my own 😉 I’m now of the opinion that “Whatever.” should be banned all together as a one-word answer 😀

  19. And Stacey, I wish I’d thought of that.
    I had a daughter who, for about four years, rarely spoke to me except to say, WHATEVER! This would usually be followed by her storming away and the slam of her bedroom door. I happened so often, I swear it was almost rap music.

    Grounding her (assuming that would have made her stop) would have saved me a lot of irritation. 🙂

  20. Oooh I’m guilty of tossing out a whatever now and again…also an awesome or dude. Too much into my kids’ vernacular…although I did spend 20 years with teenagers as a teacher. So I guess that’s the reason LOL.

    Another one I can’t stand is suckle. I know it doesn’t appear all that often in normal conversation 🙂 but in romance novels, hmmmm. In my edits for Marrying Minda, I had the editor find something else because I couldn’t bear it.

  21. SUCKLE?

    Okay, laughing my head off, embarrassing because there are people around me.

    One in novels that is way, way overused is

    She was shattered, her heart shattered, the knowledge of his unfaithfulness was shattering.

    The average romance novel heroine is just in SHARDS by the end of the novel.

    It’s a good word, just overused.

  22. Mary this is fun to see all the things people say to irritates someone I am sure I am guilty of some of them.
    One thing I don’t like is when I am talking to my friend she does this everyday she will say UMMMMM and say one would and go UMMM again and it takes about 10 minutes to say one thing… That really bugs me..
    Plus when the kids where home and I said something to them they would say “WHATEVER” that word should not be out there.

    Or a grip of time (what does that really mean)???

    When someone makes me mad I will say that hoe bag and I had my last boss going around saying that all the time he got into trouble with his wife for saying it. I don’t mean anything by it and I would not say it to a person to be mean but it does come out way to much I have been working on it since I have been at this job I have only said it about 4 times since I have been here.

    And then there is ( that’s tight) well when I hear that I want to say then take it off. LOL

  23. Brenda I think you’re more ‘with it’ than I am. Grip of Time? Never heard of that.
    Hoe bag??? As in Rapper speak for whore bag?? LOL Yeah, you oughta cut down on that one, I’m thinkin’.

    That’s tight? Again, I’m not familiar. But thanks for stopping in and I think all your phrases are groovy.

  24. One of my pet peeves it the misuse of the word, “myself” – people use it all the time when they really mean me or my – my boss says it all the time, “Make sure you get that information to either Mr. Smith or myself before the meeting.” I can barely stand to write it.

  25. I can’t stand it when people use the word “Like” constantly. “Like, we went to town today and like the drive took forever and like…..”

    One that irritates my husband is when people use the word “Literally.” He gets so annoyed with people who say something literally happened. He says either it did or it didn’t, why say it literally did! And I see you mentioned that one in your post.

    And he hates me using the word “Issues.” Such as when I say someone/thing has issues. He’ll tell me to pick another word.

  26. Hi Mary,

    Great topic!I have a quite a few phrases that irritate but the one that always gets me is when I hear a reporter say “I sat down with so and so and this is what they said.” Can they not interview someone standing up? I don’t know why they always preface the interview with this phrase. It really bugs me.

    Have a great day and congrats on getting all the hits!

  27. Okay, Mary, you got me thinking. Mine is “you know” as in a football player giving an interview after a game. “You know, we ran, you know, and we, you know, didn’t catch, you know, the ball.”

    I hate that. I’ve even counted the times he says, “you know.” It would amaze hime, I am sure, (there’s another one) if he knew how many times he said that.

  28. We had a guy stand up in church to give some committee report and he said how they were going to handle some project and he said, “We going to sit down (long dramatic pause) and == I don’t remember what 🙂

    I just wanted to yell at him to SIT DOWN NOW.

    I’m sure that is NOT what Jesus would do.

  29. I know I’ve said (and had my characters say) plenty of these bad boys. (Was “bad boys” on the list?)

    “At the end of the day” really bugs me, too. I always follow that with, “But how about at 2:30?”

    And the overuse of the word “surreal” annoys me, too. It can’t ALL be surreal. Some of it has to be real.

    Finally, I enjoy annoying OTHERS around me by adding the “ly” to adjectives which should have been adverbs. Especially right in the middle of the theater, when the heroine says, “Please, Horace, drive slow!” I mutter “lee.” I’m so much fun at movies.

  30. LOL, this is fun reading!

    I’m irritated when someone uses ‘think outside the box.’ It’s usually someone who never thinks outside the box telling someone else to.

    Or ‘pushing the envelope’ when it comes to writing. Can’t someone just write a good story, why do some people think they have to push any darn envelope? And why an envelope? Why not push the phone, or push the shoe? Where did envelope come from? LOL

    Okay, back to my current manuscript where I’m trying to think outside the box in terms of the h/H journey and trying to push the envelope in my latest love scene! 🙂

  31. Mary, I thought your topic was funny coming on the heels of yesterday’s blog where Karen talked about the importance of language. Almost like you timed your blogs to coincide!

  32. My pet peeve is when someone says “Let’s dialogue about that.” Like duh, whatever happened to talk or visit or discuss? Dialogue sounds so business and cold and all that.

  33. My kids say one that I am always correcting –

    It doesn’t care. And I yell out – It doesn’t matter!

    I tell them – “It’s – I don’t care and it doesn’t matter!”

    Oh – I definitely need to second – like, whatever, y’know and ummm.

  34. Mary, great post. I hate it when someone who is talking has a such a long pause that I think they are through talking, so I start to speak and they say, “let me finish”. Bugs me–I won’t mention who does this to me! So that phrase is getting on my final nerve. LOL.

  35. “You know what I mean?” It doesn’t bother me if used once in the conversation, but no one ever stops at one. Grrr, makes me want to say “uh-uh, could you try a different language?”

  36. Fun post, Mary. We have a friend who says “so on and so forth” all the time. It’s hard to keep a straight face.

    I’m slightly bugged when people use the word anxious when they’re eager, but I’ve done it, too.

    One of the habits I’d like to break–when speaking to my grandchildren, I use Grandma instead of I, as in “Grandma likes your new coat.” I hate that I do that, but can’t seem to stop. I’m sure I will when he replies, “Grandson thanks you.”


  37. I’m just going down these laughing.

    Push the envelope…YIKES, I once wrote a whole blog elsewhere about that phrase. I’d forgotten that. What !@%!@#@ envelope. Stop that!!!!!

    And while you’re at it, stop pushing it, the envelope is already way, way stretched.

  38. OH, and that ‘dialogue’ thing, Diann, how about America needs to have a conversation about –whatever.

    America needs to – sit down and have a conversation about race (religion-taxes-immigation – fill in the blank.

    What that really means is MORE news programs trying to convince us that what they’re blathering about is important
    I rank it right up there with politicians taking a ‘listening tour’ Puh-leeze, just admit you don’t know what you’re doing and get it over with.

  39. Maggie, I am absolutely sure that someone I know well who shall remain nameless, but for the purpose of this blog I’ll call ‘my husband’, who doesn’t talk all that much, will say something to me when I’m reading, talk long enough to get me to look up from the book and put on my glasses so I can read his lips (I’m not EXACTLY deaf), then he’ll quit and go back to watching TV, I’ll take OFF my glasses, pick UP my book, then
    PART TWO of his comments begin.
    it it NOT a coincidence that he waits until I’m back reading.

    Not that what he has to say isn’t important and fascinating of course.

    Also, he never reads my blogs. so far.

  40. Loving this posting business here today! Laughing to myself at the ranting and raving going on. Okay to get on with it… the “24/7” thing is super annoying!! Also when I ask my teenager what they are doing it’s always, “nothing”. And on a personal level…when a certain someone refers to a “sandwich” as a “samwich”!!! That absolutely irritates me to no end! haha

    Done with ranting and raving for now.


  41. Man, the “I could care less” one really chaps me.

    The use of ‘like’ in every other breath, that’s like so, like, annoying!

    Probably the one that gets me the most is subject-verb DIS-agreement.

    He don’t like that. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEKKKKKKK.

    Thanks, Mary, for writing a post we can vent to! 🙂

  42. Oh, I just got home from donating blood and stopped by the Junction to feel better.

    I can’t stand it that some nouns are now verbs, e.g. “We’ll conference at eleven.”

    And I don’t know when DISrespect became a verb. You don’t disrespect someone, you SHOW disrespect, no?

    I, however, am definitely a samwich eater.

    And don’t people graduate FROM college? It irks me to read/hear “So and SO graduated college in 1980.”

    Okay, I’m better now.

  43. Hi, Trish. I think ‘bad boys’ is … well, what comes to mind is Tim the Toolman Taylor from Home Inprovement. He’d always point to some tool he was planning to supercharge and say, “This bad boy here.” Then start grunting.

  44. Well, sometimes we abuse language just for the sake of speed. I worked at a newspaper a few years back and it was my first experience with a copying machine, beyond really simple … duh, make ten copies.

    We could enlarge things and um… dis-enlarge things.

    I used to say, “I’m going to ‘smaller-ize’ this picture and use it.”
    That always got a laugh.

  45. Lucie, getting teenagers to talk is a whole nuther blog. Maybe a series of TEN blogs, or a hundred.

    I’ve had really good luck with, “How was lunch?”

    It is usually awful and it kicks off a whining complaining conversation that has nothing to do with MOM embarrassing them or asking STOOPID questions.

    Try how was lunch, see if you can get anywhere with it.

  46. Tanya, you are a hero…and an inspiration. Inspiration because I just thought of a new blog post. DONATING BLOOD HORROR STORIES.

    I am soooooooooooooooooo not cut out to donate blood.

    I think the Red Cross had a Red Flag and maybe even a siren go off when my name gets logged in.

  47. Hi, Kathleen. I had a friend who used to use Bless your heart in a really nice way.

    If something good happened, she’s say, “That really blessed my heart.”

    It was a very nice and lovely use of a badly abused expression.

  48. “Touch base” is my most hated phrase. That harkens back to a high school principal…
    Also, “phone tag.” I have no idea why that bothers me, but it never fails to set my teeth on edge when I hear a message, “Tag you’re it.”

  49. I hate it when people say, “Have a good one!” I also used to get after my children when they would say “I’m just kidding” after they made a mean remark to one of their siblings. I’d always say “If you’re just kidding, what did you really mean?”

  50. You really hear a message that says, “Tag you’re it?” You’re sure it’s not the email, now morphed onto a phone, that’s always saying, you’ve been tagged.

    I also hate email forwards, especially ones that tell me God will bless me if I forward it and curse me if I don’t.

    Okay, where is THAT in the Bible?????

  51. actually Im one who will use fine to end a topic or stop one.
    for example someone whos really annoying you and you just want to get away and I will say Fine.
    and its are you ok, I’M FINE! in other words leave me alone!

    The one mum uses alot is When you have a minute or I dont want to disturb you but when you have a minute.
    often said when I have just sat down or about to do something.

    she does it when I go shopping too. I will say Do you want anything down the Street? If you are going to woolworths but only if your going to woolworths I dont want to put you out of your way but If you are going but dont make an extra trip (by now im at the just tell me what you want you know I go there every time i go down the street!) I know its something common for elderly but it drives me insain. Its a 5 min ride on a bike down there everything is within a couple of streets so Im there anyway but we go through it almost every time.

  52. Not sure if someone said this but I hate “whatever” because of course it means the opposite. I’m not too thrilled with WWJD either lol.

  53. WWJD

    I suspect that we’re not real good judges of WWJD. If we were, the world might not be quite so messed up. So I always worry about people who are too certain they know the mind of God.

  54. Thanks Mary. yep its universal.
    mums in hospital at present with a broken leg and now has presure sores. so I miss some of the things that drive me mad.

  55. Ausjenny, hugs and prayers to you and mum. I’m back again because I’m trying to write today and this is more fun.

    Our grandbaby (23 months) is learning to talk so this blog and yesterday’s have special significance. Oh wow, he parrots everything.

  56. When I was in HS our math teacher liked to use the phrase “as such” like a period at the end of a sentence.

    One day, several were keeping track of how many times he said it (well, really, that’s math, right?) and he broke a new record. The guy who first realized it, yelled out, “Whoo hoo!” and high-fived the guy across the aisle and everyone laughed. The teacher turned around and said, “What are you yayhoos doing back there?”

    Of course, he never said what he was doing, but lied and said, “Oh, I finally got it!”

  57. And Etc…
    Status Quo.
    I know I’m late but no one mentioned these and I know some people who use them constantly like punctuation and they mean nothing in their phrases.
    I know I personally say “I’m sorry” way to much, and I’m really sorry about that.

  58. There’s a lot of good ones here Mary. This is a really funny post. I really am bugged by the OMG phrasing that seems to be popular these days, even just saying those letters without saying the phrase.

    Another one is air quotes. It’s not as widely used as it once was, but still quite annoying.

    I thought of another one a few minutes ago, but now it escapes me! “Oh wait, GO FIGURE!”

  59. Well, Duh, on all of the above.

    My least favorite is “relationship”. as in an affair. Everyone you know and meet has a relationship with you – friends, relatives, enemies, lovers, aquaintences. Maybe it is supposed to be adulteress relationship and we just dropped the adulteress.

    One comment my mom thought was kind of dumb. When someone made a comment about going to So and So’s funeral. The comment was “Oh, did he/she die?”.

  60. Ack! Sue, that made me think of another one that bugs me.

    I mean we are all a COMMUNITY now.
    The black community, the gay community, the artistic community, the … I’ve heard it used for all sorts of things but the one that sent me over the edge to true annoyance was a news story I heard about hot air ballooning.

    the newsguy said, “It’s well known in the ballooning community.”

    I now run screaming when I hear the word community.

  61. I thought of the “whatever” word first but then what came to mind was what people who know me and are around me most spill out their mouth and then grab it (their mouth) and look quickly at me and apologize. They Know this word bothers me because I’ve made such a big deal about it. Perhaps you have all heard it and it is only me that it gets to when said. But, has anyone seen the movie with Johnny 5 in it? When he has read the dictionary through and then someone says this word –IN THE MOVIE–, his eyes bug in and out and he says “Where ______? I don’t see any ______!.” You know the word I am referring to? His word he was talking about was an “s” word. But I CANNOT make myself write it OR say it. I feel like I do with my eyes what Johnny 5 does with his because I SURE don’t want to step in it. It gets me because when people use that word for ANYTHING, I start joking with them and tell them it doesn’t look like that to me… or I’m sure glad that isn’t what that really is. Guessed it yet? I have to say, I can use the first letter, after that it is up to you. I call it the C-word. EVERYONE around here knows what I mean. Yet they still call things by that name and they haven’t got a clue that food they don’t happen to like tastes like C-word. Does it really? I wouldn’t put it in my mouth then. Or an incident that happened they don’t like, they say “that’s just a bunch of C-word”. Where? I don’t see any? Well, I’ve taken my stand and I’m sticking to it.

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