I’ve already banged on about some of the words below, but you know what? — you haven’t stopped using them. I’m going to keep banging on until you do. I’d like to encourage you to add some of your own, in fact, so that we can over time generate a useful list of banned expressions that we can hand over to the authorities. I will, of course, have ultimate say about whether a word gets onto the wall of shame. No-one said this was a democracy. Minimalistic The word is ‘minimalist’. Don’t put -ic on the end of what’s already an adjective. Why would you do that? Why? Isn’t it a bit stupidalistic? As people on Twitter pointed out when I muttered about this before, there’s something especially dumbalistical and ironicalisticallynessish about making the word ‘minimalist’ longer.
Simplistic This is actually a perfectly good word. The problem lies in denizens of the Internet habitually mis-using it. It does not mean a pleasingly focussed feature set, which might be a GOOD THING. ’Simplistic’ is a pejorative term meaning ‘excessively simplified’, and is therefore a BAD THING. You’re using the term perfectly wrongly, do you see? Well, do you?
Chillax For Christ’s sake. There is no better way of making it clear that you’re an utter tool than by using this ‘word’. Just stop it. Even deploying it ironically is on a knife-edge, so don’t take the risk. Either say ‘relax’, or ‘chill’ (if you must). Or preferably bugger off back to your ‘crib’.
Functionality What does this even mean? It’s used in sentences like ‘For a version 1.0, this software has impressive functionality, but...’, where it appears to indicate… it’s not total crap. If you’re reviewing something and you’ve used this word, try cutting out the sentence it appears in, and see if you’ve lost anything of value. Ten bucks says you haven’t.
Form factor You don’t mean ‘form factor’, you mean ‘shape’. No, really, you do.
Piracy As used in relation to software and TV shows and music and books. ‘Piracy’ sounds jaunty and daring and as if you're doing something rather cool and dashing and should be played by Johnny Depp. You're not — you're being played by that fat, sweaty guy who hangs out round the back of the KFC and always looks like he’s just hurriedly re-done up his flies. You're stealing. At least have the balls to acknowledge that and come up with some half-assed rationale.
Writer Specifically when proceeded by the word ‘virus’. Listen up, you little ****ers, producing viruses is not ‘writing’. It’s ‘exuding’, as one might exude pus from a badly-infected sore occasioned by seedy sexual exploits powered by precisely the kind of knock-off Viagra you’re trying to peddle. Using some piece of software to exude crap that starts "eval(gzinflate (base64_decode ('tVh7b9pYFv87I+” isn’t creation. It’s destruction, it’s a criminal waste of everyone’s time, and it’s ****ing annoying, so stop it for the love of God, before I call down upon you The Curse Of The Busy Man Who Does’t Have Time To Rebuild His Sodding Website Every Few Weeks, You Assholes.
Workflow One irritating thing about this word is that I can’t think of a concise synonym, which usually proves a word is worthwhile. It's still annoying, though, possibly because when people write about a piece of software ‘fitting into their workflow’, it seems their ‘workflow’ only ever involves writing blogs about software that may or may not fit into their ‘workflow’.
Curating I go back and forth on this one, but currently it’s on the outs. You have not ‘curated’ a selection of links to interesting or cool things on the web. You’ve ‘chosen’ them. Actually, you’ve just ‘shared’ your bookmarks (and trust me, ‘sharing’ is in the bullpen for this list). Obviously some degree of choice has taken place — otherwise you’d have linked to absolutely everything, in which case you’d merely be the Internet, duplicated — but that does not put you on a par with someone who’s selected just three tea-cups from the entire history of domestic potteryware over the last five thousand years for a high-profile four-month exhibition at MOMA or the V&A. Here’s a deal - you can call yourself an Internet curator if you also wear a little bow-tie and a green cardigan all the time. And shave your head but grow a beard. Even if you're a woman. Okay?
Momtrepeneur I only learned this one recently. As a snappy term for the vogue for moms to roll up their sleeves and start micro-businesses specialising in decorative geegaws fashioned from recycled ballet shoes, or tiny pots of organic canapés for dogs, I guess it kind of works (though it seems a tad sexist and patronising). It’s still annoying, though, probably because it’s one of those arch little neologisms — ‘staycation’ is another — cooked up by slackers to legitimate writing endless screeds of unnecessary text about something zeitgeisty.
So — what are the words that cause your brain to seethe and make it impossible for you to chillax? I’m not talking about the obviously appalling collections of letters like ‘twitterverse’ or ‘whatever’ or ‘Russell Brand’, I mean the ones that make you want to start sharpening pointy sticks and hunting down the perpetrators with deadly intent…