Words We All Loathe
Word aversion is the feeling of discomfort or even disgust triggered in people by a certain word—not because it was used incorrectly, but because the sound of the word itself is displeasing. What can explain this phenomenon? Jason Riggle, a professor of linguistics at University of Chicago, believes it’s part instinct, part cultural exposure. There are some words that just make us uncomfortable, because they conjure unpleasant associations. Sickness, bodily functions, sexual activity, etc. For others, they see how strongly others react to a word and adopt those reactions themselves.