It’s March, and time Marches on. Let’s steal a March on it by looking at another Word I Hate.
Many undergarments have ordinary-sounding names. Even something intentionally sexy, like a teddy (which is, of course, short for “teddington”) can have an unsexy name. But knickers? Nothing about it suggests something I want to get involved with. Nothing about it says “here is a thing that might attractively adorn a love interest”. It is even worse than “panties”, which frankly sound like a children’s name for pants and which should not be allowed in any romantic context ever.
Knickers starts with a deadly “kn” letter combination, a piece of linguistic showjumping that automatically takes the pleasure out of a word and gives it an ungainly appearance. And after that the rest of the word is all clacking c’s and k’s and a harsh sibilant ending. No smooth sounds here, no silky suggestions of a soft undergarment concealing the downstairs pleasure gardens of a lover or casual acquaintance. No. Just hard noises and an offputting spelling.
Knickers to it, I say.