Avatar Words I Hate, Part 4

Words are the foundation of our language, the tools of our communication. As well as being useful to us, they can also be beautiful: the sounds they make and the feelings they evoke are all a fundamental part of the experience of human interaction.

Not all words are like this. Some words are stupid. Like this one.


I like Christmas. I like it an awful lot. I like presents and Christmas dinner and having a tree in the house. Given the warm, pleasant weather we’ve been having lately, with the sun high in the sky and the gentle breeze just keeping it cool enough to go out and enjoy yourself (or, conversely, to stay in and suffer sun guilt), my thoughts have naturally been turning to Christmas lately, and all these things I like about it.

I even like the shiny spangly ropes of gaudy plastic frill that get draped everywhere. I just hate their name. Tinsel. Written down it’s fine, but said out loud it has an unfortunate pairing of a T and an S that give the whole word the irritating sound of someone whispering nearby, or possibly a high-pitched whistling noise made by air escaping from a perished rubber seal on the back of an old fridge. For example. That’s not Christmassy at all. That’s just stupid. And that’s why we need to rename this delightful substance to something better. My suggestion is “spanglestrands”, a word that describes the article in question without making me want to scratch my ears. Perfect.

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