10 Over Used Eng­lish Words and What You Can Use Instead

Here’s a great list for overused words!

                                          

  •  Lit­tle- small, insuf­fi­cient, minute, tiny, mea­gre, slight, mini, petite, brief, lim­it­ed 💡
  • Pret­ty- attrac­tive, beau­ti­ful, cute, ele­gant, good-look­ing, love­ly, pleas­ant, hand­some (for a male)
  • Saw- glimpsed, spied, gazed, looked, watched, observed, glanced 🙄
  • Com­fort­able- appro­pri­ate, com­pla­cent, con­ve­nient, cozy, easy, loose, pleas­ant, relaxed, use­ful, snug
  • Nice- like­able, agree­able, love­ly, friend­ly, kind, thought­ful, decent 🙂
  • Inter­est­ing- engag­ing, exot­ic, fas­ci­nat­ing, impres­sive, intrigu­ing, stim­u­lat­ing, unusu­al, strik­ing, love­ly, com­pelling 😯

And More Overused Eng­lish Words

  • Good- fine, excel­lent, great, mar­velous, won­der­ful, sat­is­fy­ing, ter­rif­ic, delight­ful 😀
  • Said- told, respond­ed, stat­ed, remarked, com­ment­ed, replied, exclaimed, men­tioned
  • Awe­some- amaz­ing, alarm­ing, aston­ish­ing, awful, awe-inspir­ing, dread­ful, breath­tak­ing, impos­ing, impres­sive, mag­nif­i­cent, won­der­ful 😛
  • Like- love, pre­fer, appre­ci­ate, fan­cy, enjoy, favour, want, adore 😉
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Word of the Day for January 9th!


verb

 1. to make a crackling sound; crackle. 

Quotes

Kate could hardly remember now the dry rigid pallor of the heat, when the whole earth seemed to crepitate viciously with dry malevolence; like memory gone dry and sterile, hellish.
– D. H. Lawrence, The Plumed Serpent, 1926

When she came into the room, shaking rain-pearls from the hem of her black coat, I could feel her excitement–when she was like that the air around her seemed to crepitate as if an electric current were passing through it.
– John Banville, Athena, 1995

Origin

Crepitate derives from Latin crepitātus, the past participle of crepitāre “to rattle, rustle, chatter,” a frequentative verb from crepāre and having the same meaning. The word entered English in the 17th century and meant “to break wind, fart,” a meaning that crepitāre had in Latin; the word’s politer senses date from the 19th century. 

Word of the Day for July 13th

  • noun

 1. the voice of the people; popular opinion. 

  • Quotes

Polls are certainly useful devices for plumbing the depths of the vox populi.
– James D. Williams, “Detroit News Poll Not Quite What It Seems,” The Crisis, June–July 1992

Because of the recent silencing of most European democracies, in the choice of Willkie that night there was, even to many cynical or Democratic ears, an exciting, stirring sound, as of vox populi.
– “From Life’s Correspondents: Flanner on Willkie,” Life, October 28, 1940

  • Origin

Vox populi is of Latin origin, and is often found in the maxim vox populi, vox Dei meaning “the voice of the people is the voice of God.” It entered English in the mid-1500s. 

Word of the Day for June 29th

adjective

 1. going beyond the requirements of duty. 

 2. greater than that required or needed; superfluous. 

  • Quotes

The manner of the Quartermaster had that air of supererogatory courtesy about it which almost invariably denotes artifice; for, while physiognomy and phrenology are but lame sciences at the best, the perhaps lead to as many false as right conclusions, we hold that there is no more infallible evidence of insincerity of purpose, short of overt acts, than a face that smiles when there is no occasion, and the tongue that is out of measure smooth.
– James Fenimore Cooper, The Pathfinder, 1840

But you are always given to surprise me with abundant kindness–with supererogatory kindness. I believe in that, certainly.
– Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Elizabeth Barrett Browning to H. S. Boyd, August 14, 1844

  • Origin

Supererogatory stems from the Medieval Latin superērogātōrius, with the root word ērogāre meaning “to pay out.” It entered English in the late 1500s. 

Word of the Day for June 28th

  • adjective

 1. (of a usually complicated technical or computer process) done, operating, or happening in a way that is hidden from or not understood by the user, and in that sense, apparently “magical”: I just downloaded an automagical update to my word processing software that somehow fixed the problems. 

  • Quotes

According to Sterling, the result “is that I no longer inventory my possessions inside my own head. They’re inventoried through an automagical inventory voodoo, work done far beneath my notice by a host of machines. I no longer bother to remember where I put things.”
– Marcus Boon, In Praise of Copying, 2010

 

The scientific community calls this approach “automagical” … The manufacturer wants us to believe in–and trust–the magic. Even when things work well, it is somewhat discomforting to have no idea of how or why.
– Donald A. Norman, The Design of Future Things, 2007

  • Origin

Automagical entered Engish in the 1980s. Its first element, auto, stems from the Greek autómatos meaning “self-moving”; magical can be traced to the Greek magikós. 

139 Old Norse Words in the English Language

139 Old Norse Words That Invaded The English Language

13_700_139-Old-Norse-Words-that-Invaded-the-English-Language

When I say “Old English” what comes to mind? The ornate, hard-to-read script? Reading Beowulf in your high school English class? The kinds of figurative compound nouns – or kennings – like “swan of blood” and “slaughter-dew” that have sustained heavy metal lyrics for decades?

Old English, also known as Anglo-Saxon, was a language spoken by the Angles and the Saxons – the first Germanic tribes to settle the British Isles. They were not the first inhabitants, as any Welsh or Gaelic speaker will tell you, but their language did form the basis for the Angle-ish we speak today. But then why can’t we modern-day English speakers understand Old English? In terms of vocabulary, grammar and syntax, Old English resembles its cousins Dutch and German more than it does modern English. So how did English change so drastically?

The short answer is that the English language changed forever after the Norman invasion brought a new ruling class of French speakers to the British Isles in 1066. French was the language of the nobility for the next 300 years – plenty of time for lots of French words to trickle down to the merchant and peasant classes. For example, the Anglo-Saxons already had words for “sheep” and “cows”, but the Norman aristocracy – who usually only saw these animals on the plate – introduced mouton (mutton) and boeuf (beef). Today, nearly thirty percent of English words come from French.

As a result, modern English is commonly thought of as a West Germanic language with lots of French and, thanks to the church, Latin influence. But this history of English’s development leaves out a very important piece of the linguistic puzzle – Old Norse: the language of the Vikings.

How To Speak Viking

The Old Norse noun víking meant an overseas expedition, and a vikingr was someone who went on one of these expeditions. In the popular imagination, the Vikings were essentially pirates from the fjords of Denmark and Norway who descended on medieval England like a bloodthirsty frat party; they raped, pillaged, murdered, razed villages and then sailed back across the North Sea with the loot.

But the truth is far more nuanced. The earliest Viking activity in England did consist of coastal raids in the early ninth century, but by the 870s the Danes had traded sword for plow and were settled across most of Northern England in an area governed by treaties known as the Danelaw. England even had Danish kings from 1018 to 1042. However, the more successful and longer-lasting Norman conquest in 1066 marked the end of the Viking era and virtually erased Danish influence in almost all aspects of English culture but one: its effect on the development of the English language.

Traust me, þó (though) it may seem oddi at first, we er still very líkligr to use the same words as the Vikings did in our everyday speech. Þeirra (their) language evolved into the modern-day Scandinavian languages, but þeir (they) also gave English the gift of hundreds of words.

[A note on the letter þ: the Old Norse letter, called thorn, makes the same sound as the “th” in “thin”.]

Names of Days

The most obvious Viking influence on modern English is the word Thursday(Þorsdagr), which you can probably guess means “Thor’s day”.

“Tuesday”, “Wednesday” and “Friday” are sometimes also attributed to the Norse gods Tyr, Odin and Freya, respectively; but the days are actually named for the Anglo-Saxon equivalents of these gods, Tiw, Wodan and Friga. The similarity of these names points to the common ancestry of the various Germanic tribes in prehistoric northern Europe – centuries before their descendants clashed on England’s shores.

War & Violence

If the Vikings are famous for one thing, it’s their obsession with war. They didn’t just bring death and destruction to England in the Middle Ages, they brought really cool words for death and destruction. They were certainly a rough bunch. Just look at a Viking the rangr way, and he might þrysta (thrust) a knifr into your skulle.

  • berserk/berserker – berserkr, lit. ‘bear-shirt’. A berserkr was a Viking warrior who would enter battle in a crazed frenzy, wearing nothing for armor but an animal skin.
  • club – klubba. People have been bashing each other with heavy things since time immemorial, but not until the Danes started bringing this weapon down on English heads did this blunt weapon receive its fittingly blunt name.
  • ransack – rannsaka (to search a house)
  • These days, the adjective scathing is reserved for sharp criticism, but in the context of the original meaning of scathe (to injure), skaða takes on a much more visceral quality.
  • slaughter – slatra (to butcher)
  • Even though the gun wasn’t invented until centuries after the Viking era, the word comes from Old Norse. The most common usage was in the female name Gunnhildrgunn and hildr both can translate as “war” or “battle”. Only truly badass Vikings named their infant daughters “Warbattle”.

Society & Culture

But life in the Danelaw wasn’t all murder and mayhem. Ironically, these savage berserkers also gave us words that are central to our “civilized” culture:

bylaw – bylög (village-law) sale – sala
heathen – heiðinn (one who inhabits the heath or open country) skill – skil (distinction)
Hell – In Norse mythology, Loki’s daughter Hel ruled the underworld. steak – steik (to fry)
husband – hús (house) + bóndi (occupier and tiller of soil) = húsbóndi thrall – þræll (slave)
law – lag thrift – þrift (prosperity)
litmus – litr (dye) + mosi (lichen; moss) tidings – tíðindi (news of events)
loan – lán (to lend) troll
saga yule – jol (a pagan winter solstice feast)

Animals

Although most English animal names retain their Anglo-Saxon roots (cow, bear, hound, swine, chicken, etc) the Vikings did bring certain animals names into the vernacular:

  • bug – búkr (an insect within tree trunks)
  • bull – boli
  • reindeer – hreindyri
  • skate – skata (fish)
  • wing – vængr

Some words associated with hunting and trapping also come from Old Norse. Sleuth now means “detective”, but the original slóth meant “trail” or “track”. Snare, on the other hand, retains the original meaning of O.N. snara.

The Landscape

Old Norse is good at describing bleikr landscapes and weather. This was especially useful in the Vikings’ adopted northern England, where flatr or rogg (rugged) terrain can be shrouded in fok, and oppressed by gustr of wind and lagr (low) ský(clouds).

Much of the Danelaw bordered swamps and alluvial plains, so it’s no surprise that many Norse words for dirty, mucky things survive in English:

  • dirt – drit (excrement)
  • dregs – dregg (sediment)
  • mire – myrr (bog)
  • muck – myki (cow dung)
  • rotten – rotinn

The Norse Legacy in English

Thanks to the cross-cultural fermentation that occured in the Danelaw – and later when England was temporarily absorbed into Canute the Great’s North Sea Kingdom – the English language is much closer to that of its Scandinavian neighbors than many acknowledge. By the time that the Norman conquest brought the irreversible influence of French, Old English had already been transformed beyond its Anglo-Saxon roots.

This is still in evidence today; modern English grammar and syntax are more similar to modern Scandinavian languages than to Old English. This suggests that Old Norse didn’t just introduce new words, but influenced how the Anglo-Saxons constructed their sentences. Some linguists even claim that English should be reclassified as a North Germanic language (along with Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic and Swedish), rather than a West Germanic language (with Dutch and German). The Viking influence may be most apparent in the Yorkshire dialect, which uses even more Norse words in daily speech than standard English does.

English is probably too much of a hybrid to ever neatly classify, but its Old Norse rótis clearly there among the tangle of Anglo-Saxon, French and Latin roots. The language of the Vikings may have become subdued over the centuries, but make no mistaka about it – from byrðr (birth) undtil we deyja (die) – Norse’s raw energy simmers under the surface of everything we say.

More Norse Words

VERBS
bark – bǫrkr rid – rythja (to clear land)
bask – baðask (reflexive of baða, “to bathe”) run – renna
billow – bylgja scare – skirra
blunder – blundra (to shut one’s eyes; to stumble about blindly) scrape – skrapa
call – kalla (to cry loudly) snub – snubba (to curse)
cast – kasta (to throw) sprint – spretta (to jump up)
choose – kjósa stagger – stakra (to push)
clip – klippa (to cut) stain – steina (to paint)
crawl – krafla (to claw) stammer – stemma (to hinder or dam up)
gawk – ga (to heed) sway – sveigja (to bend; to give way)
get – geta take – taka
give – gefa seem – sœma (to conform)
glitter – glitra shake – skaka
haggle – haggen (to chop) skip – skopa
hit – hitta (to find) thwart – þvert (across)
kindle – kynda want – vanta (to lack)
race – rás (to race, to move swiftly) whirl – hvirfla (to go around)
raise – reisa whisk – viska (to plait or braid)
OBJECTS
axle – öxull (axis) loft – lopt (air, sky; upper room)
bag – baggin mug – mugge
ball – bǫllr (round object) plow, plough – plogr
band (rope) raft – raptr (log)
bulk – bulki (cargo) scale (for weighing) – skal (bowl, drinking cup)
cake – kaka scrap – skrap
egg seat – sæti
glove – lofi (middle of the hand) skirt – skyrta (shirt)
knot – knutr wand – vondr (rod)
keel – kjölr window – vindauga (lit. “wind-eye”)
link – hlenkr
ADJECTIVES THE BODY
aloft – á (on) + lopt (loft; sky; heaven) freckles – freknur
ill – illr (bad) foot –fótr
loose – lauss girth – gjörð (circumference)
sly – sloegr leg – leggr
scant – skamt (short, lacking) skin – skinn (animal hide)
ugly – uggligr (dreadful)
weak – veikr
PEOPLE EMOTIONS
fellow – felagi anger – angr (trouble, affliction)
guest – gestr awe – agi (terror)
kid – kið (young goat) happy – happ (good luck; fate)
lad – ladd (young man) irk – yrkja (to work)
oaf – alfr (elf)

Word of the Day!

Word of the Day : April 5, 2016

declension
noun dih-KLEN-shun

Definition

1 : the inflectional forms of a noun, pronoun, or adjective

2 : a falling off or away : deterioration

3 : descent, slope

Examples

The most common declension in modern English is the set of plural nouns marked as plural with a simple “-s.”

“You jump in and begin seeing and hearing simple words in the foreign language and start translating, learning nouns, verbs, and other parts of speech without memorizing declensions and without tears.” — Reid Kanaley, The Philadelphia Inquirer, 2 May 2016

Did You Know?

Declension came into English (via Middle French) in the first half of the 15th century, originating in the Latin verb declinare, meaning “to inflect” or “to turn aside.” The word seems to have whiled away its time in the narrow field of grammar until Shakespeare put a new sense of the word in his play Richard III in 1593: “A beauty-waning and distressed widow / … Seduc’d the pitch and height of his degree / To base declension and loath’d bigamy.” This “deterioration” sense led within a few decades to the newest sense of the word still in common use, “descent” or “slope.” The 19th century saw still another new sense of the word—meaning “a courteous refusal”—but that sense has remained quite rare. 

Listen to the Word of the day!

Make it a Great Day!

XX Jill

Today’s Word Fact is Whom

  

Over the last 200 years, the pronoun whom has been on a steady decline. Despite its waning use in speech and ongoing speculation about its imminent extinction, whom still holds a spot in the English language, particularly in formal writing. Understanding when and how to use this embattled pronoun can set your writing apart.

Whom is often confused with who. What’s the difference between these two pronouns? Who is a subjective-case pronoun, meaning it functions as a subject in a sentence, and whom is an objective-case pronoun, meaning it functions as an object in a sentence. Who, like I, he, she, and they, performs actions, as in Who rescued the dog? (who is doing the rescuing in this sentence). Whom, like me, him, her, and them, is acted on, as in Whom did you see? (whom is being seen here, not doing the seeing). Whom more commonly appears when it follows a preposition, as in the salutation To Whom it may concern (Does it concern he? No. Does it concern him? Yes.) or in the title of Ernest Hemingway’s 1940 novel For Whom the Bell Tolls.

How do you decide which one to use? When in doubt, substitute him (sometimes you’ll have to rephrase the sentence) and see if that sounds right. If him is OK, then whom is OK. If the more natural substitute is he, then go with who. For example: You talked to whom? It would be incorrect to say You talked to he? but saying You talked to him? makes grammatical sense.

That said, in informal speech and writing, speakers will often opt for who where whom has traditionally been used. This choice sounds more natural and less formal to most native English speakers.

Do you ever use whom?

Please let me know if you’ve had trouble with whom in the past, I know I did! 

Does this help with when and where to use it?

Have a wonderful day!

All My Best, 

Jill