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10 words you should retire from your vocabulary

May 18, 2012, 8:14 a.m.

There are certain words that you should never remove from your daily lexicon. Words like love, fun, cherish, rest, relaxation, and candy. Well, maybe you could stand to do without the candy -- or keep it in rotation as a once-a-week type word. There are some unusual words, however, that deserve a good banishing if for no other reason than they've overstayed their welcome. Here's a top 10 list of old words and phrases that you could stand to delete from your vocabulary. If you can plead "not guilty" to ever uttering any of these, give yourself a hearty pat on the back.

  1. Groovy. Okay, this is a word that was already out of date in the late 80s when it attempted to make a comeback. The fact is, using the word "groovy" in any other context other than to ridicule the word itself will cause you to stick out like a sore thumb, or a time traveler from a bygone era.
  2. Say. As in "Say, do you mind if I pet your dog?" This is a bit of a toughie because its use has become so ingrained in some people (and quite possibly even yourself) that you might not even realize you're using it. But all you really have to do is watch a few old black and white movies to recognize how frequently it was used back in the "old days"... and how out of place it sounds in regular use today.
  3. Golly. Many of you may claim innocence here, in part because it's always been a silly sounding word, ever since the day it was invented. Its use as an expression of surprise or delight, typically put in place of what may have come off as obscene ages ago -- "God!" -- is about as out of place today as a top hat or a monocle.
  4. Gee. See #3 above. This sucker just doesn't fit into today's lingo any more than those trousers you used to wear when you were a young buck. And speaking of trousers...
  5. Trousers. Apologies to those of you out there who may laugh and shake your head and claim that you've never used such an outdated word in all your life, but the fact is, it takes all types. If you've got to discuss the piece of clothing you use to cover your nether-regions and your legs, just call them pants. That way, nobody will crinkle their nose in confusion or point and laugh in your direction.
  6. Actress. Use this, and you might get a strange look and a denunciatory "Wow, grandpa (or grandma), get with the 21 st century!" The fact is, whether a thespian engaged in the performing arts is male or female, the politically correct terminology these days is the word "actor" for both sexes. It makes sense, after all -- both act, and the only thing that separates the two is gender.
  7. Hip or Hep. Regardless of which variation of this word you gravitate toward, it's no longer "hip" to use either one. When in doubt, just rely on the old standby: "Great."
  8. Neato. Unless you want to be identified as a refugee from the 1950s, you'll drop this word from your vocabulary like you would a bad habit: hard and fast. Even the word "neat" is questionable.
  9. Whippersnapper. One of the more unusual words invented to describe a young cocky person, use of this word is a dead giveaway that the person speaking the word is in possession of a lexicon of incredibly outdated old words and phrases.
  10. Dadgummit. While using the alternative expression of "damn it" might sound a bit racy to you, remember that we're living in a modern era where even kids can get away with such expressions without eliciting so much as a cross look from their parents.

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