Hello Dear Readers,

How have you been?

Something different for this week.

Words and I are old friends. My love for beautiful words developed early. As a child, I vividly remember ‘Miracle’ was my favourite word. It was not just the meaning but the way the word rolled on the tongue when I said it. As a teenager, I loved words like ‘Aurora’, ‘Plethora’, ‘Attraversiamo (Italian)’ and ‘Nirvana’ (Buddhist). But my favourite English word was and still is ‘Serendipity’ – Everything about this word, to me, is perfect – the sound, the meaning, all of it.

I have always believed in the power of words. If used correctly they can heal the deepest of wounds or murder the kindest of spirits.

Today’s post is about five English words (or any other language) that I feel we were better off without. They are in the order of my dislike for them (Most to least)

Orphan

Most Common Definition: a child bereaved of one or both parents, generally the latter.

I believe the demon invented this word. Who else would want to ‘label’ a child who has lost his/her parents? Isn’t it enough that the child, often at a very young age, has lost both parents and might grow up with a void that may never really fill? Does he/she need to grow up with a label in addition that others can use to mock or belittle him/her?

One might argue that the word helps in creating awareness and generate sympathy for the unfortunate children. But would it have been really that difficult to love a child without the label?

The word is also used as a verb which is equally cruel.

More about this word here.

Slave

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Most Common Definition: a person who is the chattel or property of another

Although no longer used openly, I believe this word should not have been invented in the first place. Master, who by definition is someone who has acquired complete knowledge of a subject is often used as opposite of slave. The invention of a concept where one human treats another as a possession or a property to be used until exhaustion shows the lowest level to which humans can stoop.

More about the word here.

Barren

Most Common Definition: incapable of producing its kind (of female animals, plants).

My dislike for this word knows no bounds. It makes my feminine instincts kick in when I hear this word suffixed with ‘woman’. The adjective is not only a label but a judgement in itself, killing hope and making the woman feel less in just two syllables.

Whether by choice or a medical condition, this derogatory term is one of the cruellest words invented to belittle women. Funnily, there is no male equivalent to this word.

More about this word here.

Virgin

Most Common Definition: Unmarried or chaste woman noted for religious piety and having a position of reverence in the Church

Yet another label for women (now also used for men, I understand) which decides if she is ‘pure’, ‘chaste’ and ‘reverential’. Often used as a judgement of a woman’s character. How one came up with the idea of measuring a person’s character and purity of mind based on the state of the reproductive organs is beyond me.

More about this word here.

Husband/Wife

Most Common Definition:

Husband – a married man considered in relation to his spouse.

Wife – a married woman considered in relation to her spouse

These words do not really come in the ‘dislike’ category but I feel it is high time the words are made obsolete. By using unisex terms like spouse and partners, the boundaries of marriage can be extended to all humans with no bar on their preferences or sexual orientations. It may also help in bringing equality between the two partners. Marriage, after all, is the legally or formally recognized union of two people as partners in a personal relationship

More about these words here.

Come to think of it, it is not so much the words themselves but the way we perceive and use them is what makes them derogatory and unacceptable.

That is all I had for today. I’m sure there are many more words like these that you might have come across. Please do share them with me in the comment section. If you do not agree with any of the above five, feel free to comment why too.

Featured Image: Photo by Pixabay from Pexels


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Ashwini


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2 thoughts on “Five Words That Should Have Never Been Invented

  1. Well written and an interesting article, got me thinking about the words I like. There popped up many, Beautiful, Balance, serenity, blissful and many more. One word in particular that stood out was “Yin-Yang”. It is actually two words , usually used in conjunction encapsulating an entire philosophy in it. Fascinating, isn’t it ?! The general idea behind the word is to propose the following philosophy , “There is a little good inside evilness and a little evil inside goodness”.

    This again got me thinking about the five words you have mentioned. 5th word of “Husband/wife” being replaced by a more gender neutral, “Spouse” is a welcome suggestion and might happen in the due course of time. The other four words however though, are they just derogatory words of judgement ?! Or are they also powerful words to express oneself ?!

    I have written four statements below using these words. After reading them, you can tell me if they’re just derogatory words of judgement or powerful words of expression –

    1. “Introverts are like the orphaned flowers in the modern society”
    2. “Have we mastered the modern technology ? Or are we enslaved by it ?”
    3. “The barren land looked up towards the sky in hopes of rain”
    4. “He picked up the broken pieces of his virgin heart, untouched by love once again”

    Hope I have given you something to ponder over.

    1. @Harish: Wow! It makes me happy that you took time out to write such an insightful and lengthy comment. Thank you for that πŸ™‚

      Yin-Yang is also one of my favorite words and so is serenity.

      Coming to the four lines that you mentioned. These are very beautifully articulated lines that are not really used in colloquial speech.
      The 4 words that I have mentioned were not invented with the purpose of using them as verbs or adjectives like you did. They were invented to be used as nouns. Mostly to represent people.
      You can see this in the etymology links I have cited. (Various other sources online can also vouch for this)
      These 4 sentences came much later when creative writing took birth and saying things the normal way did not seem enough. Shakespeare for instance was known for his linguistic inventiveness where he took a preexisting word and tried to use it as verbs. Eg: Barber – John was barbered by Smith to make him presentable.

      Like I have mentioned in the post, it is not so much the word in itself that is derogatory but the way people use it and the intention behind inventing them.

Let me know your thoughts on this post. Comment below :)