Written Rambles

The Grossest Words in Existence

Despite its many faults (silent letters, synonyms, obscure spellings), the English language is beautiful. Felicity. Elision. Labyrinthine. No one can articulate (or, at least, I can’t) how certain letters combine to create sounds that are just pleasing to the ear. Likewise, no one can explain how the same letters can be mashed together to create the literary equivalent of fingernails dragging on a chalkboard. That is to say: some words in the English language are utterly repulsive to me for reasons I cannot explain. Some make me squirm. Some make me shiver. Some even make me write angry articles about my inexplicable hatred towards them. What follows falls under the last category.

I don’t care what a curd is or what it is not. All I care about is that the mere mention of it causes my insides to buy a pair of sweatpants, plop down on an imaginary couch and forswear their responsibilities to my body entirely, causing me to curl up on the floor and cry. (Okay, I’m exaggerating. My insides didn’t put on sweatpants. The pajamas they were already wearing were far too comfortable.) Curd also sounds like turd and bird and “oh mah gerd” and Murd (nick-name for people named Murtle or Murdusa, probably), all of which I hate. But, because I aim to keep my readers informed, the definition of curd is as follows: the part of milk that coagulates when the milk sours. Also, as long as we’re telling things, I secretly like One Direction and I constantly fear that I will fall over and die in the shower. Now you know.

In my opinion, the best kind of soup is the kind that does not have food of any kind floating in it. While this probably just means that I don’t like soup, it also represents my innate dislike for things that are “chunky” and the word “chunky” itself. The word chunky (that is the last time I will allow myself to type it) instantaneously produces multiple images in my mind: a bowl of vomit, children who eat McDonald’s for every meal, raisin bread, craisin bread, any other type of bread that has clumps of food that is not bread-related, etc. Nothing good has every started with chunks.

When you look up “festering wound” on Google, you get this:


I don’t know about you guys but any word that is gross enough to have a playing card named after it doesn’t deserve to ever be spoken in real life. “Ash used…festering wound! It was successful! Pus splatters from his opponent’s leg onto the crowd, who begin to regurgitate the chunky curds from that very morning.” Excuse me while I empty my insides.

In the Black Eyed Peas’ 2005 song “My Humps,” Fergie refers to her curves as her “lovely lady lumps.” Suffice it to say, I am emotionally disturbed by this lyric, not because I disapprove of Fergie’s remarkable self-confidence (you go girl!) but because the way she expresses it reminds me more of cottage cheese or one-week-old greek yogurt than it does a positive body image. Our female “wobbly bits” should not be referred to as “lumps” but rather, joyous mountains of love and greatness! Lumps should be used to describe large pimples or cancerous growths, not the human body. It is also the uglier sister word to “clump,” which is made only slightly more tolerable because of the “C” for reasons I cannot explain.


When it comes to nasty words, moist is the biggest offender. But what exactly is moist? Moist is when you step in a warm puddle wearing socks and for the next hour, your feet clop on the hardwood floor and your socks stick to your heels for a split second with every step. Moist is taking your clothes out of the dryer 10 minutes too early and feeling that lingering wetness rest upon your skin. Moist is a kitchen sponge that holds room-temperature sink water from the day before. Moist is when you wear your jacket in a hot room for too long and sweat droplets start to quiver from the pores under your arms. Most importantly, moist is gross.

What’s amazing about language, more than the construction of the words themselves, is the feelings that those words can inspire. Through the sounds and images that we associate with certain words, we are able to feel emotions by simply looking at a combination of symbols on a screen. Granted, sometimes those combinations create words that are downright repulsive but they can still be beautiful as long as they’re never spoken aloud. Some words are better left unsaid, after all.

Image via Shutterstock.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1246742403 Mallie Lanham

    Moist IS the grossest— some people don’t understand!! Thank You!! I can’t talk about cupcakes OR humid rooms wihtout one of my friends raggin’ on me… Validation. Deeply grateful.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=513770678 Carie Bosch

      me either. we discuss wet cupcakes and rooms with a lot of humidity. no one uses the “M” word in my presence. *shudder*

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=611083395 Madeleine Szaruga-Bolt

    I HATE the word ‘stinky’ – it sounds weird but when I hear it, I can almost smell something horrible!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=642461244 Lauren Croft

    OK, I’m so glad I’m not the only one who despises ‘moist’. It literally makes me shudder. Curd, however, is delicious (just ask the Canadians; poutine is the bomb!)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=622751355 Chrissy Sampson

    I particularly dislike the word “chutney.” While various types of chutney can be tasty (mango chutney, apple chutney, etc.)… the word itself is horrible.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1315121322 Elena Gregson

    Moist and chunk(y) are two of my most hated words, too! Moist and moisten were part of the spelling words I had to give my 5th graders recently and I was seriously tempted to omit them from the list. I cringed every time I had to say them aloud. PS I also hate the word “panties”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001391872039 Jenn Gardner

    I don’t get the moist thing. Maybe it’s because I think of things like brownies and cookies rather than wet socks. I also like the sound made by the -st combination. I wonder, though, why hoist is not on the list if moist is. Or foist. Everyone just says moist. I like moist cake. It’s much better than dry cake.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=518610263 Spring McClurg

    Love your list! It’s funny how curd is the first word in the list when we just had a hilarious discussion with one of our friends who brought 5 packages of bean curd on a camping trip. Needless to say none of it got eaten!

    What about adding the word yeasty?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=571970955 Des Jensen

    YES Moist 100,000% YES Oh how I hate that word. Not crazy about moisten either… moisture is okay though. And, Elena, I agree panties is also an uncomfortable word. I would just much rather say underwear and be done with the whole sordid affair.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=728770166 Maraí Flores

    Lily, the character from HIMYM, also hates the word moist. That being said, if you really really hate that word, you should not by any means see Barney’s play in that episode (Season 2, Episode 16).

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=513770678 Carie Bosch

      that episode is the funniest thing ever. although i, myself, despise the “M” word, i laughed so hard i cried during the scene with barney. but i laugh at everything barney does.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1612510192 Melissa Jade Murphy

    oh, yes, but: crusty. it beats chunky for a gross title in my book

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=655084049 Dana Boone

    I hate the word brains. Hate it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=58600970 Kelly Hackathorn Tackett

    Anti-“moist” is also from Dead Like Me, the character’s mom thought it sounded vaguely dirty, and got upset when her kids used it :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000463942877 Bartek Czajkowski

    If someone showed me this article six years ago I would have send an internet hate army here for mixing Magic: The Gathering with Pokemon…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000396873374 Shelly DeYoe

    Is it just me or should the words ‘puberty’ and ‘flaccid’ be on this list? Idk…but ‘panties’ and ‘moist’ are still pretty much the most painful to say. Bleh.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=507394007 Melanie Colwell

    Mine is ‘slice’. Every time I hear it, I imagine someone/thing slicing my throat. Ergh.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=47910974 Sherri Lamb

    As SOON as I saw the title of this, I looked at my husband and said “Oh God, I hope “moist” is on there.” Grossest word EVER!! Bleck.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=513770678 Carie Bosch

    tears are running down my face, and i am making weird choking sounds of laughter at the sheer accuracy of this. my sister in law posted it for me because of the disgusting “M” word, and yes, i feel validated. another disgusting word that is evil on its own and worse when combined with the “M” word is “panties.” excuse me while I now go and empy my stomach.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=611542237 Tyler Vendetti

    I didn’t realize how many awful words I missed until reading everybody’s comments. Panties. Slice. Brains. Crusty. Chutney. Flaccid. Yeasty. All vomit-inducing… Maybe I’ll make some sort of sequel to this article at some point.

    Thanks for reading everyone!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1507308816 Polly Bickford-Duane

    Great article, Ty…it’s time someone wrote about these abominations. Flaccid is probably my least favorite word. We had to use it in fifth grade during a plant experiment to describe the firmness of the leaves. And I agree with you on the word “chunky,” but I would never use it to describe vegetable soups… or (dare I say it?) moist raisin bread.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=773778290 Geoff Price

    Pustulous carbuncle.

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