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.