Saturday, February 19, 2005

My least favourite word

The good news: The 21st century’s three most annoying words -- phat, shizzle and booyah -- have retired to a dusty corner of the museum of modern slang.

The bad news: They have been replaced by an even more irritating word -- snap!

Made popular by its meaningless versatility, the ubiquitous "snap" can be used in any context.

As in: "Snap, guy! You got punked."

It also serves as a handy expression to exclaim anger or happiness.

As in: "Snap! I forgot to record the O.C. last night."

Or: "Snap! I won the lottery."

For reasons I don’t really understand, hearing "snap" in this context provokes a strong visceral reaction. As if an earwig had crawled into my ear while I was sleeping only to wake me up with a hysterical beating of its wings against my eardrum, causing me to bolt out of bed screaming "Get it out! Get it out!"

Don’t get me wrong. I like the malleable nature of the English language. New words can be fun – like bootylicious.

But they can also be snappingly obnoxious.

15 comments:

Rob Cottingham said...

Maybe it's the beginning of a new trend of onomatopoeia -- you know, saying "snap!" instead of actually snapping your fingers. Soon we'll have people turning to each other in elevators and whispering "Fart." The last episode of NYPD Blue will feature an angry officer storming into the locker room and yelling "Wham!" instead of punching a wall. Audience members in concerts will shout "Clap! Clap!" at the end of every song. And Vancouver drivers will simply say "screeeEEEEeeeech -- CRUNCH!" instead of ever getting into their cars...

Sarah said...

Ha! But the thing I can't figure out about "snap" is that I don't think it has anything to do with the sound of fingering snapping. It's just random. I feel old just writing this :)

Sarah

thestraightpoop said...

Can we turn this into a "stuff that people say that makes me want to rip my hair out" sort of a discussion group?

I personally HATE in the same way as you hate "snap" (although that grates on my last nerve too) the "it's all good" crap that has pervaded normal speech.

Suddenly my friends are saying "Hey don't worry, it's all good..." and not only are they saying it but they are saying it in a WAY that makes my skin crawl.

How to write it. It's ALL GOOD. Like no probs, no worries, it's all good.

Ugh, I can't even put it into words. It's probably for the best. If I could I might be writhing on the floor in convulsions anyway.

Anonymous said...

This reeks of some 'groom the perfect child' phenomenon where words of any sort are thrown into everyday speech as a substitute for a curse. This s**t stinks, I tell you.

I made it through a high school where a bunch of kids opted for 'Pick!'. Anything a little racier than this raised hands to cover mouths opened, aghast. Then followed the Tsk-Tsk's.

I would much rather say 'Fuckeneh, I won the lottery!', than 'Golly...' or 'Snap...'.

Sorry folks, non-curses don't cut it where curses go. Swearing when you want to swear reduces stress, too, so get with the program.

Oh, and drop the 'It's All Goooood', for snap's sake.

Sarah said...

I'm glad to hear other people hate "it's all good" too. It's like nails on a chalkboard for me.

I also can't stand the stoner favourite "sweet." Or the Paris Hilton "that's hot." So, so annoying.

I like "frig" though. As an adjective "friggin" is even better. I also like the word "hoser" and "eh." So 1980s hoser Bob & Doug McKenzie, but I'm trying to revive it, eh.

Sarah

thestraightpoop said...

Oh god, I find myself saying "sweet" and want to choke my own neck. I also say "niiice" sometimes, and that bothers me. Sometimes I can barely stand to hang out with myself. Oh well. It's all good. hee hee.

There are some phrases my Mom just hates, such as "at this point in time" and "give it one hundred and ten percent" so I once wrote a piece for her using every last one. She almost crawled out of her skin, but laughed until she had tears streaming down her face.

Good stuff!

Anonymous said...

Do people still say 'skookum' out there?

-E

Sarah said...

"Do people still say 'skookum' out there?"

Um, no. Does anyone, anywhere still say skookum? What is skookum?

Sarah

Kathryn said...

Would have to agree with you on the whole "snap" thing --- and that includes that really annoying trend of replacing a handshake with a snap (or maybe I am just jealous because I don't know how and would look really dorky if I tried??). Also in full agreement with "it's all good" and would like to add "irregardless" to the list of hated words --- IT's NOT A WORD!!!!!! and when I actually heard counsel use it not once, but 6 times during an argument IN COURT, it was all I could do to contain myself. Okay, better now ...

KC

The Black Rose said...

Well my shiznits, just thought I'd shizzle yo' nizzle with my phat opinion:

I think the reason we hate "snap" so much is because it's a fad just like that overplayed song you hear on the radio every snappin' hour. Like Sarah pointed out, it's so random - a catchword popularized by the movie Zoolander. Sadly, this may also be a reflection of our age and being less susceptible to change (i.e. we would rather rely on old standbys like f&*k and sh#t).

Ever wonder why you're okay with the word biyatch/beotch? Is it because it's a derivative of a word we're comfortable using in that context (you bitch!)whereas "snap" is something we attribute to what we do with our fingers and doesn't make sense as a substitute for f@#k or sh*t? Maybe I need to be an ambiturning merman to "get it"...

The Black Rose said...

I really really really hate it when people say "irregardless" as well.

Anonymous said...

Sarah,

I always heard 'skookum' used as an adjective, as in "did you see his new ride, it's pretty skookum". I think it was an abbreviated form of skookumchuk meant to mean good. dunno.

-E

Sarah said...

I hate, hate, hate biyatch!! If someone's a bitch, they're a bitch. Not a biyatch. Say what you mean.

Sarah

Rob Cottingham said...

On skookum... a few years ago, CBC Vancouver had an interview with someone who was studying Chinook, a trade language used by First Nations of the Pacific Northwest; it wound up contributing a few words to English.

I seem to remember the interviewee saying skookum meant fast, and skookumchuk meant fast water. The Wikipedia, however, seems to think skookum meant big and mighty, and in English, frickin' awesome. (I don't mean to open debate on "frickin'", by the way.)

FWIW: My dad recognized the word when I asked him about it after the show; he used to use it to mean "fast". (I miss him. This is exactly the kind of conversation he loved.)

Sarah said...

Well, I guess it's true... you do learn something new every day :)

Sarah