Word aversion is the feeling of discomfort or even disgust triggered in people by a certain word—not because it was used incorrectly, but because the sound of the word itself is displeasing. What can explain this phenomenon? Jason Riggle, a professor of linguistics at University of Chicago, believes it’s part instinct, part cultural exposure. There are some words that just make us uncomfortable, because they conjure unpleasant associations. Sickness, bodily functions, sexual activity, etc. For others, they see how strongly others react to a word and adopt those reactions themselves.
What this means for marketers is that there’s a collection of words that should not pop up in your content, unless you absolutely have to use them, or unless you’re using them correctly. This latter point is important, because besides turned off by certain words, some readers may also feel annoyed at seeing a word misused—even if the mistake is a common one.
See if any of the following raises your ire: