A friend asked me to review a marketing blurb for her business. She wanted to know if the words proposed by the marketing company were overused. The word was awesome which is definitely overused in all of its forms including awesomeness and awesomely. After consulting my trusty Thesaurus I made a suggestion to replace these essentially empty words with something that actually means something.

That got me thinking about those words that are so overused or misused that they become meaningless. These three are the main ones that drive me crazy:

Amazing as in, “You look amazing!” or “This meal is amazing!” Amazing means: causing great surprise, wonder, or astonishing. Does a meal or person’s appearance really cause you to experience great surprise or wonder? Constant and incorrect use of this word is the worst offender on my list.

Awesome as in “Your awesome self” or “This was an awesome day!” And the other examples above make me cringe. The word actually means: extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring great admiration, apprehension, or fear. In this correct usage example,”The awesome power of the atomic bomb,” the word has real meaning.

Authentic as in “She’s very authentic.” The actual definition of authentic is “of undisputed origin; genuine.” You see this frequently in interviews about movie stars. I think they are trying to say someone is down to earth or real. Why not just say that instead?
Interestingly, the overused words that bug me all begin with the letter “A”. That wasn’t intentional. Do you have overused words that really make you want to scream? Add them in the comments section and I’ll compile a list and publish it later this summer.


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