Be engaging *and* amazing

Last week, an email from my friend Tom (aka., “The Blogfodder”) made me laugh out loud:


Formerly associated with starry-eyed postpubescent couples or the mechanism used to deliver power to the drive apparatus of a machine such as a corn-picker, “engaging” has found new relevance as the adjective of choice for one of the world’s largest companies. With its seventh appearance in copy within 48 hours, “engaging” nudges past “impactful” for 2011’s first designated Word We Will Come to Hate.

I agree with Tom that “engaging” is indeed annoying, but I still hate “impactful” more: The latter reminds me of constipation, for some reason. (And don’t even get me started about “robust.”)

Why is it that we’re naturally drawn to some words, while others rub us the wrong way? I found a rather insightful article at

Among my favorite discoveries: A lot of people hate the word moist. (Really? Even when it precedes  “cookies”?) And at least one person hates “amazing.”

Amazing” just drives me nuts! It is so over used by everyone, everywhere. I don’t think they really understand the meaning of the word; there can’t be that many totally surprised people on this planet.

I felt the sting of accusation: I’ve used “amazing” in this very blog exactly 30 times since May 25, 2009. Oops … make that 31. Isn’t that amazing? (32)

But maybe it’s OK in my case, since I do know the meaning of “amazing”—and since, most days, I really am “totally surprised.”

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