The Ain’t List–Words that Aren’t Words
Thanks to everyone who helped create this list. Some of the suggestions did not make this list, but did inpsire a list that will be coming soon–The Wal-Marks List–Words We Love to Misfronounce. Suposably, aks, nucular will all be on that list. Cohinkeydink found itself in no-man’s land living between this list and that list. Cudos to that word as well. Anywho, here is the list:
10. Unthaw. “I can’t drive to work yet. I’m waiting for the car to unthaw.”
Big thanks to Lee Greeson on this one. Sometimes it is easy to just add un-, non-, or ir- to a word and think we have said a legitimate word. We don’t realize that we possibly have either created a double negative or simply said something ridiculous. If you are going to use the non-word unthaw, you should at least have the decency to use it in the sense of needing to refreeze something that you have just thawed–”Company is not coming tonight after all. We will need to unthaw that meat.” Anywho, I am having a hard time staying unasleep. I need some caffeine.
9. Wanna, gotta, gonna, etc. “I wanna think of all the examples of this, but I’m gonna waste a lotta time if I do. I gotta get onta other stuff.”
Good old fashioned lazy contractions. In this case, we take a verb followed by “to” and make it one word. The great thing is that for the most part you don’t save syllables just the ability to no longer pronounce those difficult hard “t’s” and that awful “oo” sound. Now that I think about it, maybe we should let these lazy contractions become sanctioned words. It suredbe easier to typenstuff. (FYI, wanna and gonna don’t get the red line under them for a misspelled word. Nice.) (See also, woulda, coulda, shoulda)
8.Ginormous, hugemongous “There are some ginormous, hugemongous non-words here that are stupendousilistically great.”
Some non-words are annoying, some are slang, some are just a result of lazy talk. Some are just awesome and fun. Saying words like this makes you seem glamtastic, and people will think you are fantabulous. Seriously take two similar words that both mean big, great, fun, etc., put them together and you have a specatumous, awesomeriffic new word. (see also zillion, cagillion, bazillion, or any other conglomeration of letters and “illion” i.e. “Fellowship Cabot has a duggarillion kids in their church.”)
7. Brang, brung “Did you brang dessert for tonight? I remember you brung it last week. “
“Cloften, you are crazy. I remember parsing verbs in Jr. High. Sing, sang, sung. Bring, brang, brung.” Brace yourselves, brang and brung are not words. It is always brought. Your teachers will ding you on your papers every time. They have dung on my papers before. (Wait. What? Moving on)
6. Nother. “I am hoping that this list will take this blog to a whole nother level.”
Thanks to Jason Palik, student pastor extraordinaire, for this one. It doesn’t seem like you are creating a word here, but in fact, this is a great way to do that. It is like the opposite of a contraction; it is an insertion. Put the word “whole” in the middle of “another” and presto you have “a whole nother.” I am a tremendously mazed that we don’t do this more often.
5. Fixin’ to, fiddinda. “I’m fixin’ to tell a story about my mom that is hilarious. Then she is fiddinda say “goodness” and tell me that I should be ashamed.”
I spent a hugemongous amount of time, a gazillion times longer than I usually would (read 3o seconds), googling trying to find the etymology of “fixing to.” If someone knows that, I would love to hear from you. Anywho, this is one of my favorite stories to tell. My mom acts embarrassed when I tell it, but she loves attention. When I was teenager and leaving the house, I said that “I was fiddinda go.” She rebuked my bad grammar and said, “Don’t say fiddinda, say fixing to.” To which her smart-mouthed son replied, “Mom, if you’re going to correct my grammar, shouldn’t we go with ‘about to?’”
4. Orientate. “Sorry, I’m not sure where I am in this post. I need to get orientated.”** (See below for update)
“Stop it. That absolutely is a word” Then riddle me this, Batman: what is the difference between orient and orientate? You may believe that they mean the same and there is no difference. You would be sorta correct, but ya’ll should know that the big difference is that orientate is simply not a word. Pardon me, while I get back to writating this post.
3. Ya’ll, youse, you’ns, ya “Ya’ll need to stop making fun of Southerners, because you’ns ain’t much better than us. Youse could have folks listening and making fun of your dialect too. Ya never know.”
Isn’t it interesting that no matter where you’re from you feel that you can make fun of the way “those people” say the plural form of you?, which is, of course, you. For example, “Can youse believe the way those hayseeds say ya’ll?” and conversely, “Can ya’ll believe the way those Yankees say youse guys?” Maybe we could all come together and agree on one amalgamated form of you plural, “yous’llns?” If I can pull this off, there may be a Nobel Prize in my future.*(see footnote below)
2. Ain’t “You ain’t gonna believe that “ain’t” ain’t at the top of the list, but it ain’t.”
You would think ain’t would be a the top of the list, but youse will see soon why not. Don’t get me wrong, this is a hall of fame non-word. It gets a point for being a contraction. It gets a whole nother point for making the contractions it replaces shorter by being only one syllable. It gets a whole nother point that it simplifies conjugation: I ain’t, you ain’t, he/she/it ain’t, we ain’t you (p) ain’t, they ain’t. It gets a whole nother point for essentially establishing itself as a word over the years through shear grit and parent defiance. Well done “ain’t.” Well done.
1. Irregardless. “This is technically still work hours, irregardless I’m counting this as work.”
I know this may come as a surprise to many, but irregardless is not a word. Because no one who uses irregardless knows that it’s not a word makes it the mother of all non-words. People who use ain’t know it’s not a word. Still in doubt? Look at the sentence above and replace “irregardless” with the actual word “regardless.” It means what you want to mean when you say irregardless. Regardless is without regard. Irregardless would mean not without regard. Essentially it is a self-contained double-negative. You need to stop using it. You are making grammar nerds such as myself crazy. I guess there ain’t no way I could never make you stop using that word, irregardless of the facts. Anywho, if the prefix “ir” is important to you, try irrespective.
Well, that’s the list. With all do respect to one of my personal favorite non-words, “anywho,” I just didn’t think it was worthy yet. I’m the only I know who uses it. It’s awful, dorky and pointless–everything you want in a non-word. Go from here and use it with gusto.
*The statement about the Nobel Prize should not be taken as a dig at President Obama and should just be taken as a preposterous statement exaggerating the amount of goodwill that could be generated by getting Southerners and Northerners to agree on a common dialect. If you were offended take a deep breath and switch back to dailykos.com. If you laughed a little too hard, newsmax.com. If there was any political statement intended at all, it was so that I could write this footnote and make fun of the way both sides are so polarized and defensive and crazy. Except for your side, of course. Yous’llns are always right.
**Looking at this almost 6 years later. Turns out orientate is a word, used more commonly in the UK than in the US. #TypicalAmericanBias. So I’d like to nominate a new word to replace orientate and it’s not blimey or guv’nah
Acrossed–I can’t believe I had to go all acrossed this post to find this.
This is a favorite for me, as it is used sometimes by my beautiful wife and all the time by my awesome mother-in-law. You will notice that I spelled it acrossed and not acrosst which is how it seems to be pronounced. I do this because I believe that what is happening is that we are making across a verb and this is its past tense form. You see the point that I’m trying to get across? I’m surprised that it took so long for that to come acrossed my mind.