Sunday, January 18, 2009

Happy Thesaurus Day

Today is Thesaurus Day. Which word do you wish people would replace with a synonym so that you'd hear less of it?


That's an easy one.

The overused word of the decade is: IMPACT

That is, when the word impact is used to mean "affect" or "influence", especially when people make a verb out of it. Examples: The bad economy will adversely impact our business. The music of Eric Clapton had a great impact on the guitar player's style. The price of gas is impacting the sale of SUVs.

I would reword the above sentences as: The bad economy will adversely affect our business. The music of Eric Clapton had a great influence on the guitar player's style. The price of gas is affecting the sale of SUVs.

I prefer to limit the usage of this word to its primary meanings of either "collision" or to refer what happens to some wisdom teeth. Examples: The impact of the crashing cars sent glass flying everywhere. He went to the dentist for his impacted wisdom teeth.

I dislike the overuse of "impact" as it reeks of jargon, buzz words, and trendiness. This is perhaps because it is most often ubiquitous where jargon tends to be the most rampant: among politicians and military officials, and in the business world.

2 comments:

Roger Bell said...

...and we should not forget the impacted bowel. Journalists just keep on wrongly using impact too. Is English actually taught in schools any longer?

Libertine said...

I forgot about that one, but I suppose it fits into a similar sense of meaning that "impact" has when referring to teeth.