Sunday, January 23, 2011

The New Most Awkward Word in the English Language

I asked in my last post whether anyone could come up with a word that is more awkward than "Jewess," which is what I said was the most awkward word in the English language. And I am pleased to say that one of you has done it.

The entries were as follows:

Cool-My-Ardor-Quick Sexual Lingo
"Dangle" and "moistness" were the entries in this category. I definitely see that any authors of erotic literature should never use these words, and can also see how they could be awkward in certain other circumstances. However, I can imagine situations where the awkwardly sexual tone of these words may go unnoticed. For example, there is moistness in the Hawaiian atmosphere. That was a non sequitur but besides that, I know it didn't kill you with its awkwardness or anything. If you weren't letting your imagination wander for a lot longer than you'd have time for in an actual conversation, that is.

Unintuitive Spellings
"Weird" and "solemn" were the entries here. I agree that these words are spelled a little awkwardly, but used in conversation, I would have to say that they're not awkward.

Other Old-Fashioned Slang Racial Terminology
I see where you're going with this, but the thing is, "Jewess" isn't slang. It's a totally legitimate English word. Like "poetess" except, you know, more awkward. The particular example offered in this category was "octoroon," which apparently is a person of one-eighth African ancestry. Once I looked that up on Wikipedia, I had to agree that it would be just as awkward as Jewess if it were as commonly-known a term, but the fact that it isn't sort of detracts from its awkwardness. Know what I mean?

And the Winner
is "niggardly." I literally cannot imagine any situation where it would not be awkward to say that word, and unlike Jewess, I don't see how it could even be used ironically. That's awkward for you.

Thanks to all who participated in this enlightening challenge, and well done.


  1. I meant solemn in written form. You didn't specify oral awkwardness that in the contest rules. I demand a recount!

  2. You're absolutely right, I didn't specify oral awkwardness. But I think you have to admit that if a word actually makes you feel physically uncomfortable, it's a little more awkward than a kind of weirdly unexpected spelling, regardless of what was specified. Mm?

  3. As an English instructor, I find this to be sheer genius lol.

  4. I definitely agree. I actually think back in the days when I had a Livejournal (hahaha), I had a blog post on the awkwardness of this very word! Great minds think alike :)

  5. Dangle is pretty commonly used to describe sweet sports moves. I lacked the imagination to transfer the word to the bedroom. Thanks for that.

    Related word: Dongle. I'm sure this could mean something even worse in a Fabio sex novel context.