Hate That Word

Hate That Word!


I’m reading a book by an Irish writer living in New York. It drew me in from the first pages and I was thoroughly enjoying it until – in slipped the word ‘gobsmacked’. I hate that word so I looked it up to see why we use it and where it came from, the origins are not clear. It is made up of the Yorkshire slang word for mouth, as in, ‘Shut yer gob’ and the ‘smack’ part is what it says, in other words a smack in the mouth. The ‘smack’ part could mean a kiss, according to some sources, but as the full word means to be utterly astounded; extremely shocked or become speechless a kiss doesn’t quite fit. It seems that Chris Patten, the last governor of Hong Kong and not a popular man, can be blamed for its common use nowadays. He used it quite regularly along with much other slang.  However, I didn’t let it put me off the book until it came again, and then again a few pages later, time to get serious. This book needs editing, it’s littered with poor grammar and spelling mistakes, published by Transworld Ireland.  The storyline is excellent but I have been totally put off reading it by that one slang word.


3 thoughts on “Hate That Word

  1. Apparently only been around since the 1980s, Jeanne, although it feels longer. I suppose it is a case of a phrase gives a visual expression – a hand smacking the mouth in astonishment. It’s amazing, isn’t it, how a word or phrase can be so irritating, even to the extent of putting us off the writing as a whole. My pet hate is the phrase,”at this moment in time.” What’s wrong with, “now?”

  2. Yes, Ann, and that’s why we have Lord Patten to blame. I too don’t like that phrase and awesome makes me shudder, especially if it comes with an American accent.

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