5 Words You Must Avoid Like The Plague If You Don’t Wanna Sound Like Everybody Else In 2014

Now this is a risky blog post.

Some people might be offended. Some might think I suck. And some might even unsubscribe.

Because today? I’m gonna share the 5 words I don’t wanna hear in 2014.

Plus? The reasons why you should avoid these words in your copy like the plague if you don’t wanna sound boring and like everybody else.

And yes, there’s a chance you might be using some of these words right now! (Panic?)

But the truth is? I’ve been using some of them myself! Not all of them, mind you. But some? Yup! Guilty.

If you choose to agree or disagree, promise me one thing: That you’ll at least try and come up with 3 better words for each of the “forbidden ones” you’re guilty of using.

If you insist that there’s absolutely no replacement and the word is the one and only word in the Universe to describe exactly what you gotta say? Okay: Keep Saying it.

But if you manage to come up with at least ONE better option, I beg you! Use it!

Use this opportunity to NOT sound like everybody else.

But to STAND OUT instead.

To do something DIFFERENT.

And turn up the volume on YOUR VOICE.

So that you’re gonna be heard in 2014 and beyond!

Ready for the list?

1. Empowered

I know, I know, I’m starting with a biggie and y’all are gonna wanna pull my hair and throw rotten eggs at me for saying that. There might even be an angry mob of coaches waiting for me outside my front door already.

But I’m gonna say it anyway: Empowered? What the hell does that even mean?

It may have been a great word once. But now that everybody and their mama has it on their website? It’s time to let it go.

(Don’t hate me!)

Ok, how bout a compromise? If you GOTTA use it? At least explain what specifically you mean by it!

Or better yet: explain what it means to you!

Because the dictionary only says: “To invest with power, especially legal power or official authority.” and “To equip or supply with an ability”. Yawn.

An ability to do what? Power for what?

People need to know that!

So if you feel like “empowered” HAS to be in your copy, please be more specific and tell us a little more than that. Thank you!

2. Juicy

Another one that people might hate me for putting on that list.

But before you hate away, listen to me: I was a juicy-victim myself for quite a while.

Until? I read somewhere that saying “juicy” was pretty much for lazy douchebags and that the word itself has no actual meaning. That calling something “juicy” was just an excuse not to call stuff what it really is.

At first I was like “Screw you, imma say juicy as much as I want!” and resisted. But when I thought about it? I had to admit I was wrong. And that when you say “juicy” you could’ve at least come up with 3 other words that actually mean something instead.

Juicy was the lazy way out.

And so it had to leave.

(Of course you can always say juicy when you talk about juice! Or your ass. That works too!)

3. Big Girl Pant(ie)s

Ugh. That whole “cutesy” thing makes me wanna throw up in my mouth a little bit.

Oh, great you’re a big girl now and you even managed to put on some pants!

What, were you wearing diapers before?


It might be a personal thing, but that expression just annoys the crap out of me.

Why not say: “Grow a pair” instead?

Because when you do grow a pair? You don’t have to use words like “big girl pant(ie)s” anymore.

4. Awesomesauce


Just… no!

(Unless you’re talking about what you put on your spaghetti. No, wait! I’ve changed my mind. Not even then.)


Is that even a word? Did I spell it correctly? Or is it maybe #YOLO?

Instead of telling everyone that you only live once (which — by the way — is not true according to Buddha and Dr. Brian Weiss anyway)? How bout all the “YOLOs” out there just GET a fucking life of their own? And stop “yolo-ing” all over the internet. It just sounds like “yodeling” and it’s so freaking irritating.

If you wanna tell people that every moment is precious and that they should not waste their time waiting for a better tomorrow, because — guess what? — tomorrow might never come? Then please, go ahead. Tell us! Just promise to use actual words and not #yolo about it. Ever.

Ok, now it’s time for YOU to take action.

Did you ever use any of these words?

Then write down 3 better words that you are gonna use instead of the “forbidden one” you are guilty of using.

And share them in the comments!

Do you have other annoying, overused words to share? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear them!



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55 thoughts on “5 Words You Must Avoid Like The Plague If You Don’t Wanna Sound Like Everybody Else In 2014”

    1. Haha, in my face, Melanie!

      You’re right, it’s not easy. But it pays off to say something different. People will notice and welcome it as a pleasant surprise :)

  1. Oh… my gosh. I could go on and on about the words I see that irritate me! But, I don’t want to hurt anyones feelings. Ok Ok… I’ll just list one: “Amazeballs”-What does that even mean!? I’m a rebel when it comes to copy cat “copy” and don’t want to repeat any of the trendy words out there. So, while I may be considered ‘boring’ I’m going to hold my position on that! There’s great ways to express one self without these silly words. Then again, everyone has their style and some people might just like that!

    1. Hahaha, Teri! I was even considering “amazeballs”. It somehow reminds me of a big, furry cat?

      Anyway, you’re right that everyone has their own style (thank god!). But if you choose to use different words than everybody else, you won’t be boring at all! :)

    2. Ok Teri, I’m guilty of ‘amazeballs’, I use it ‘cos it’s kind of cute. But the one that makes my skin crawl? ALCHEMIST. WTF? That’s the first time I’m swearing online by the way.

  2. Ok, I’m guilty of using “empowered” but I like your advice to find a deeper meaning behind it. I normally use it when I should be saying something like “self sufficient”.
    The rest are SHIT. I would never touch them, I really don’t understand the appeal at all.
    Cool post.
    p.s. just after I read this I got an email with Juicy in the subject line. HA!

    1. Lol, Naomi! Juicy is so common. Just like empowered. That’s why I believe adding your own personal meaning works so well.

      Just write a sentence like “But first let me explain what “empowered” means to me” so that people really understand what you’re all about!

      i knew a lot of people use it, that’s why I put it first :) It’s not a “BAD” word, it just needs a personal touch!

  3. Ha! This made me laugh.

    When I was doing travel writing for a living, we had a white board where we listed tired, overused phrases like “world class” and “luxurious” that we all fell into the trap of using when describing cities and hotels all day long, and whenever we caught a colleague using one, that person had to put a dollar in the cliche jar.

    Which we then used to pay for a round at happy hour.

    Maybe one of the (few) downsides of working from home! No one else to pay for my drinks. (Or catch my cliches.)

    1. Oh I love the cliche jar!!!! SOOOO much better than a swear jar! Everybody should have one in my perfect world! ;)

      That’s exactly what I mean by “the lazy way out”. Sometimes you might really have to say empowered. But like 97% of the time? There’s something more specific you can come up with!

      Thanks for stopping by ;)

  4. I’ll still use empowered and juicy because they do have specific meanings for me and my readers. (Empowered means stepping into a mindset of possibility instead of problem-focused mind and juicy means delicious, decadent, highest-grade of satisfaction). But the other 3, never used them and probably never will. Especially because this girl wears thongs and not panties. ;-) Fun post Hannah!

    1. Hahaha, Lana! Thank you! And, yes: G-Strings to the world, lol!

      See, you got an explanation and that totally works! This way everyone will understand what it means to you and you won’t sound like everybody else :) win-win


    1. Totally feel you, Suzanne! They have been overused for quite a while unfortunately. Especially goddess irritates me as well!

      Thanks for sharing ;)

    2. I believe it depends on your ideal client or you, and the path that you are traveling in life. I’m not a fan of shunning words. It reminds me of people being shunned for expressing themselves. Words are creative expression. I use to have an issue with the word goddess however it became apparent to me while doing my personal work that it wasn’t the word that I had an issue with, it was stepping into my goddess energy which believe me, is far more powerful than masculine energy which many women are running. I do love the fun element of this post Hannah ;-)

      1. Thank you Sandra! And YES! — of course it all comes down to who you are and who your ideal customer is. I still believe that some of the overused words are easily replaceable with other effective words. We’ve had goddess filed under irritating here in the comments already ;) But this is just a general guideline and a challenge to come up with your own authentic words and phrases. It can be FUN :D

    1. Hahaha, fair enough Marsha! And like I said… I used to be a juicy-victim myself! Until I stopped and was like “what the hell does that even mean?”!

      1. ….Except “the sauce” (aka getting drunk). Not that I actually SAY that, but I definitely don’t want my happy hour to go away. ;) xo

        Awesome post, Hannah! I use a few of these (sometimes) but I think it’s just because they’ve saturated the Internet and therefore, my brain. Love that you pointed out using words like this & cliches are taking the lazy way out.

        To more creativity (and maybe a little harder work) in 2014!

  5. I love this. I’ve been following a blogger who uses those words all. the. time. Glad I found you…now where’s that other blogger’s unsubscribe link? ;)

  6. I like juicy, even though I never use it myself, but I’m attracted to it. But I hate, ABHOR, awesomesauce! Ugh! I guess it all comes down to personal preference, correct? I love the word “babe” but I know many people who hate being called “babe.” And I hate being called “Sweetie” or “Sweetiepie”…. Ahhh…the beauty of choices ;-)

    1. Yes, Sophie, it totally depends on what you’re talking about and who you’re talking to. But calling a product or service “juicy” leaves a lot of room for interpretation ;)

      I like babe too! Sweetiepie…. for a 4-year-old it’s appropriate I guess :D

    1. Thank you, Sarah!

      What… you mean like when people say “it’s DA BOMB.com”? Tough one. I guess I can live with that at least compared to awesome sauce and juicy. Because I don’t hear that one AS much. Do you? ;)

  7. Nice, very very nice. Plain ol’ awesome stays though okay? And may I add, for the love of all that is good and righteous in this world…stop lol-ing Stop It!!!

    1. Yes Ma’am! Awesome stays, because it’s legendary ;)

      I gotta be honest: I do use “lol” but only in comments (like here) or when texting. I wouldn’t use it in a blog post — or even worse SAY IT OUT LOUD? That’s just horrible ;)

  8. One thing I’m sick of is a phrase, not a word – when people say ‘this blog post is long so grab a cup of tea/coffee/smoothie etc’. Everyone says that! Do you think anyone actually gets up and gets a cup of coffee? No. It’s a way to apologize for a long post, which you shouldn’t do. Because if it’s great – don’t apologize and if it sucks – don’t post it. The end.

    1. Haha, I can see what you mean. If it’s an attempt to say “make yourself comfortable and take some time to really focus on this post” — then it’s okay, but what could you say instead? :) “open a bottle of vodka if you wanna survive this boring post”?

      If it’s an excuse for a long-ass post that could be much shorter, it sucks. Agree!

  9. Whoops. I use Empowered. It’s even in my newsletter tagline. Weekly dose of Entertainment, Empowerment and Education…….it just fits for me. I cross my heart promise not to use any of the others though!!!

  10. Funny, I tweeted today that I would scream if I saw the word badass or rockstar one more time. I’ve been on an unsubscribe spree cause I am sooooo sick of seeing those words! Been away from design and blogging for awhile and cannot believe how all of a sudden everyone is a “badass rockstar”. Gag.

  11. I’m really trying to think of a word to replace empower… and I can’t come up with one – open to suggestions. I agree with the others, I also HATE amazeballs. Let’s be honest here, balls aren’t really amazing, they’re kind of weird.

    1. Lol, Brooke!

      Well like I said: If you REALLY can’t come up with anything else, at least explain what exactly it means to you. Or why not just describe the actual feeling? Instead of “You’ll feel empowered” you could say “You’ll feel full of energy, confident, eager to take action”… whatever it means to YOU ;)

  12. Are you pumped for today has to be just as annoying. I hear it at work a lot, it is supposed to set us up for a busy day. But guess what? we sell burgers, we don’t go into battle. It is just a JOB! I am conscientious enough to do my best, whatever my best is – cliches like that actually put me off.

  13. This WHOLE post made me giggle. I admit, I have used ’empowered’. I think you’re spot on when you say it’s a catch all word that people use when they don’t know what else to say so thanks for reminding me (I’m being lazy – ha). I can barely even type the word ‘juicy’ let alone say it & I’ll go ahead & add ‘juice-s’, as in ‘creative juices’. I don’t know what those are but I certainly don’t want them ‘flowing’ anywhere around me.
    By the time I figured out what YOLO meant, I realized I was already too old to use it {sad face}.
    If I could add one to your list it would be a phrase: ‘I die’. I get that Rachel Zoe got that started & it was cute for like, one season of her show. Then it was over. I wish everyone would just let THAT one die.

    PS, found you via B School. ;)

  14. All I have to say is: Your post has empowered me to be conscious of using the word empowered, in context when I am attempting to empower others to be empowered to go out and create with the video training I provide.

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