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Formal alternative for “suck”

Since the word "sucks" does not have an origin that would make it a good word to use in many contexts, I want to know whether there is a cleaner alternative. I tried searching the thesaurus, but couldn't find any. Is there a cleaner alternative that can be used in all the contexts that "sucks" is used?

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marked as duplicate by Andrew Leach, Mahnax, MετάEd, kiamlaluno, Matt Эллен Sep 4 '12 at 10:07

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It depends. Can you give example context and sentences in which you'd want 'sucks' replaced? Are you wondering about 'Your dog died? That sucks' or 'That guy sucks at math.' or 'Go suck an egg' or 'Suck on it, dipwad!' or 'Where the bee sucks, there suck I" or etc, etc, etc. All these contexts are different. –  Mitch Aug 30 '12 at 19:34
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Why look for an alternative for all contexts? A one-size-fits-all word makes one's message almost meaningless. English has such a rich lexicon, why not find a specific word to express exactly what you mean? :) –  Zairja Aug 30 '12 at 19:43
    
    
Downvoters stink I guess. –  CodeBlue Aug 30 '12 at 21:06
    
-1 Please show the result of your research. –  MετάEd Sep 2 '12 at 6:46

2 Answers 2

While sucks is a verb form, most of the terms that convey similar meaing are adjectives. The primary connotation of sucks is that the referent, whether a person, object, action or state of being, is very bad or awful (as in That sucks).

There are numerous synomyms for awful, such as

abominable

atrocious

dreadful

terrible

unspeakable

painful

nasty

unpleasant

and

lousy

pathetic

poor

wretched

abysmal

dismal

ghastly

mean

miserable

worthless

While each of these might not be an ideal choice in all the contexts as the OP requests, many of them might suit in the particular context he or she is actually using.

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There is stinks:

v. (intransitive, informal) To be greatly inferior; to perform badly.

This is comparable to the definition of sucks:

v. (intransitive, slang) To be inferior or objectionable: a general term of disparagement, sometimes used with at to indicate a particular area of deficiency.

Also, blows:

v. (intransitive, slang) To be very undesirable (see also suck).

Instead of saying "this sucks", one could say "shucks!" or "nuts!" This would depend on how much something "sucks", of course.

shucks: Interjection
(colloquial) Exclamatory response to a minor disappointment.

nuts: Interjection
Indicates annoyance, anger, or disappointment.

To describe the sex act, you could say fellatio.

Finally, you can opt for sarcasm: "that's interesting" instead of "that sucks". This relies on delivery and how well your audience knows you, otherwise your words may be taken at face value.

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Agh, two downvotes. What am I doing wrong? Soliciting critiques, else I can delete. –  Zairja Aug 30 '12 at 20:05
    
"We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or specific expertise". Generally speaking, well reasoned answers which provide reliable citations to back up their claims are well received. –  MετάEd Aug 30 '12 at 20:33
    
@ΜετάEd Point taken. :) –  Zairja Aug 30 '12 at 20:50

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