4

Rich Halls famously coined Sniglet as

any word that doesn't appear in the dictionary, but should

Is there a word/short-phrase for a word that does exist, but shouldn't?

Examples:

He referred to the man by a term so vile, the word itself should be _____.

After six hours of listening to corporate double-speak, he came to regard every buzzword as a _____, invented simply to annoy him.

1

Your question seems to ask for an adjective (JEL's spurious not only works well but is fun to use), a verb, and a noun. Here are a verb and two nouns for your fill-in-the-blanks.

He referred to the man by a term so vile, the word itself should be exorcised.

exorcise -- to get rid of something evil, troublesome, menacing, or oppressive -- http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exorcize

After six hours of listening to corporate double-speak, he came to regard every buzzword as an abomination, invented simply to annoy him.

abomination -- something that causes disgust or hatred -- http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abomination (... and, often, thought of as a defilement of nature)

After six hours of listening to corporate double-speak, he came to regard every buzzword as anathema, invented simply to annoy him.

anathema -- someone or something intensely disliked or loathed -- http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/anathema (... and, sometimes, just plain evil)

0

Perhaps mistakenly, I've based this answer on the assumption that you are asking for a term that is the converse of sniglet. Also, I assume that by should not exist [in dictionaries], you intend that the word should not be in dictionaries because of objective, evidentiary reasons, rather than because of subjective, emotional reasons. So, I'll provide

a word/short-phrase for a word that does exist [in dictionaries], but shouldn't [because it's not a word].

The term for "a word that does exist [in the dictionary] but shouldn't" is 'spurious', or 'spurious word'. I was fascinated to discover a list of these apparent contradictions in my free 1970s book club OED-with-magnifier.

The terms, 'spurious' and 'spurious word', satisfy your examples:

He referred to the man by a term so vile, the word itself should be spurious.

After six hours of listening to corporate double-speak, he came to regard every buzzword as a spurious word, invented simply to annoy him.

The first 'spurious word' currently provided in OED Online is

ballow, n.

This explanation is provided in place of a definition:

Prob. a misprint for baton n., to which the word is emended in many modern editions of King Lear. The Quartos read battero (which is prob. another spurious word, perh. arising from a wrong expansion of a typographical abbreviation of batton, variant of baton n.) and bat bat n.2 The word is given in later dicts. (e.g. Bailey (ed. 3, 1726) and Grose (1787)), based on the occurrence in the quot., but does not appear to be attested independently. For an alternative etymology, see E. Ekwall in Eng. Studies (1941) 23 99–101.

["ballow, n.1". OED Online. December 2015. Oxford University Press. http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/15006?rskey=GkvnKr&result=1&isAdvanced=true (accessed January 09, 2016).]

About thirty other 'spurious' or 'probably spurious' words are provided by OED Online. They include such delicacies as

disgore, v.
Spurious word in Ash, etc.: see disgorge v. 3.

(OED Online)

evacate, v.
a spurious word in Dicts; see evocate v.

(op. cit.)

enhendee, adj.
A spurious word found in some heraldic and other Dicts. in the phrase cross enhendee (given as synonym of cross potenee) where the adj. appears to be a corruption of Old French enheudée having a handle. The misreading occurs in French writers, e.g. Palliot, 1664.

(op. cit.)

fructiculose, adj.
Spurious word in mod. Dictionaries: see fruticulose adj.

(op. cit.)

  • Please define spurious. – Mazura Jan 9 '16 at 7:37
  • @Mazura, definitions of the terms 'spurious' (with reference to words) and 'spurious word' are already included, and examples given, in the answer provided. If you need or want more, I have to ask why? – JEL Jan 9 '16 at 7:44
  • When I look it up, I get Lacking authenticity or validity in essence or origin; not genuine; not trustworthy; dubious or fallacious. Not being what it purports to be; false or fake. -Google and TFD. I don't doubt that you're on to something, but none of those words fit the first example very well. – Mazura Jan 9 '16 at 7:51
  • I agree about the first OP example (note: not the OED examples, which are really the meat, nor the second OP example), and considered mentioning that I would use something stronger, on the lines of 'abolished'--but the OP's desired use was clear and the word 'spurious' works, however much I might want to embellish both that example and my answer. – JEL Jan 9 '16 at 7:56
0

Your two examples have very different connotations. So words like taboo or execrable or pernicious work well with the first, but jargon or drivel or mumbo-jumbo work better for the latter. It is hard to slot in one phrase. You also complicate things by requiring a noun for a single word, not a noun for a manner of speaking. (You don't say "a balderdash" or "a bullshit," but you might be able to say "an anathema." That's been answered already, though.)

Taboo works well as a noun or an adjective:

taboo - banned on grounds of morality or taste <the subject is taboo>

So you could say you regard a word as a taboo.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.