Underwear and Word Usage

I just got this Hanky Panky Retro Thong in two colors, and I can’t overstate their perfection. They are the Holy Grail of underpants. Let me just quote Hanky Panky’s website:

A high-waisted panty with figure-flattering coverage everywhere you need it, and absolutely nowhere you don’t. This panty is designed with an extra-generous band of lace that hugs your midsection and tricks even thick tummies into feeling super svelte.

Every word is true! But not every word is good.

I can’t stand the word “panty.”   “Can’t stand” isn’t strong enough to describe my feelings about panty or “panties.” It almost makes me sick. I’ve felt like this for most of my adult life. Sometimes, I’ll be reading a magazine and the phrase “sans panties” will almost give me a stroke.

I asked my husband what he felt about “panties.” He isn’t nearly as reactive to words as I am, but he agrees on panties. He prefers “underpants,” which is my preference too. No wonder we stay together!

I think it’s the infantile connotation with “panty” that makes me cringe. There may be more at a deeper subconscious level.

I was pleased to find on a blog about language that lots of people hate “panties,” yet surprised to learn about a widespread aversion to the word “moist.” It cuts across both genders:   No one likes moist.

Generally speaking, I am more likely to take offense at a word or phrase than anyone I know. Max was a pretty hardcore wordist but not as bad as I am. Any yet, I have no trouble with “moist.” Am I broken or something? “Moist” reminds me of moist cake. or moist lipstick. Things should be moist, ideally, or else they’re too dry.

Going back to the blog just now, I see that someone hates the word “suckle.” Eoow.   Same here. It’s especially creepy when applied to humans.

Have a look at Language Log and get in on the word aversion.   I like that they make a point to distinguish between word rage (like when you hear someone on the news say “grow the economy”) and word aversion (like panty.)

Feel free to share your own personal aversions.

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87 Responses to Underwear and Word Usage

  1. dexter vandango says:

    There are rational and justifiable reasons for loathing certain words.. but sofa? Frank Zappa couldn’t have sung, “Don’t get your man-juice (I omit the actual word he used as it’s no doubt loathed too) on that sofa..”
    It would have sounded weird if he said couch or divan..

  2. Dru says:

    Another word I really dislike: pumpkin. It sounds like something I’d slap if it were a person.

  3. Ann says:

    I’m indifferent about the word moist. I can take it or leave it. I too say underpants! It’s way better than panties. Can’t handle nom. HATE fashionista, or any “ista” other than barista, which is only barely tolerable. Sunnies for sunglasses is awful. I also can’t stand when a writer shortens the word “says” to “sez.” It makes me want to seek the offender out and kill by fire.

    To balance out the negativity I’ve spewed forth, here are some words I love: dank, impetus, caveat, apoplectic, rad (sorry, I know, I know).

  4. David Duff says:

    Here’s a phrase that produces flecks of foam about my lips and sets my eyeballs swivelling simulataneously in opposite directions – standby – I can hardly bear to write them – here we go –

    Her Majesty’s Inland Revenue and Customs!

    Aaaargh, yuk, I feel sick . . .

  5. dexter vandango says:

    David, if you feel sick Britain has a perfectly adequate National Health Service. They even treat the hopeless..

  6. Catalina says:

    The word “pussy” makes me want to throw up. I am still having nightmares with Sister Wolf’s Wiener post. *shudders*

  7. Andra says:

    David, have you already spent the windfall that HM’s taxman so recently sent your way?
    Naughty, naughty.

  8. dexter vandango says:

    For us poor men’s peace of mind (..as if anyone wants to contribute to that..) could we please have some consensus on which names are appropriate to use for female genitals? I’m assuming there may be more than one.. and each is to be used only under specific circumstances. What are they???? Give us a F**king clue! (..I also assume that one or two of them are like the N word.. only members of the tribe are allowed to use them..)

  9. Andra says:

    Dexter, you’d be better off just not mentioning our private parts at all.

  10. Sister Wolf says:

    Ann – I like “acrid,” “pungent,” and “sublime.”

    dexter – After deliberating with a friend, I would suggest honeypot or love tunnel.

  11. dexter vandango says:

    Honey pot? Love tunnel? Forgive me.. but I smell a trap.. wait.. let me rephrase that… see how dangerous words are!
    I’ll bet there were far fewer homicides and divorces when we merely grunted..

  12. Hammie says:

    Sunnies and Lippie is Australian. As is twisty (twist top beer) surfie (sanitary pad shaped like surf board) roadie (band helper & beer you bring in car for ride home) cossie (swimming costume) scungies (speedo pants) and boardies (board shorts)

  13. Ann says:

    Hammie – surfie??!! HAHAHAHAHAHA I nearly died laughing at that one! Roadie is a legitimate word and not at all baby talk. That could be because so many of my friends are roadies by profession and also because if I’m not driving, I often have an adult beverage in the car.

  14. Queen Marie says:

    I detest ‘fulcrum’
    I wish I could explain why I hate it so much.
    But I can’t.
    For some reason it makes me think of decay and bad smells…


  15. David Duff says:

    Dexter, how about ‘trouble’?

  16. dexter vandango says:

    Trouble, David?

    There’s a great old rhythm and blues song called “First I look at the purse..” a man’s advice to ignore a woman’s face and look at the contents of her purse first.. which is funny as old English tarts called their privates their purse..

  17. patni says:

    hammie I do not think i could live in Australia. Inappropriate diminutives are a big pet peeve.

  18. patni says:

    Dexter, i need to find it again, but there is a web site somewhere with euphemisms for vulva or vagina from romance novels. My favorite was glistening love cave.

  19. dexter vandango says:

    I think the best euphemism is Garden of Eden.. as it signifies goodness, innocence, purity, fertility, lushness.. and a fresh start to everything..

  20. Danno says:

    That ‘underwear’ looks sexy and comfy. I recently had a convo with my momma about ‘good christian panties.’ I don’t care what you call them as long as they cover my ass cheeks without leaving lines going cross my jelly butt. I don’t have an aversion to words these days unless I know you’re American and you’re borrowing some foreign lingo.

  21. Danno says:

    Except for ‘thong’ or ‘g-string’. Ya’ll can be all fashionable and shit but I for one will be flaunting the full coverage and saving my ‘rhoids from a world of hurt. Real women don’t wear thongs. We have more class than that. Hahahahahha.

  22. Kimberley says:

    I call mine underwear and they are not thongs.
    As kids, we called them gaunch.

  23. David Duff says:

    But, Danno, my dear old thing, you colonials borrowed our language years ago – and look what you’ve done to it! I mean, what is a “convo” when it’s at home? Anyway, you should be jolly glad that we allow you, from time to time, to borrow one or two of our proper words!

  24. mimi says:

    sorry im australian and have NEVER in my life heard a sanitary pad referred to as a “surfie”… it could be a generational thing maybe.

    lippie, sunnies, undies (again the reg grundy thing, sounds like a 70/80s reference), frock, thongs (as in flip flops) = all totally normal in australian vernacular.

    i also hate the word “jizz.”

  25. alicia says:

    I’m the same way with the word “penis.” It’s too medical for me. It doesn’t turn me on. In fact, it makes me want to run far, far away from you. It’s a word associated with doctors, and you know what else is associated with doctors? STDs.

    Oh, and bloggers who refer to their boyfriends as “the boy” can all go away, too.

  26. Debbie says:

    HATE the word panties. Prefer “underwear”. HATE the word tummy – UGH. Booger – I even hate typing it – HATE HATE HATE that word.

  27. lisa says:

    Patni – Yes its somewhat difficult to live in Australia for that very reason.
    Lets just say straight out i love living in Melbourne, but my pet hates are they way they shorten everything… especially names for people such as Nazza, dazza, Shazza (ugg i think i just had a little spew in my mouth over that one), kev, trev, Paulie (which isn’t even short for paul, its lengthened for god’s sake), and when people have tried to nickname me ‘robbo’ (my last name being Robinson) i have refussed to answer them… Quite frankly just bad form and complete disregard for the english language.
    Sorry all aussies who read this, i love you really, just not what you do to the english language, it pains me sometimes.

  28. kate says:

    whenever someone refers to their husband as “the hubby” i picture winnie the pooh. you can have a hubby if you want, i just won’t assume he’s good looking. i’ll think of him as a roly-poly bald guy with red sweaty cheeks a wheezy voice.

  29. Julie says:

    I too hate hubby, along with sis for sister or sib / sibs for sibling or siblings.
    I can’t bear people who use appalling text speak in normal writing. Today I read ‘ur reli’ something or other instead of ‘you are really’.

    A friend of mine insists on sending emails that are absolutely butchered; nothing but ampersands and tortured abbreviations like abt for about.

  30. Andra says:

    Hey Lisa
    Love to have you come over after brekky and we’ll have a barby.
    Bring your cossie.

  31. Alicia says:

    “Pelvis” has always sounded weird to me. I totally agree with the anti- “panties” sentiment.

  32. Danno says:

    David Duff, you’re a cold tony for calling me a “dear old thing.” (See: Pootie Tang.)
    Yes, look at what we’ve done to the English language. Especially in the southern US where ebonics and plain ol’ bourbon gibberish have melded into a language almost all its’ own.
    “Jolly well” would get some major side eye over here. And just TRY to use “bloody” in the pejorative in a group setting. The subsequent silence would be lethal.
    But hey, thanks for letting us use your proper English. Me talk pretty one day.

  33. Guest says:


  34. I agree. We feature only ONE product called the “Power Panty” only because it is an actual brand name from Spanx! Nothing worse than a Maternity Panty!

  35. John miller says:

    Russian aircraft circle Guam and Russian submarines patrol off our coasts.
    Tens of thousands have died in Syria. Iran will soon have the BOMB!

    The United States is spending billions of our grand kids’ money.
    Our defenses will soon be unfunded while our enemies forces are
    increasing and they show the destruction of New York on their
    TV along with pictures of our president going up in flames.

    let us find a suitable name for “panties” before it is too late!

  36. Sister Wolf says:

    John Miller – Is that what you write about on your own blog? May I have link to it?

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