Thursday, January 26, 2006

Overused Word #3 - Vertically-challenged

During class the other day, my professor, in the course of his lecture said, "Now for those of you who are vertically-challenged...."

A wave of mental anguish overcame me at that point and rendered the rest of the sentence unworthy of hearing. Such is the power of this week's OVERUSED WORD, "vertically-challenged."

Vertically-challenged is one of those words, or hyphenated phrases perhaps, that used to be a hip, witty means of saying "short," but because it is now so institutionalized and engrained into the common vernacular, all of that has now faded. The word appears to be, at its root, some kind of politically-correct euphemism to counteract the sting of the word "short." Would it really hurt people to say "not tall" instead? Or maybe we could find another trendy way of saying short, like "concentrated height" or "of managable length."

Ex: "What's the matter, Charlie? Are you too concentrated in height to reach that cookie jar?"

Ex: "So I met this really CUUUUTE guy today! He's of managable length, has thick black hair...."

On second thought, maybe "concentrated height" would serve the purpose better.

What about "vertically-constrained" or "horizontally-directed?" Is there anything wrong with calling a short person "limbo-able" or "jockey statured?"

DO YOU KNOW OF AN OVERUSED WORD? Email kcurran1 nd edu and launch another pointless investigation.