7 Overused Academic Words You Hate But Secretly Love

The words we’re tired of using, but we can’t think of anything else better to make our point.

1. Nuanced

Nuanced is Interesting’s twin sister. She came from the same momma. She just dresses a little fancier.


2. Fraught

I’m hearing this a lot more frequently as of late. This is fraught with that. That is fraught with this. But no one ever uses it correctly in a sentence.

3. Discourse

Discourse is one of those words you use to describe the plethora of things that you will not be discussing in your presentation or paper. “There’s a lot of discourse on pandas in Peru, but I don’t know anything about that. So please for love of all that is good do not ask me anything about pandas in Peru.”

4. Dichotomy

It’s ALWAYS two? There’s NEVER a third?

5. Dismantle

Destroy. Deconstruct. Annihilate.  Reconstruct. Reconfigure. Dissect. Demolish. Eradicate. Eliminate. All perfectly good words to use, but I know dismantle just has a nice ring to it. Thanks, Audre Lorde.

5. Social Construct

No one likes to point out, “That’s a social construct.” It’s just exhausting to realize racism, homophobia, sexism, etc, are found deeply integrated in the fabrics of our everyday being. But someone’s gotta do it.

6.  Right?

Right isn’t anything special, but used with an inquisitive inflection of tone it’s sure to make any academic setting quiver, right? You understand what it is that I’m trying to do, right? I can’t make it any more clear, right? Right?

7. Problematic

And lastly, our beloved “problematic”. Problematic is the nice, intelligent way of telling someone in your cohort or one of your peers that what they said is f**cked up. It’s respectful but to the point.

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