What’s the Grossest-Sounding Word in English?


A few months ago, we asked readers to share their choices for the most beautiful sounding word in English. Nearly 500 of you shared your favorites, which included the lyrical, delightful and uplifting.

Some of you shared not only your favorite but also your least favorite words. “I would like to vote ‘moist’ as the most gross sounding word in the English language,” wrote in Jack. “‘Bob’ I think evokes something in most people’s minds actually… kind of round and not so attractive,” writes Daniel.

Many words for the gross are onomatopoeic, like blat, or, like Jack’s choice, they stir up a synesthetic reaction. Scientific experiments indicate that sound symbolism is at play in word formation. In determining the Bouba/Kiki Effect, people from cultures around the world were asked to identify a spiked shape and a round shape with the name Bouba or Kiki. 90 percent of people identified the spiky shape as Kiki and the round, blobby shape as Bouba.

Now it’s your turn to share your least favorite word. Instead of exploring euphony this time, let’s turn up the volume on cacophony. Tell us the most gross, icky, blah-ful words you find in our usually delightful language to round out our exploration of phonaesthetics.

Backing black in the green and gold yonder.(SOAPBOX)(Viewpoint essay) in our site new zealand map

NZ Business December 1, 2011 | Sims, Eileen As the final whistle blew at the All Blacks/Wallabies RWC semi-final, I noted that my Australian husband was simply taking the loss in his stride. It struck me that this is an entirely Australian thing to do. Had the tables been turned, an entire nation would have descended into a deep and unparalleled depression. Not so for the Aussies, they’d had a go and they were happy. Often that’s enough to get them onto the world stage, be it sport of any kind or business.

Walking home from Eden Park, I observed a level of graciousness in defeat. Aussie murmurs of “It’s your time” and the like. It was clear that they saw, like a good big brother should, there is a time to spoil a party and a time to take it on the chin and get behind your family.

And although we Kiwis are prone to fight it, Australia is family. There’s nowhere else we can do business with more like-minded people. New Zealand has the ability to offer top-end products to niche markets like no other country.

The 2006 Census showed that about 390,000 people born in New Zealand were living in Australia. A dyed-in-the-merino-wool Kiwi, I’ve lived in Australia on and off for ten years. I never imagined I’d live there for good, but as I write, I’m packing up my Auckland home and family to head back to the lucky country’ once more. I’m hopeful that opportunities for my PR business will be plentiful and that I can help a few fellow Kiwis fly their respective brand flags, in what is an incredibly exciting and prosperous market.

New Zealand is a proud nation. The past couple of months have been a prime example of how much so. On an ordinary day, you only have to walk out of your office here and you’ll see designer variations of the New Zealand map or silver fern on any manner of clothing. This isn’t really something you see in Australia, save the odd beer shirt. Yet Australians exude a level of pride and confidence in their country, such that when you’re a Kiwi living there, you can’t help feeling that perhaps we’re a trifle insecure.

It’s a thought backed up by a 2009 Neilsen study looking at Australian businesses’ perception of New Zealand: “There is high equity, and strong positive free-flowing attributes ascribed to, the New Zealand brand, but these are underutilised by New Zealand businesses”.

The report adds that while there is a consistent perception of high quality and innovation (particularly in the food and beverage sector) there is no strong sense of unique advantage.

The thing is, while Australians sense weakness, they will equally support a winner. Think sport, think politics, think business. To succeed in business across the ditch, you must have high levels of belief in your brand, your product, your ability to supply a potentially significant market and NEVER be shy about playing the New Zealand card. This is a mistake many businesses make. Little brother’s insecurity perhaps?

But as much as Australia appears to be a very insular market, they will back anyone willing to back themselves. In spite of perceptions to the contrary, Australians love New Zealand and often consider products and services from here to be of better quality than their own.

Perhaps justifiably, we are afraid that the minute Australia likes something out of New Zealand, they will rush to claim it as their own. I am still trying to convince my husband that the Massey-Fergusson tractor is a New Zealand invention. And my mother-in-law and I have agreed to disagree over the Pavlova. website new zealand map

Australians love Australian-made, but it has become harder to maintain a competitive manufacturing base and consumers increasingly demand lower-priced goods. Whilst there are many examples in consumer goods, fresh produce is an apt illustration of how buying Australian-made comes at a price, especially when you live in a country prone to droughts and floods.

A recent Australian nationwide poll has revealed eight in ten Australian grocery buyers think price is more or just as important as country of origin when purchasing food. And a staggering 60 percent hardly ever check to see where their food comes from. Equally though, there are a growing number of consumers ready to spend on high-end, specialty products – provided they offer a unique point of difference.

New Zealand has an unrivalled opportunity to compete with our clean, green image and high-quality goods and services. Thanks to CER in action, we’ve finally got our apples in the door. So, what is next?

Australia Is ripe and ready for a New Zealand business invasion.

If only we’d back ourselves, like we do on the rugby field.

noodle NZ is extending its PR and copywriting services to Kiwi businesses wanting exposure in the Australian market Eileen Sims heads up noodle Australia from Melbourne.

Visit www.noodlehq.co.nz or www.noodlehq.com.au Eileen Sims Managing director noodle Australia [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Sims, Eileen

Briefly Noted.

Medical Device Daily August 17, 2004 Briefly Noted INIS on OTC Bulletin Board International Isotopes (Idaho Falls, Idaho) reported the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD; Washington) has accepted its application and the company stock will now be traded on the OTC Bulletin Board under the symbol INIS. The company had previously been traded on the Pink Sheets under the symbol INIS. see here lucile packard childrens hospitals

Steve Laflin, company president and CEO, said, This is the next step in our long-term plan to steadily build the company, eventually leading to increased trading accessibility and value for our shareholders.

International Isotopes manufactures a range of nuclear medicine calibration and reference standards and provides a selection of radioisotopes and radiochemicals for medical devices, calibration, clinical research, life sciences, and industrial applications. The company also provides analytical, measurement and processing services on a contract basis to clients.

Nicotine patches may work for teens Nicotine patches may work as well for teens trying to kick the smoking habit as they do for adults, say researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine (Palo Alto, California) and Lucile Packard Childrens Hospital (also Palo Alto). The findings suggest that physicians should consider the therapy for teenaged patients who routinely light up but want to quit. web site lucile packard childrens hospitals

The researchers also found that the patches were equally effective in adolescents regardless of whether they were combined with an antidepressant often used to help adults stop smoking. All teens in the study also received behavioral skills training to help them identify and manage trigger situations that usually had them reaching for a cigarette.

According to Joel Killen, PhD, research professor of medicine at the Stanford Prevention Research Center and lead author of the study, [M]ost of the kids in the study were able to substantially reduce their tobacco usage, which has not been seen in previous studies.

The study, published in the August issue of the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, is the first randomly controlled trial of medication to help young smokers quit and is the first to compare success rates of the patch with and without antidepressant medication in this age group.


  1. David F -  April 13, 2014 - 12:37 pm

    I strongly dislike the word, “surreal”, because it seems to be the most misused, yet overused, word of the decade.

  2. Tanya Billett -  April 13, 2014 - 6:48 am

    SWAB ick ick ick I detest the word SWAB

  3. Damian -  April 12, 2014 - 7:31 pm

    “seagull” is the worst. Saying it aloud just throws me off.

  4. jihn -  April 10, 2014 - 8:03 am


  5. Deba -  April 9, 2014 - 4:37 pm

    For me, the word mucus is awful.

  6. leila -  April 9, 2014 - 3:24 pm

    Moist curdle

  7. Pavel -  April 9, 2014 - 9:00 am

    I have lived in this country for 45 years still disliking the words ending with ‘ther’: further, farther, father, weather (this one particularly in winter). Especially when singing sound such words crummy.

    • xtcgirl.357 -  April 9, 2014 - 4:41 pm


  8. tom -  April 9, 2014 - 7:29 am

    as in: lets rock .

  9. Hulagirl@Heart -  April 9, 2014 - 6:38 am


  10. Rgardengloves -  April 9, 2014 - 5:38 am

    For me, it is a tossup between phlegm and bile.

  11. Sav -  April 9, 2014 - 4:38 am

    Moist. Ughhhhh the nastiest word ever.

  12. Liz -  April 9, 2014 - 4:14 am

    I agree with Ilene – Vomit and Snot

    Both sound horrible!

  13. turdimbaqwee -  April 8, 2014 - 6:40 pm


  14. Ilene -  April 8, 2014 - 1:35 am



  15. Joshua -  April 3, 2014 - 7:06 am

    Toy Boat is two words that for some reason I can not say to many times over.

  16. Andrea -  April 1, 2014 - 7:13 am


  17. Andrea -  March 31, 2014 - 6:24 pm


  18. kimmaj -  March 30, 2014 - 6:58 am

    As a teenager the word adolescent, pimple and two put together ‘fruit cup’ would make me cringe…add to the list moist and crunch.

  19. Jawsh -  March 29, 2014 - 8:52 pm





  20. fer -  March 29, 2014 - 12:11 pm

    I haven’t read all almost 3000 comments but I haven’t seen ‘minutiae’. I have no idea why it sounds so awful to me.

  21. Robert Seiden -  March 28, 2014 - 8:01 am


  22. Robert Seiden -  March 28, 2014 - 7:51 am

    DRIZZLE. I really don’t know why. Perhaps because it is a word so overused lately by inarticulate cooks and chefs on TV. I also think some of participants in this survey may need to check with their psychoanalysts regarding their choices. It sounds like a lot of people feel negatively about their body parts and sexuality in general.

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