If I Hear That Word Again, I’ll…

We probably all have a word we absolutely can’t stand, or something that sets our teeth on edge every time we hear it.

My most hated word is: Robust, as in “able to withstand or overcome adverse conditions,” “healthy, strong and vigorous,” or “not likely to fail or weaken,” etc.

Oh, please! Often it’s used incorrectly or sounds pretentious, anyway, because someone heard it and didn’t bother to look up something more appropriate. A robust hug? Why not say a bear hug? People will understand what you mean much more easily, even if the nitpickers start in with, “Well, actually, it’s not quite the same,” blah, blah, blah. Bear hug gets the meaning across and that’s what you want!

Robust is likely the most untrustworthy word in the world, especially in the technology arena. Even if it were used sparingly, I would hate it, due to being forced to read the Rembrandt critics as a teenager. Those critics thought his obese peasants were robust. Today a whole lot of us, including myself, qualify as “obese” in doctors’ minds, but robust? Never! If you don’t think so, look up your own stats online, including body mass index (BMI).

Yet more to the point, technology, including software, has taken over just about every area of our lives with many wonderful benefits. Even our farmers, horticulturalists and horse breeders use software, including databases. It has replaced hundreds of years of painstaking record keeping by hand.

Even so, robust is a word developers and programmers (and their sales people) use when trying to persuade potential clients that:

  • Their product won’t screw up everything if you send it more data than they planned for.
  • Their product won’t let hackers into your customers’ confidential information.
  • Their product won’t trash your tax records in the middle of online filing.

Having now been the victim of all three botched scenarios, I’ll probably run screaming from the room if I ever hear the word robust again! Of course, we back things up, even if their salespeople didn’t bother to mention that, but the fallout can be extensive and fixing it is time-consuming to say the least.

What’s your most hated word?

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