Our most troubling words

Anthony Pignataro:

Everyone in the office had a lot of fun with this list of the top 50 words that give readers of NYTimes.com the most trouble. Sui generis? That’s what they use to call pigs on farms, right? How about  Baldenfreude? Isn’t that the obnoxious family that lives down the street? Then there are words like profligacy, comity and apostates which we think we know, but when pressed, really haven’t got a clue.

Anyway, the list got us thinking: What are the top 10 words that we use in our stories, investigations, columns and blog posts that give our readers the most trouble? We sat around, discussed the voices of our various writers, read a few recent posts, consulted our dictionaries, did some stuff with the computer that didn’t help us out nearly as much as we’d hoped and then narrowed our findings to a Lettermanesque Top 10 lis:


10. Banal

9. Steinberg

8. Lettermanesque


6. Pension

5. Governor Schwarzenegger

4. Snippets

3. Insanity

2. Impunity

And Number One, the single word that gives our loyal, intelligent readers the most trouble and sends them scurrying to their dictionaries more than any other word is…

1. CalWatchdog

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