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Is this word offensive to you?


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#51 Kalmia

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 09:50 PM

Obliterate is a pretty accurate word for the action you are describing. I looked it up to be sure. It is from the Latin obliterare which means efface. The first meaning of efface is "to erace (a mark) from a surface" according to dictionary.com/. Maybe the customer needs a Latin lesson.


Edited by Kalmia, 16 October 2017 - 09:51 PM.

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#52 Arcadia

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 09:54 PM

It’s written on a form.
Surely, they’d look up the word if they didn’t know the meaning. Or maybe not. Idk.

The first meaning given in the dictionaries are violent ones. E.g.

From Collins the first meaning that pops up
“If something obliterates an object or place, it destroys it completely.
Their warheads are enough to obliterate the world several times over.”

From Macmillan the first meaning out of three meanings
“to destroy something completely
The bombing raid has obliterated whole villages.”

From Oxford
“1Destroy utterly; wipe out.
‘the memory was so painful that he obliterated it from his mind’”

From Cambridge, only one meaning given
“to remove all signs of something; destroy:
The hurricane virtually obliterated this small coastal town.”

The subsequent listed meaning on Collins does match removing graffiti
“obliterate in American
(əˈblɪtərˌeɪt ; əblitˈərātˌ)
verb transitive
Word forms: obˈliterˌated or obˈliterˌating
1.
to blot out or wear away, leaving no traces; erase; efface”
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#53 Laurie4b

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 09:57 PM

Being me, I would be so curious I would have to ask the customer the next time: "I'm happy to use the word destroy instead of the word that you said was offensive to you, but can you explain why it's offensive? I have no idea why it would be and no one else could tell me." 


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#54 Arctic Mama

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 10:42 PM

.... in what world is that offensive? I use the term and it would never occur to me it should offend someone.
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#55 Katy

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 11:01 PM

My guess is personal history with the word; possibly something related to the Iraq war or some other war.


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#56 Tap

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 12:24 AM

Not offensive.  Maybe the person was a victim of war? That is one of the few circumstances where I can see someone having an intense reaction to that word.

 

I guess you could use efface or obscure, but to me those don't imply the finality of obliterate.

 

 

An example....If I bought an old wedding band and wanted the original owners inscription removed.  

Obliterate, to me, means it will be removed and absolutely not retrievable.  No trace will be left, even if that means loosing part of the original material to do so. The item would be intact and the original beauty still intact. But, there is no way, even with significant effort, that the original message would ever be retrievable. 

 

Efface or obscure,, would mean that the words would be effectively removed/or made non-readable, but the imprint may still be retrievable with extra effort.  Maybe the message is sanded or polished down. Maybe it is filled in, but with effort the origina indentation may be able to be identified.

 

Destroy would definitely mean the message would be gone, but isn't as precise as obliterate.  Maybe the whole item will be destroyed in the process.  

 

Depending on the type of work, I would use different words. I can think of several instances were ID numbers, serial numbers, data, marking or original engraving may need to be removed from an item.  Obliterate, would be the most appropriate word in the circumstances. 


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#57 elroisees

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 05:57 AM

Urban dictionary tells me that "obliterated" means to be very drunk.  But I can't see how that applies to graffiti.  

I can see how telling someone "I'm going to obliterate you" might be considered offensive, but not in this situation.  Perhaps it's best to go with "The customer is always right, or at least we pretend he is", and not rock the boat though.

Well, almost any word can be used to express "very drunk", according to Michael McIntire.  (Language warning...lots of language.)

 


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#58 marbel

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 06:13 AM

Yeah, I looked it up on urban dictionary and tried various google searches to find any different meanings.  "Very drunk" was the worst thing I found.  I did see it used on some gaming sites that I didn't click into.  Maybe that's the context the customer is thinking of... ?  I guess you (and we) will never know.

 

I dunno, I think "obliterate" is a perfectly fine word and useful for the purpose described.  I can't think of a better one!  "Completely remove" gets close, I guess.  


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#59 Bluegoat

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 07:11 AM

Not offensive.

 

I think actually the word is used commonly in similar contexts.  

 

When I was in the army, I used to have a job of destroying documents and such.  For paper it was just shredding, but if it was something like a CD, I had to use a huge machine that would "obliterate" them - it took the CDs and smashed and shook them until they were teeny-weeny little fragments.  I always hated doing that, it was a loud, noisy machine that shook the whole room it was in.

 

I think the client has some basic misunderstanding about the word.  Depending on the person I might ask, but otherwise I'd smile and nod.


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#60 SparklyUnicorn

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 07:14 AM

Not offensive, but my ears would perk up if used in that context.


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#61 Janeway

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 07:15 AM

When my husband was a child, a relative told him and all his cousins that the word Leafy was a bad word. It was a joke and meant to be funny but all the little cousins believed him. My husband thinks it was so funny even know. I feel like the person in OP's post with the word Obliterate is experiencing that, LOL.


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#62 Daria

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 07:20 AM

I don't think obliterate and destroy mean at all the same thing in graffiti removal.

Obliterate to me means without a trace and in this context means to put out back the way it was.

Destroy would mean ruin and doesn't, to me carry an implication that whatever the graffiti was on was protected.

For example, I recently saw something where people discovered swastikas in a subway car and took sharpies and made them into flowers. Or scratching the wall of a bathroom stall so you can't read what was previously scratched there. Those would be destroyed, while obliterate would imply a fresh coat of paint to me.
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#63 maize

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 07:28 AM

Here are the synonyms from thesaurus.com:

Main Entry: obliterate
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: destroy
Synonyms: KO, X-out, annihilate, ax, black out, blot out, blue pencil, bog, cancel, cover, cut, defeat, delete, do in, efface, eliminate, eradicate, erase, expunge, exterminate, extirpate, finish, finish off, kill, knock off, knock out, level*, liquidate, mark out, nix, obscure, off, ravage, root out, rub off, rub out, scratch, scrub, shoot down, sink, smash, squash, take apart, take out*, torpedo, total*, trash*, wash out, waste, wipe off face of earth, wipe out, zap

Many of these do have violent connotations; unless the customer misunderstands the word completely (possible) I would guess it is the violent association they object to. The E synonyms seem best for this context:
efface, eliminate, eradicate, erase, expunge

Edited by maize, 17 October 2017 - 07:51 AM.

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#64 solascriptura

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 07:30 AM

It’s not an offensive word, but it does signify aggression.
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#65 StephanieZ

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 07:37 AM

Nope.

 


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#66 Baseball mom

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 07:39 AM

Not offensive especially in context you are talking about
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#67 momacacia

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 08:29 AM

"We are going to tenderly carry the metal to the special machine where it is regenerated, resized, and repurposed for it's next great role in life."

But I bet the metal isn't exactly being obliterated, either. 😂😒😐
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#68 Library Momma

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 09:16 AM

Not offensive at all, but maybe they think the graffiti is art and should be shown more respect??


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#69 reefgazer

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 09:52 PM

Yeah, this.

 

Honestly, words don't offend me.

 


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#70 Gaillardia

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 10:04 PM

some of the words are no longer there, but I looked it up on: "urban dictionary slang" for the word "obliterate". That can be google searched. 

I find slang terminology for sexual acts, body parts, etc. to be usually foul, sometimes offensive, occasionally vulgar, and mostly inappropriate. 

So, if I were that person who was offended by your dh's company using the word when referring to the metal being obliterated, then perhaps it is because of how the word has been used in my presence. You never know what PTSD can do to someone. Moving on...


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#71 eternalsummer

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 10:15 PM

What do you mean "urban dictionary slang"?  Did you look it up on urban dictionary?  I tried googling "urban dictionary slang" to figure this out but all I can find is an entry for "slang" in urban dictionary.

 

I did search:

"urban dictionary slang" "Obliterate"

(the literal stream I used in google, typed just like that)

 

and got a result several items down for "destroy" from urban dictionary, and that was basically vulgar.  But it wasn't anything directly to do with obliterate.


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#72 BarbecueMom

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 10:24 PM

some of the words are no longer there, but I looked it up on: "urban dictionary slang" for the word "obliterate". That can be google searched.
I find slang terminology for sexual acts, body parts, etc. to be usually foul, sometimes offensive, occasionally vulgar, and mostly inappropriate.
So, if I were that person who was offended by your dh's company using the word when referring to the metal being obliterated, then perhaps it is because of how the word has been used in my presence. You never know what PTSD can do to someone. Moving on...


Being upset by a word or phrase due to trauma isn't the same thing as offensive though. There are songs that upset me a LOT (covering ears, humming over the song, crying, vomiting) for various reasons, but the songs themselves are not offensive. Offensive means it is wrong for anyone to use the word (or enjoy the song). It is not offensive to listen to Hotel California in my presence, but I will probably barf on your shoes.
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#73 Dust

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 12:17 AM

I would assume the customer doesn't really understand the meaning of the word, and may only be familiar with it in a religious context?

 

They may assume that only God has the power to obliterate (based on something they heard about the end of times, maybe?) and they therefore have the idea that it is blasphemy to use the word in any other context?

 

I'm not going to google it, but if it has a crude/vulgar meaning I would assume that perhaps the customer only understands the word in that context. 

 

I can think of industries where obliterate would be the correct term for a certain type of disposal, and would mean much more than just "destroy."


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#74 Sandwalker

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 02:18 AM

‘obliterate’

If yes, can you tell me why?

A co-worker asked dh not to use that word anymore because a customer said they found it offensive. We are trying to figure out if we’re missing something. We’ve never known it to be offensive. It’s not a big deal because he can just use ‘destroy’ in its place, but we are still curious.


Btw, I can’t get into specifics... I’ll just say that by “customer”, I’m not talking about someone coming in and buying something at a store. He doesn’t work in a store. This is a specific type of industry where metal objects might have to be scrapped, etc. that vague enough for you?

I haven't read the whole thread, but is the offended one a veteran? It may be a PTSD thing. Obliterate is a word used in war.
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#75 okbud

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 06:31 AM

I think the customer is having themselves a little jokety joke. Obliterate doesn't mean anything in slang terms except super high or drunk. I assume the poster coming across vulgarity is referring to other slang terms for very high or drunk.


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#76 onelittlemonkey

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 06:44 AM

I’ll have to ask dh this afternoon what word they came up with to replace “obliterate”. I still have no idea why it’s offensive. Maybe it is a ptsd thing, like some have indicated. Or it could be like “moist” is for some of us. I would hate to look at that word day in and day out. I might go so far as to say it’s offensive, just so we could use a synonym instead. :ack2:

#77 transientChris

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 08:51 AM

Being upset by a word or phrase due to trauma isn't the same thing as offensive though. There are songs that upset me a LOT (covering ears, humming over the song, crying, vomiting) for various reasons, but the songs themselves are not offensive. Offensive means it is wrong for anyone to use the word (or enjoy the song). It is not offensive to listen to Hotel California in my presence, but I will probably barf on your shoes I hate the Entresto

I hate the Entresto commercial-  first of all, it uses Tomorrow the song from Annie and for whatever reason- maybe because that was a popular song when one of my parents died? not really sure-  never liked that song because of the bad feeling that comes with it.  Then to pair it with a commercial for heart failure medication just makes me anxious each time I hear it.  One of the many, many potential side effects of some of the biologics I may be going on is heart failure (and one reason I waited so long to try them because I didn't want to die while I still had minor children) and the whole thing is decidedly unpleasant for me but it is not an offensive commercial.


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#78 luuknam

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 03:27 PM

I still have no idea why it’s offensive. 

 

 

I really think the people mentioning nuking a place out of existence, or the holocaust, or w/e are on the right track. If you think it means large-scale destruction like that, then it could seem to be offensive when talking about graffiti removal. Just like some people are offended by people saying they're "starving" when they're hungry, because they associate starving with people dying of famine. Even though, according to Google, based on the etymology for "obliterate", obliterate is a very apt term for graffiti removal... but yeah, I wouldn't have been aware of that if it weren't for this thread. I would've thought (like a few other posters) of extremely violent large-scale destruction or genocide (though I wouldn't have been offended... I would have thought the word was overkill. Which it apparently was not). 


Edited by luuknam, 18 October 2017 - 03:28 PM.

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#79 egao_gakari

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 04:09 PM

Yeah, I've heard some folks use it to mean "blackout drunk." I find that an annoying misuse of a perfectly good word, but I don't think it's offensive. I agree with others who say this must just be about this one person's baggage.

 

Maybe they see graffiti as a legitimate expression of a certain culture, and regard the term "obliterate" as implying that not just the graffiti but the culture that produced it should be wiped out....? I dunno, typing it out seems absurd, but some people take "street art" very seriously. My uncle, who teaches at a public middle school, was reprimanded by the school psychologist for sending a kid to detention for drawing graffiti on a textbook. According to the psychologist, the graffiti was a stylized drawing of the kid's name, and "his name is the most important thing he possesses... telling him to erase it is like telling him to erase himself."  :glare: Again, probably just that one school psychologist's personal baggage, but just goes to show, some people need to  :chillpill: