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Thatboyofmine

Is this word offensive to you?

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‘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 “customerâ€, 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? :lol:

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Offensive?  Not at all.

 

I can think of some contexts where I might be surprised by the use of the word and prefer another, but not offended.

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I can’t think of any reason it would be offensive. Maybe this person has a very specific negative association with the word?

Edited by Word Nerd
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Ok, I’ll try to be more specific...

 

The graffiti on this object must be obliterated before we can work with it.

 

(And in this case, they’re not actually ‘destroying’ said object, just taking off the graffiti. He’s been in this industry nearly 20 yrs and the word, ‘obliterate’ has always been used in that instance; it’s not a word he came up with to use for that particular circumstance). Sorry if this isn’t making a lot of sense. Just wanting to be clear that it’s not at all referring to a person or a group or anything like that.

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Doesn't sound offensive to me, but you're right, when talking to this customer it's just as easy to say "destroy" or "remove".

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Did a certain, um, elected leader start using that word a lot? Are they anti-Harry Potter and are confusing it with Obliviate? Are they truly offended, or does it just make them shudder like hearing "moist" or "panties"?

 

I'm stumped.

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Ok, I’ll try to be more specific...

 

The graffiti on this object must be obliterated before we can work with it.

 

(And in this case, they’re not actually ‘destroying’ said object, just taking off the graffiti. He’s been in this industry nearly 20 yrs and the word, ‘obliterate’ has always been used in that instance; it’s not a word he came up with to use for that particular circumstance). Sorry if this isn’t making a lot of sense. Just wanting to be clear that it’s not at all referring to a person or a group or anything like that.

 

Yeah, not offensive

 

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We are in the Age of the Snowflake. He won't win this one even though there is nothing wrong with the word. Just use a different word, and pass the bean dip.

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Did a certain, um, elected leader start using that word a lot? Are they anti-Harry Potter and are confusing it with Obliviate? Are they truly offended, or does it just make them shudder like hearing "moist" or "panties"?

 

I'm stumped.

Lol. Moist. Panties. Obliterate.

 

I'm not seeing it. I thought of Obliviate from Harry Potter, too. Wondering if maybe it was a relative of Gilderoy Lockhart who has just become very sensitive to that spell...

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Doesn't sound offensive to me, but you're right, when talking to this customer it's just as easy to say "destroy" or "remove".

 

Yep, that’s what he’s doing. It’s really not a big deal for him, but he came home and told me and I think we both just looked at each other with a blank stare. We were both standing there in the kitchen like :huh:, trying to figure out what we’re missing. I was hoping someone would say, oh yeah, obliterate is slang for xxx, and I’d say, “oh!†But it seems like none of us know why it’s offensive.

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well, yeah, there's that...where a word we're used to using in conversation is now slang for whatever but you better wash your mouth out. I don't even know, not my generation.

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Did a certain, um, elected leader start using that word a lot? Are they anti-Harry Potter and are confusing it with Obliviate? Are they truly offended, or does it just make them shudder like hearing "moist" or "panties"?

 

I'm stumped.

I don’t know, but I can honestly say that seeing the words ‘moist’ and ‘panties’ in the same sentence, makes *me* shudder. :willy_nilly:

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Yes, you can google it and see urban dictionary, wiktionary, etc. (although I wouldn't recommend it for this particular word)

and it is our language being corrupted. Keep on using it. We all know what it means in the original meaning.

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I wonder if they think he's saying something else or that obliterated means something else.

 

Weird.

It’s written on a form.

Surely, they’d look up the word if they didn’t know the meaning. Or maybe not. Idk.

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Yes, you can google it and see urban dictionary, wiktionary, etc. (although I wouldn't recommend it for this particular word)

and it is our language being corrupted. Keep on using it. We all know what it means in the original meaning.

So I was curious and looked it up on both urban dictionary and wiktionary. No offensive extra meaning on either. Is there a secret hidden wiktionary that has the double meanings, or were you just assuming there would be one?

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I heard that word used in world history class for the Holocaust during my school days in the 80s but won’t have thought it offensive in the context of your husband’s work.

 

“This museum may even be considered a German example of a genre dominant in the United States: the “identity†museum. Typically, the identity museum recounts how a particular ethnic group has survived, chronicling its travails and triumphs, culminating in the institution’s own prideful displays. Here, of course, the Holocaust interrupts the uplift. But the overarching idea was to reveal something about the people Hitler set out to obliterate by surveying the rich, complicated history of Jews in Germany.â€

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/02/arts/design/02conn.html

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Maybe the customer likes the graffiti & feels like it's too harsh to obliterate it?

 

:huh:

 

(I know! Maybe she's secretly *the* graffiti artist. Or a graffiti artist in her spare time?)

 

:lol:

 

I say go with the Inigo Montoya quote.

Edited by Stacia
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Offensive no, not sure if that word is specific jargon for his industry, but I can see how it might be perceived as harsh. 

 

To me, obliterate means like that scene in Aliens when they talk about nuking the entire site just to be sure, it's something greater than just remove and could create a connotation of total destruction through a negative act. However, that is nitpicking really. 

 

Would I mention that as an offensive term to someone? No, but maybe not as nuanced as it could be, depending upon the situation. 

 

 

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I'd go all Inigo Montoya on them.

 

I wouldn't be surprised if they confused it with "exterminate." I understand that can be offensive because it mainly refers to killing pests but can also refer to genocide - as in referring to a whole race as pests worthy of being wiped out. If people are sensitive to this word, I think that's understandable given its historic context

 

But obliterate?

 

Seriously, down with the Special Snowflakes.

 

Edited for clarity.

Edited by lavender's green
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I bet that the word doesn't quite mean what he thinks it means.

I actually agree that it’s a stupid word to use in that instance, but he’s been in two different companies in the same industry and both use that term for that particular action (and were using that term before he got there).

Edited by onelittlemonkey
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The context it is used is commonly very violent (obliterate using Nukes, political obliteration, obliterating a country from the map etc.) - at least for me the word has always popped up in relation to something not very pleasant. Maybe the customer is like me and has heard this word mostly in a violent context.

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He’s just going to have to figure out a new word that doesn’t have a possible negative connotation, I guess. He mentioned ‘destroy’. He can find some others to use. It’s not as simple as say, ‘painting over the graffiti’. It has to be completely gone, so I guess, ‘eliminate’ or ‘destroy’, maybe?

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no.

 

as to which word would be more technically descriptive for the situtation - I don't know.

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He’s just going to have to figure out a new word that doesn’t have a possible negative connotation, I guess. He mentioned ‘destroy’. He can find some others to use. It’s not as simple as say, ‘painting over the graffiti’. It has to be completely gone, so I guess, ‘eliminate’ or ‘destroy’, maybe?

Eliminate would be a good choice. We have a client who refuses to use the phrase remove and discard. All plans have this instead- remove and refurbish. Even though we will be discarding the item more than likely as it can not be refurbished.

Edited by itsheresomewhere
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I don’t know, but I can honestly say that seeing the words ‘moist’ and ‘panties’ in the same sentence, makes *me* shudder. :willy_nilly:

I had typed those two words together in one phrase but decided to separate them with "or". It was too much at once.

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He’s just going to have to figure out a new word that doesn’t have a possible negative connotation, I guess. He mentioned ‘destroy’. He can find some others to use. It’s not as simple as say, ‘painting over the graffiti’. It has to be completely gone, so I guess, ‘eliminate’ or ‘destroy’, maybe?

Eliminate sounds good for that purpose.
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I had typed those two words together in one phrase but decided to separate them with "or". It was too much at once.

I can’t thank you enough for using “orâ€. :ack2: :lol:

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I actually agree that it’s a stupid word to use in that instance, but he’s been in two different companies in the same industry and both use that term for that particular action (and were using that term before he got there).

I meant the person who was offended.

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I wonder if they think he's saying something else or that obliterated means something else.

 

Weird.

 

I wonder that too.

I remember being frustrated with a classmate, and commenting she was very obtuse.  I was accused of calling her fat.  (well, she was morbidly obese.  but that's not what obtuse means.)

 

It’s written on a form.

Surely, they’d look up the word if they didn’t know the meaning. Or maybe not. Idk.

 

it's amazing how many people don't look up words.  if they *think* they know what it means - why would they look it up?

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Weird. The customer didn't give any reason as to why he or she found it offensive?

None that I can remember. I think dh mentioned that possibly the word sounded too violent. But I think that’s what he came up with, not what the customer said. Idk. And he’s asleep now so I can’t ask.

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I meant the person who was offended.

Oh. :lol:

I do think it’s a ridiculous word to use in that instance; it just doesn’t fit. Hey!! Maybe that’s it! Maybe she’s a grammarphile!

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Obliterate is not offensive.  However, if the customer says it is, perhaps "remove" would be a better term.

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So I was curious and looked it up on both urban dictionary and wiktionary. No offensive extra meaning on either. Is there a secret hidden wiktionary that has the double meanings, or were you just assuming there would be one?

 

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.

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So I was curious and looked it up on both urban dictionary and wiktionary. No offensive extra meaning on either. Is there a secret hidden wiktionary that has the double meanings, or were you just assuming there would be one?

Well! I had looked it up on a quick google search and was shocked at what I found in the meanings. I don't talk like that so I'm not going to post it, very crude language for one. For another, I didn't link and post, so there's that. AND NOW, now when I look on those websites, it is not even like it was when I looked the first time. 

No, I wasn't assuming there would be one. Why would I have posted what I did if I was making an assumption?

It was highly offensive and used vulgar language.

Like I said, it was corruption of the language and I don't know why it changed from one time to the next. If I find it, I'll link it for you.

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