Toxic word

Almost any word can be used toxically or non-toxically, according to context. However, some words are more often used toxically than others.

When a word is used toxically, it covertly diminishes the power or happiness of the speaker or listener.

Words are toxic for one or more of the following five reasons:

1) Should-ness words: The connotation of the word includes a "should" or "should not" component. This should-ness can easily distract us from an accurate assessment of BeCoPoRiNNOO of the presented claim.

  • "Defending your country is your duty."

  • "Don't be a loser."

  • "I just can't help being lazy."

  • "I trust her with my life."

  • "I told you so." (blaming)

  • "They expect me to take care of them." Expect implies some should-ness.

  • Why did you do that?" The "why" is accusatory, not curious.

2) Overgeneralizations: The word or expression overgeneralizes, thereby inviting inaccurate assessments in a specific circumstance (and often compounded with some should-ness).