Mike, Zac, and I got into a discussion about words that you just can’t print (the words, not the discussion). These aren’t vulgarities. They are perfectly fine words that, for one reason or another, simply don’t work in print. “Facsimileing” got the discussion started. The gerund form of the word looks insane. I think at D Magazine it will always have to be “making a facsimile of something.” Here are the other we (and others) must avoid:
Niggardly. It’s a perfectly fine word and totally unrelated to that other N-word. But it’s essentially the same damn word. Too dangerous.
Whinge. It means nearly the same thing as “whine,” so, in context, readers will think we meant to use “whine,” and that zany “g” will make them think we goofed. Our readers are smart, but I think “whinge” trips up even smart readers.
Pussy. Get your mind out of the gutter. I’m talking about an infection. The problem here, of course, is that studies have shown that 87 percent of Americans have their minds in the gutter.
Lightninging. Mike brought this one up. He claims that if it’s thundering outside, then it should also be lightninging. Mike is insane. This is not a perfectly fine word. We’re not printing it.