The Mirror

BuzzFeed Forbids The Word ‘Listicle’

Betsy Rothstein Gossip blogger
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BuzzFeed may have invented the listicle, but it sure as hell doesn’t want its staff using that disgusting word.

Anecdotal evidence abounds. Inevitably whenever I say it, the word that comes flying back at me is a male body part. In fact, when I asked for random reaction to the word, a coworker emailed to say, “Won’t lie. Reminds me of testicles.” Another remarked, “It sounds like a nasty, physical symptom of an STD.”

From Daily Caller Education Editor Eric Owens: “It sounds like an itchy, unpleasant burning sensation you pick up in Amsterdam. I wish there was another word.”

 BuzzFeed, according to an updated public Style Guide as discovered by Poynter, has declared that it does not want reporters using the word “listicle” in stories or in, er, listicles. The preferred word: “list.”

I tried to get to the bottom of precisely why BuzzFeed doesn’t want its reporters using the word “listicle.” Chief of Staff Ashley McCollum couldn’t respond because she is traveling down under. I wrote Jamie, a woman McCollum’s outgoing email says to contact in her absence. I also sought comment from Executive Editor Shani Hilton. She didn’t really answer the question, but instead directed me to a tweet that said, “’List’ is house style!” But what’s wrong with the word “listicle?” Will report back if she answers the inquiry.

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Despite BuzzFeed‘s surprising aversion to the word, it’s in the Oxford Dictionary as well as Wikipedia. Amusing fun fact: Oxford even uses BuzzFeed in its definition (see below). Wikipedia also mentions it, saying, “Some websites, such as Buzzfeed, are devoted almost entirely to the listicle format.”

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Some of the other more interesting additions to BuzzFeed‘s guide are as follows:

Blow job, bi-curious, camel toe, cisgender, cockblock, girly (as a synonym for girlish) vs. girlie (featuring scantily clad women), hand job, mother effing, nip slip, Pornhub and SBD (silent but deadly).