Updated 8 October 2022
I stole the idea for this page from Richard Stallman. It's simply a list of words and phrases that I recommend not using, and why. I try to give useful alternatives.
APR (annual percentage rate): better to say interest rate, or simply rate. First of all, "annual" should be replaced with "annualized," because the quoted rate is before compounding.
More to the point, the "AP" refers to the units of measure (an annualized percentage), rather than to the quantity itself. Also, "APR" is only ever used in consumer finance, and never in economics or trading.
artist: usually better to say "painter," "sculptor," etc.
book: usually better to say "novel," "memoir," etc. The contents are more important than the format you're reading them in.
bougie: mispronunciation of "bourgeois."
bowl: a vessel for serving food, not a type of food itself. Restaurants selling "bowls" make the food sound like interchangeable slop.
coding: like programming, but includes softer tasks like writing Excel formulas. Often used in the sense of "we should teach more X to code." Can be condescending, because it implies that X have the ability to "code" but perhaps not to "program."
conspiracy theory: an innuendo used to ridicule an idea and imply that it's false. Does not literally refer to a theory about conspiracies, since of course some conspiracies do happen. Better to say "false," "discredited," "speculative," as the case may be.
hype: often incorrectly used instead of "hyped."
problematic: an innuendo for some form of bigotry. Better to say what the problem is, rather than hint at it.
STEAM: science, technology, engineering, art, and math. This term lumps together unrelated things without being exhaustive. (It leaves out history and literature, for example.) Better to say "sciences and humanities," or "a well-rounded education."