I hate the term “crisp white”.

Hate it.

As I’ve read a lot of books lately, I notice this phrase becoming more and more popular. It’s usually used to describe bed linens or shirts- It means starched or pressed to perfection. It means a true white: no shades of tan or grey or blue: just pale, bleached cotton.

When you are trying to describe something, it helps having a word or phrase that elicits all sorts of thoughts when you read them. Crisp white is one of those words: it can signal perfection, or a level of order. It can describe contrast. It’s a pretty nifty trick to be able to use a word like crisp to precede a very bland color, and be able to tell a story.

I should applaud phraseology like this: however I shun it.

I just don’t ever want to read the words “crisp white” ever again.

Do you think they could do trigger warnings for words?

Because these words give me anxiety…

Why do some words or phrases just drive us crazy?

Is it overuse? Or is it something else?

Do you have any words or phrases that make you go “ewwww”?

Which words or phrases would you like to get rid of?


99 thoughts on “Crisp White

      1. Actually I did. (the one about no right answers when it comes to math). It was the day after cataract procedure.;. ‘ve been laying low on the keyboard. (I woke up this morning after reading an essay on writing tips by Raymond Bradbury, one of his suggestions was make a list of things you hate (and another list of things you love) then ten reasons why you hate that thing..(woke and the related attitudes it represent, was @ the top of my list of “hateful things” so I was primed when I saw your question 🙂

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      2. It took less than five days to see perfectly after surgery. My big issue was being extremely nearsighted and it took several months prior to surgery where I couldn’t wear contacts. My contacts put pressure on my eyes. I’d go in every week and the doctor would measure my Rx which changed from week to week. He waited until the changes stopped so he could get the correct lens.

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  1. I can relate to your feelings on this. There are a few trendy words and phrases that make me want to scream. For example, “Let’s unpack this” (as in exploring or analyzing something), or to “pour into someone”, “throw them under the bus”, or “think outside the box”. I could go on!

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  2. Trigger warning for words, what a wonderful thought process you’ve sent me on. How could it be done? I can think of two ways, both inadequate.

    1. Warning this book contains the phrase “crisp white”.
    2. Warning! This book contains words and phrases that some readers may find offensive, others may adore, and most will consider innocuous.

    Problem. Option 1 uses the word we’re hoping to avoid. Option 2 could refer to absolutely anything. I love it!

    Also, this is, to my knowledge, or at least to my notice, the first I’ve heard “crisp white”.

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      1. That’s a very fair point. But if “crisp white” is what the 21st century has to offer I don’t know that I want it 🤣 just kidding of course, I’m not averse to modern lit, just tend towards older stuff.

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      2. Nothing wrong with reading of any sort. I just read Tomorrow will be Better which had been out of print for a while. It was funny to read a book that actually stated what times were like as opposed to the historical fiction rewriting of history

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  3. I don’t have any particular words but I once stopped reading a book after I said I was going to throw it away if the author called something ironic one more time. It happened and I stopped reading and returned it to the library.

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  4. The phrase, “Crisp white” doesn’t bother me, but I can see how you feel by your post. I am not sure if I have any trigger words – except bad grammar – ie. “I should have went” instead of “I should have gone” which makes me nutty. LOL

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  5. To be honest, at the end of the day I have no fixed opinions on this but before throwing you under the bus I thought I’d run it up the flagpole and see who salutes it. Picking on “crisp, white” which conjures up light airy rooms in an Edwardian summer (when they still had staff to starch the linen) is just going for the low-hanging fruit . At close of play I think we’re all singing from the same hymn sheet here. I have these clichés on my radar and you are correct, it’s time for us change agents to peel the onion and burst forth onto the sunlit uplands of pure language.

    A lot of people use the expressions because they are more interesting than the original ones. In poetry there is a strong movement to outlaw shards, myriads, cerulean, rictus and quiescent. (I got the last one off a list because I could only remember four and wanted five for balance. I had to look it up because I didn’t even know what it meant.)

    Wherever you go, there will be clichés and linguistic tics in writing (I use a fair number myself, so I have to defend them).

    When I hear the words “crisp, white” I can see a whole scene, and even smell the lavender on the linen. I’m not even sure I’ve ever seen the words together in print, but they go together well. Of course, in America you are probably hearing it as “krisp, white”, which I admit gives it a whole new dimension.

    Nobody has ever died from bad writing, though Cervantes and Melville both turned my thoughts to self harm, and they are supposedly writers of Classic Literature.

    However, there is one expression I detest.

    “Can I get…?” when used to order food. No, you can’t. It’s the job of the waiter or waitress to get the order. The words you need are “May I have…?” or something similar. “Can I get…” is bad usage and it also sounds abrupt to the point of rudeness. If you come from New York, you probably disagree, but, as we say in the UK, if the cap fits, wear it. 🙂

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    1. Completely agree that there is no logical reason why I hate crisp white. It is total word imagery. However…I think 8 read it one too many times of late, so the image is starting to fade in my mind. It’s a word trend, and sometimes they get to me.

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    1. Interesting. To me it is about giving up, but not in a bad way. I have used the phrase a lot and its more of a healing phrase, for there are things that we can not do anything about, that we have no power over. So I say it as a reminder to me to not worry about it. That me worrying is not going to change anything, because “it is what it is.” 🙂

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  6. “No problem” in response to ‘thank you’. It WAS a problem and now it’s fixed. THANK YOU. Now say ‘you’re welcome’ and hang up the phone!

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  7. I will try to remember never to use “crisp white” in my stories. Its not a phrase that I can say I hate, but I guess I don’t really care for it much either when I think about it. I know there are phrases I don’t care for but will have to think and will be back! 🙂

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  8. With my propensity for using ‘no problem’, ‘it is what it is’, ‘anyways’, ‘moist’, ‘at the end of the day’ and ‘very’……I’m beginning to see why my WP died 😀 . Great posting btw LA 🙂 .

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  9. Irregardless. I want to jab someone’s eyes out every time I hear or see someone use this word. It just hurts my brain in a “feels like nails on a chalkboard” kind of way. I used to know someone that used it like a kid with candy sprinkles in her regular speech, so I was often exceptionally aggravated when I had to converse with her.

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  10. I recently found a word I didn’t know I’d hate. It was kiddos. The writer was talking about her children. Many people use “kids”, and I’m used to that. However, her using “kiddos” in almost every sentence sent me around the bend. There is no explaining it. It was instant and complete aversion.

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  11. It’s my impression that crisp and white are two different concepts. One tells you the texture of the fabric (crisp = starched) and white tells you the color. It may be that crisp and white together have become a cliche, but crisp isn’t a version of white. You could have starched white or crisp blue, too…

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  12. “In my humble opinion”. Is a phrase that drives me nuts. It’s the word humble I don’t like. No idea why this is chalk on a chalk board to me but it is. As for your term, the only time I can think of crisp and white being used together is when I lived on a farm and hung my white sheets on the line to dry in the cold!! Lol

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