I use the word optimize in every possible place it fits. Optimize that recipe. I have optimized my walking style. Can my driving be optimized? You bet! The word rolls off my tongue even when I am silently typing.
I never use some words because I do not fully understand their meaning and do not want to sound like an idiot. Argyle? Something to do with socks. Bloodthirsty? Umm, I think that has something to do with motivation. Googleplex? That’s a big number, but I do not know how big. Ribosomes? It’s some silly biological term. Myocardial? A doctor used that once in a health video. Metastatic? I think that was the same doctor.
That’s all understandable, but there is one word I avoid, like the plague, yet I fully understand the meaning. Unassailable describes a condition that cannot be argued against. If there is a video of a person committing a crime, their guilt is unassailable. Writers often use it in mathematics, law, engineering, and critical discussions.
Now, hold on. There are some conditions where I know the word legitimately applies. 2+2=4. The math is unassailable. Yes and no. The logic is flawless, but 2+2=4 is not unassailable; it is a correct equation with room for disagreement. Two apples plus two oranges do not equal four planes.
It seems like this word has many applications, so do I hate it with a passion? Because it is offensive to the reader. It is as if I said, “Hey, I discovered something, and you cannot contradict me, jerk!”
I can show you why I hate this work with this very sentence. I do not know who will read my words. You could be a serial killer, truck driver, or someone who accidentally clicked on a link. Yet, I have the same goal: for you to be entertained, educated, and enjoy my creation. Yet, there is no guarantee of success. My sentence might even bring resentment, but deep in my heart, I tried my best to present something enjoyable.
Allow me to make a brief exception with one awful sentence. Jack, and, Jill, went, up, a, hill, to, fetch, a, pale, of, water. Wow, those comas were so annoying. And that sentence? Could I have been any more cliché? Anger is boiling, and words are turning green like the Hulk. Roar!
Reading the word unassailable feels the same as that awful sentence. Why would I want to insult the people I am trying to entertain? “I am smarter than you!” Nobody likes that attitude. I want my readers to smile, but that word goes against every writing instinct I have. It is like it has a poor attitude reservoir.
I suppose we all have our little quirks. Grammar mongers dislike improper punctuation and go to great lengths to point out mistakes. Wordsmiths take great joy in using obscure words in everyday sentences. I love the band Rush, which probably makes the people who adore classical music freak out. Oh, well, that’s life, which is an unassailable conclusion.
PS, My three hundredth blog!

You’re the best -Bill
December 13, 2023

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