Friday, November 14, 2008

Pet Peeves

Why do they call them PET peeves?

Pet peeves are thing that you can’t stand.  Aren’t pets usually something you enjoy?  If you have a pet, you picked it, brought it home, cared for it and loved it.  You chose to have the pet.  It might get on your nerves sometimes, but you chose to get and keep it, so, why call it a pet peeve?

The term teacher’s pet suggests favoritism, so why a PET peeve? 

I’ve done a search to try to figure it out.  Wikipedia, Answers.com, Dictionary.com, etc all give the same basic definition.  Something that irritates you as an individual; something that drives you crazy that may seem irrational to others.  Okay, well, we knew that. 

But why is it called a PET peeve?  The best understanding of it I can muster is that among all the things that annoy you, this one particular thing annoys you the most, meaning it is your favorite, or pet, annoyance.

While I grasp the concept, it still seems like an oxymoron to me.  Your favorite annoyance?  Really?  Wouldn’t it be your least favorite?  If it annoys you the most, it is the one you like the least. 

While searching the term, it is listed as an “Americanism” which, as much as I love my country, explains a lot.  We have a lot of terms that have been entered into the dictionary as words and phrases that just do not make sense or hurt my ears. 


Perhaps it’s the English degree, but these types of things are, well, my pet peeves.

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