The word “tot” doesn’t give me the heebie-jeebies all by itself (not like, say, “linoleum,” or “panties”), but it seems like CNN has developed quite a fetish for the use of the word. I suppose it’s to save headline space and help make their lists of links look nicer by preventing lines from wrapping, but it just seems out of place in nearly every case. Used less frequently, and to slightly less consternation on my part is the word “kin.”

Neither of these words seem appropriate to the types of stories they are used to promote. They seem to convey a sense of informality, or even condescension, that is rarely appropriate to the content of the story.

Here are some examples that make my stomach turn in the way it used to every day working for a television station:

  • Tot who died on Disney ride had bad heart
  • Missing tot’s trail goes cold after three months
  • Tot had heart sticker on mouth
  • Tot mom meant to kill!
  • Twister kills two mothers protecting kin
  • Buffett: Tax my kin, please (not surprisingly, Buffet did not actually say “kin”)
  • Kidnapped soldier’s kin: Stop the killing

And a whole shitload more from google.