Wikivoyage talk:Words to avoid

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world famous[edit]

Hi, any advice on use of world famous. I think this is an over used term. Should. it be a word to avoid? Also 'must see' should this be added too? thanks username crann20 17/5/21 I have seen two entries in ireland , Giant's causeway and description of Dublin. 2 North Coast (Causeway Coast) — the north coast of Northern Ireland has some of the best scenery in Europe and has to be seen to be believed. This coastline is of outstanding natural beauty where breathtaking and rugged coastline merge into the romantic landscape of deep silent glens and lush forest parks. There are also spectacular waterfalls, dramatic castles and mysterious ruins. The world-famous Giant's Causeway (Northern Ireland's only UNESCO World Heritage site) with its array of hexagonal basalt columns and tales of ancient Irish giants, and 'Old Bushmills', the world's oldest licensed whiskey distillery, are just two attractions, which are a must for every visit to Northern Ireland. There are fantastic golf courses at Portstewart, Castlerock and most notably at Portrush (Royal Portrush). Beautiful, unspoilt sandy beaches also extend along the coast.

I agree: "world famous" is hackneyed. I find it is often used to describe things I haven't heard of, so they aren't actually world-famous, or are being used in a touty way. If something is world-famous, like the Giant's Causeway or Dublin, then you don't have to tell the reader this -- they already know. I think there will usually be a more interesting way of getting the point across, unless it is L&P Soda, which is w:World famous in New Zealand, and should always be identified as such.
Please try to remember to sign your posts on talk pages with four tildes, like this: ~~~~. Thanks. Ground Zero (talk) 15:48, 17 May 2021 (UTC)
If something really is world famous, I don't see the problem in using the term. Giant's Causeway is absolutely justly world-famous. Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:28, 17 May 2021 (UTC)
If a description is touty or untrue, it should be rewritten, but I don't see why we would avoid noting something's fame. A lot of people like to know that they're visiting someplace that's "world famous", even if they already know (because it's world-famous). "Must see" can be patronizing to some, but for people unfamiliar with a location, it can be helpful. Some places have too many attractions or a lot of the same type of attractions (temples/churches/galleries/historic buildings you can enter/etc.) and they start to all look and sound the same at times. Letting people know the ones to target if they have limited time (or interest) can lessen stress if written well and with proper consideration of the location and the typical traveler to said location. You can also note that it's a "must see" for a particular type of traveler, like "X is a must-see for anyone with an interest in African masks and related rituals and festivals." or "X is a must-see for those interested in traditional Japanese pottery" - Maybe these places are actually of low interest to the average traveler but they are of high interest to a targeted type of traveler. In these instances, it is also useful. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 14:49, 18 May 2021 (UTC)

Yes, a must-see is absolutely non-sense. Only suitable for people who do everything what other people tell them to do. Flightnavigator (talk) 17:21, 4 July 2021 (UTC)

No, this is something to tell others and amounts to "In our collective opinion, if you're going to see anything in City X, a, b, and c are musts". They can make up their own minds. Ikan Kekek (talk) 17:51, 4 July 2021 (UTC)

Forcing travellers to do things[edit]

In the world there are no must-see sights, no must-do things. Your trip is always complete if it is your opinion. Everything else is just marketing blabla, which Wikivoyage should be free of.

Wikivoyage is a travel guide that accepts different ways of travelling, diverse people and should not make visitors a bad feeling if they did not do something.

I was in Jordan, passed the world wonder Petra and did not visit it. Even though I would have had enough time for doing so. Let people their freedom what they want to do while travelling. Flightnavigator (talk) 17:18, 4 July 2021 (UTC)

I agree. This is a word we should try to avoid. However, in specific instances, it applies, per ChubbyWimbus's comment in the previous section. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 17:21, 4 July 2021 (UTC)
I disagree. Calling something a "must-see" doesn't force anyone to do anything but is basically equivalent to the Michelin Guide Vert giving a sight 3 stars, meaning that it by itself is worth a trip (not a detour but a dedicated trip) to see. I respect your point of view, Flightnavigator, but I wouldn't put this on a list of words to avoid. Ikan Kekek (talk) 17:49, 4 July 2021 (UTC)
I think especially in towns which are known for a specific thing we should point out both what are the best things related to that thing and what someone can do who doesn't care for that thing yet finds they have to spend at that place regardless. For example, the best car related attraction at Wolfsburg is probably Autostadt whereas phaeno already has some words to the effect "if you don't care for cars, here's how to still have fun in WOB" Hobbitschuster (talk) 19:21, 4 July 2021 (UTC)

The word 'must' already indicates, that the traveller should do it.

Instead Wikivoyage is there to show options to the traveller with according neutral information. Flightnavigator (talk) 00:07, 6 July 2021 (UTC)

If we're being literal it does. But my feeling is that we should be careful in damning words and expressions completely. In Paris, the Louvre is a must for a first-time visitor unless they absolutely hate art and/or museums. But my feeling is, feel free to look for more elegant phrasings when you happen to come across this expression. Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:47, 6 July 2021 (UTC)

What used to be[edit]

In Gainesville (Florida), I noticed the following passage (boldface on business names removed, but emphasis added):

Grog House, Salty Dog, Balls, XS, and Gator City (formerly the Purple Porpoise in Gainesville's heyday) all share the same building. Almost any night of the week one can find great specials and large crowds. Near by is the restaurant/bar Swamp housed in a former professor's house. It is a can't miss both for the atmosphere and the decent food.
The downtown area is a combination of clubs and more laid back bars. Places like the Loosey's, Lillian's (a former music store) and Stubby's, a bar that features hundreds of imported beers, cater to an older crowd. Clubs such as :08 and Sky having dancing and music but are usually most crowded on "ladies' night."

How much should we include or avoid descriptions of what things used to be? That reminds me of jokes about places where people give directions by saying things like "You go down this road and make a left where the barn burned down a couple of years ago ...." When I see a lot of "former"s in the text on Wikivoyage, I'm not sure they should all be there. --Metropolitan90 (talk) 04:36, 29 August 2021 (UTC)

Basically, whatever either many travelers would remember and/or that's interesting. In the Old City of Munich, there's a square that's usually called Stachus, which was the name of a pub that went out of business in the 18th century! Ikan Kekek (talk) 04:49, 29 August 2021 (UTC)
I believe that former identities of sights and businesses can be helpful in finding certain locations and that the history of a place is often interesting to travellers. Whether a certain instance is useful has to be judged on a case by case. Nelson Ricardo 2500 (talk) 05:05, 29 August 2021 (UTC)
Directions in Nicaragua are usually based on landmarks ("From the American Embassy, two blocks West, one block South" or some such). Including - and in the case of Managua this is all too common - landmarks that no longer exist. I think this is very much a case by case basis. Especially if something, while publicly accessible, is notable more for what it once was than for what it currently is - say, for example the former Nazi Party Rallying Grounds in Nuremberg... Hobbitschuster (talk) 17:25, 30 August 2021 (UTC)
We should preferrably write down the period, century or decade, if not given by context. /Yvwv (talk) 17:44, 30 August 2021 (UTC)

Stilted translations[edit]

Should we include stitled translations? For example, "patrimony" is a cromulent English word, cognate to a similar word (e.g., pátrimonio) in several languages. Problem is, most educated English speakers have no clue that this word means "heritage", but many non-native speakers use this and similar stilted translations in articles. @Mx. Granger has some great examples at User:Mx. Granger#Unidiomatic word-for-word translations. Nelson Ricardo 2500 (talk) 20:07, 30 August 2021 (UTC)

What is your proposed remedy to this? Should we delete stilted translations, or re-phrase them? I import a fair bit of text from other language Wikivoyages and Wikipediae using Google Translate, and try to keep an eye out for awkward translations. If the translation doesn't make sense at all, and I can't figure out the meaning, I don't include the text. Ground Zero (talk) 20:25, 30 August 2021 (UTC)
I would try to keep them and translate them more idiomatically. If we add these to the page, we would include the stilted word as the bold entry, with idiomatic English equivalents below. Nelson Ricardo 2500 (talk) 21:07, 30 August 2021 (UTC)
Yeah, just edit at will, but for the record, I think "patrimony" is fine. Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:13, 30 August 2021 (UTC)

I would add as a fellow native Lusophone: to edit in English Wikivoyage is a continuous and extensive workout of your translation abilities. I reap a lot of fun and knowledge from it. I also apply Ground Zero's method, described above, very very often. You're doing fine, keep it up. Ibaman (talk) 22:45, 30 August 2021 (UTC)

As a native English speaker ("first" & "mother" tongue Portuguese, [see User:Nelson_Ricardo_2500#Biography]), I doubt that I would recognize "patrimony" if not for my knowledge of Portuguese, despite considering myself "educated". I suspect that most Americans, and probably other native Anglophones, would greet that word with, "What the heck is that?!" Some of the words on Granger's list may be more familiar or recognizable, but still sound "off" to native speakers' ears. Nelson Ricardo 2500 (talk) 00:38, 31 August 2021 (UTC)
Just as an aside, while "fatherland" and "motherland" are synonyms, "patrimony" and "matrimony" are not. :-) Ikan Kekek (talk) 08:55, 31 August 2021 (UTC)
In my experience "patrimony" is an uncommon word, especially for the meaning relevant to a travel guide. I would translate the Spanish word patrimonio as "heritage".
I think it may be worth listing this and similar pitfalls somewhere – as Nelson Ricardo 2500 noted, I've started a list like this on my user page. —Granger (talk · contribs) 15:06, 31 August 2021 (UTC)
I concur that these pitfalls are worth listing somewhere other than a user page, and that this page is probably the best place. A related, but slightly different phenomenon, is numbers or prices being formatted as they are in the language of the destination, e.g. 1.000.000 (for one million) or 2,99 €.--ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 15:30, 31 August 2021 (UTC)


I think this should be listed here. Arguably is very ambiguous, and is an indication that one hasn't done their research. There's a good explanation at User:Ground_Zero#Arguably and I feel it should be mentioned here as well. SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 04:23, 3 September 2021 (UTC)

You mean you didn't look up the page and read Wikivoyage talk:Words to avoid#Arguably? I have nothing to add to the comments in that thread in opposition to putting this word on the list. Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:47, 3 September 2021 (UTC)
Do you have an argument that hasn't been raised before? Otherwise, I think it is arguably very unlikely you'll convince anyone who was opposed above and arguably a waste of time. Hobbitschuster (talk) 17:59, 6 September 2021 (UTC)
The word arguably lacks a direct translation to many other languages, and can be used as a weasel word. We should use more objective wording. /Yvwv (talk) 21:08, 6 September 2021 (UTC)
Translatability is not an objective criterion and I fail to see its relevance. Hobbitschuster (talk) 20:49, 7 September 2021 (UTC)
Definitely not relevant. Nor is this site supposed to be objective. Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:21, 7 September 2021 (UTC)
It remains a weasel word. "Arguably the best" is a weasally way of getting around our advice not to describe something as being "the best". Anyone can argue anything, so anything is "arguably" something else. The world is arguably flat and not round because people do argue that. We can do better than to use lazy words like that. Ground Zero (talk) 22:28, 7 September 2021 (UTC)
Do I need to repeat the points I made above? Suffice it to say that it can be a weasel word but is not always one. Ikan Kekek (talk) 06:50, 8 September 2021 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── To add onto what Ground Zero mentioned, arguably is what simple.wikipedia is full of, and hence why I'm not inclined to trust it. (given that the simple.wikipedia is full of banned English Wikipedia editors, not too surprising why). I can arguably say that the Simple English Wikipedia is not reliable because arguably yeah I could arguably go on... SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 12:42, 8 September 2021 (UTC)

Should I copy the entire thread that's up the page here? Is anyone adding any new arguments? "Arguably" is sometimes useful and meaningful. Read the thread above. Thanks. Ikan Kekek (talk) 18:30, 8 September 2021 (UTC)


I can see how this word could be used unnecessarily, but if it's used to describe a class (particularly a university course) that teaches people how to make or understand good food as an academic discipline, it would fit. Here's part of Wikipedia's take:

Gastronomy involves discovering, tasting, experiencing, researching, understanding and writing about food preparation and the sensory qualities of human nutrition as a whole. It also studies how nutrition interfaces with the broader culture. The biological and chemical basis of cooking has become known as molecular gastronomy, while gastronomy covers a much broader, interdisciplinary ground.

The culinary term appears for the first time in a title in a poem by Joseph Berchoux in 1801 entitled "Gastronomie" Pascal Ory, a French historian, defines gastronomy as the establishment of rules of eating and drinking, an "art of the table", and distinguishes it from good cooking (bonne cuisine) or fine cooking (haute cuisine). Ory traces the origins of gastronomy back to the French reign of Louis XIV when people took interest in developing rules to discriminate between good and bad style and extended their thinking to define good culinary taste. The lavish and sophisticated cuisine and practices of the French court became the culinary model for the French. Alexandre Grimod de La Reynière wrote the gastronomic work Almanach des gourmands (1803), elevating the status of food discourse to a disciplined level based on his views of French tradition and morals. Grimod aimed to reestablish order lost after the revolution and institute gastronomy as a serious subject in France.

Since we do cover educational and cooking tourism, there might occasionally be a call for this word in that limited context. Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:44, 3 September 2021 (UTC)

Indeed. Feel free to edit my recent addition as you see fit. Nelson Ricardo 2500 (talk) 06:13, 3 September 2021 (UTC)
OK, I will do that. Thanks. Ikan Kekek (talk) 06:16, 3 September 2021 (UTC)
Done. I think sometimes, "gastronomic" is used as a synonym for "gourmet", though. Ikan Kekek (talk) 06:25, 3 September 2021 (UTC)

Famous, well-known, etc.[edit]

These words are often used appropriately, aren't they? You don't need a citation for the Louvre or Eiffel Tower being famous. I don't really agree with the degree of deprecation these words get on this page. Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:51, 14 September 2021 (UTC)

Agreed. This should be considered case by case but I would think in most cases this word serves as useful travel information. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 00:12, 15 September 2021 (UTC)
  • Contre Those can differ by context. Who is it famous by? Obvious for major POIs like the Louvre or the One World Trade Center, but not for some smaller ones. SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 00:20, 15 September 2021 (UTC)
    • If the context can be explained, the words are fine. Could be famous by world standards or only in a particular city or country. To be honest, nearly all of the words here are okay in some contexts and only problematic when they are used to hype up something which shouldn't be hyped up. Perhaps "words not to overuse" would be a better description than "words to avoid". Gizza (roam) 00:48, 15 September 2021 (UTC)
See Budget travel#Tourist traps. When advertisements use the statement "famous", it is often a counter-indicator. Describing what a place or a building is famous for, is more useful. /Yvwv (talk) 05:19, 15 September 2021 (UTC)
Isn't it obvious that touting is per se wrong, but saying that the Louvre is famous is not touting? Ikan Kekek (talk) 06:22, 15 September 2021 (UTC)
A large number of words on this page, like these, are not even described as words to avoid at all. They are words that are best used with qualifiers rather than emphatically by themselves. The descriptions are much softer and less averse than the title "words to avoid" suggests. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 13:28, 15 September 2021 (UTC)
I don't agree with "historic", in particular, being a word to avoid. One might argue over whether certain events were historic or not, but some were unquestioningly historic by anyone's judgement. The previous wording, "if something is historic, explain why", wasn't so bad. Nurg (talk) 05:13, 16 September 2021 (UTC)
Agree with Nurg about "historic", but I still would say "famous", "well-known" aren't. SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 05:22, 16 September 2021 (UTC)
I agree about "historic", too. Ikan Kekek (talk) 06:02, 16 September 2021 (UTC)