Words to ‘nix’ in your headlines

By · Saturday, May 10th, 2014

If you want to get people to read your content, start with a headline that smartly markets your material. Be clear and specific. Use everyday words that people will recognize. Avoid go-to words for headlines — commonly referred to as headlinese — that you ordinarily would not use in conversation. Consider our list, as a start. Then add to it as you see fit.


  1. Aim (for intend)
  2. Blast, slap, knock, rap, rip (for criticize or attack)
  3. Can (for firing a person)
  4. Clash (for a confrontation of most any kind)
  5. Cry foul (for any complaint)
  6. Dodge (for avoid)
  7. Dogs (used to characterize a persistent problem)
  8. Eye (for examine or watch)
  9. Feds (for federal officials)
  10. Funds (for money)
  11. Hike (for increase)
  12. Irks (for angers or annoys)
  13. Mull (for think or consider)
  14. Mum (a catch-all word, usually when the government won’t comment)
  15. Nab (for catch)
  16. Nix (for veto, block or deny)
  17. Pits (for people or issues in conflict)
  18. Plagues (for annoys or overwhelms)
  19. Probe (for investigate or look into)
  20. Run amok (for anything out of control)
  21. Scrap (for ending something)
  22. Tap (for nominate, appoint or name)
  23. Via (for by or through)
  24. Woes (for problems)
  25. Woo (for recruit or lobby)

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