Is it Okay to Call a Fat Person a Fat Person?

Is there a better word I ought to be using?

Roz Warren, Writing Coach
Ask an Editor

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Photo by AllGo - An App For Plus Size People on Unsplash

Is it okay to say that a person is “fat?”

Is the word “fat” merely descriptive or is it judgmental?

I’m a writer. I am also an editor who works with writers to help them make their work better.

When you’re writing, using a descriptive term is usually better than using a euphemism, which is why I think of “fat” as being a better description than “rounded” or “curvy.”

But some folks find the term “fat” offensive.

The internet seems to agree. Do a little research and you’ll find plenty of recommendations that we writers use words that are “kinder” than “fat.” For instance?

Use body positive synonyms and adjectives, like curvy, plus-size, ample, thick, rounded, voluptuous, abundant, bountiful, generous, or full.

My mother, a very polite woman, would probably approve of this advice. Mom would never describe somebody else as being fat. Instead, she’d say they were zaftig or “pleasantly plump.”

A five-year-old I was babysitting recently corrected me when I referred to a “big fat pillow.” He told me that he’d learned in school that “fat” was a “bad word” and I wasn’t allowed to use it. And I wasn’t…

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Roz Warren, Writing Coach
Ask an Editor

Writing Coach and Editor Roz Warren (roSwarren@gmail.com) will help you improve and publish your work.