Banished words: A New Year’s tradition
January 6, 2013 by Mark McGlothlen
What words make you cringe when you hear them? Are there some words that you could go without ever hearing again?
Lake Superior State University recently released its annual “banished words list” and has been doing so since 1976. What began as a silly publicity stunt for the little-known school has since turned into a New Year’s Day tradition.
According to their website, the school — which was founded in 1946 as a branch of Michigan College of Mining and Technology — was opened to make room for returning World War II veterans. W.T. (Bill) Rabe, then the university’s Public Relations Director, released his first “List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness” on New Year’s Day, because it was typically a slow news day and the story would get more press.
He was right.
People from all over the world now send in their suggestions for words, phrases or expressions that they would like to see banished from our lives … for good. After Rabe retired in 1987, the University copyrighted the list and continues it to this day.
The 38th annual list includes the following words:
Fiscal cliff, kick the can down the road, double down, job creators/creation, passion/passionate, YOLO (you only live once), spoiler alert, bucket list, trending, superfood, boneless wings and guru.
Other banished words/phrases from previous years include:
Git-Er-Done, holiday tree, I see what you’re saying, I’m just saying, you’re fired, your call is very important to us, vast majority and up or down vote. Obviously you can see that many of these came from specific time periods over the last 38 years.
I was glad to see the phrase “double down” on the list. I grew very tired of hearing every reporter and talk show host say “the Romney campaign is going to double down on that comment” or “Obama is going to double down on his request to raise taxes” all throughout the election.
I was also pleased to see that my least favorite phrase ever was on the 2006 list: hunker down. I hate it. I do not know why, but I have never liked it and I can bet I never will. And yes, people who know I despise that word, use it whenever possible when they are around me.
I would like to see anything related to the Jersey Shore, including Snooki, the Situation, JWOWW and the rest of the crew be banished, not only in word form, but also from television. How about award winners, who instead of thanking those that helped them achieve their “greatness,” use their acceptance speech as a political soapbox. I know that is a little off topic, but it drives me crazy nonetheless. Give it a rest already!
And finally, why not add the word compromise to the list, at least as it relates to our elected leaders. You know, the same leaders who vow during a campaign and in their acceptance speeches that they will work with both sides of the aisle to compromise on issues to help move our country forward, only to forget that they ever said that.
It is too bad that our country has to be at a place where compromise is supposedly wanted, but when it comes down to it, both sides only want what they want and to heck with everyone else. And has much as I would like to say it happens just in politics, that is sadly not the case. But yet, we keep supporting the same candidates who only work for themselves, so what can you do?
Oh well. We can hope that 2013 will be a year of compromise. But I am not “holding my breath” (which should be on the list as well, but isn’t). Maybe next year.