Lake Superior State University released its 34th version of their annual List of Words to Be Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness earlier this week. Inspired by interest in the environment, frenzy over politics, and the economic downturn, the 15 entries selected from over 5,000 nominations include:
“If something is good for the environment, just say so. As Kermit would say, ‘It isn’t easy being green.’” Kevin Sherlock, Hiawatha, Iowa.
2. CARBON FOOTPRINT or CARBON OFFSETTING
“It is now considered fashionable for everyone, tree hugger or lumberjack alike, to pay money to questionable companies to ‘offset’ their own ‘carbon footprint.’ What a scam! Get rid of it immediately!” Ginger Hunt, London, England.
“The constant repetition of this word for months before the US election diluted whatever meaning it previously had. Even the comic offshoot ‘mavericky’ was terribly overused. A minimum five-year banishment of both words is suggested so they will not be available during the next federal election.” Matthew Mattila, Green Bay, Wisc. 4. FIRST DUDE
“Skateboard English is not an appropriate way to refer to the spouse of a high-ranking public official.” Paul Ruschmann, Canton, Mich.
“Use of emergency funds to remove toxic assets from banks’ balance sheets is not a bailout. When your cousin calls you from jail in the middle of the night, he wants a bailout.” Ben Green, State College, Penn.
6. WALL STREET/MAIN STREET
“When this little dyad first came into use at the start of the financial crisis, I thought it was a clever use of parallelism. But it’s simply over-used. No ’serious’ discussion of the crisis can take place without some political figure lamenting the fact that the trouble on Wall Street is affecting ‘folks’ on Main Street.” Charles Harrison, Aiken, SC.
“Especially on the Internet, many people seem to think they can make any boring name sound more attractive just by adding the word ‘monkey’ to it. Do a search to find the latest. It is no longer funny.” Rogier Landman, Somerville, Mass.
8. The emoticon: <3
It’s a heart, see, but as Andrea Estrada from Chicago says: “Just say the word instead of making me turn my head sideways and wondering what ‘less than three’ means.”
9. ICON or ICONIC
As Robyn Yates of Dallas says: “Everyone and everything cannot be ‘iconic.’ Can’t we switch to ‘legendary’ or ‘famous for’?”
10. GAME CHANGER
“It’s game OVER for this cliché, which gets overused in the news media, political arenas and in business.” Cynthia, Mt. Pleasant, Mich.
“Occurrences of this word are going up with gas prices.’Vacation’ does not mean ‘travel,’ nor does travel always involve vacation. Let’s send this word on a slow boat to nowhere.” Dan Muldoon, Omaha, Neb.
12. DESPERATE SEARCH
“Every time the news can’t find something intelligent to report, they start on a ‘desperate search’ for someone, somewhere.” Rick A. Hyatt, Saratoga, Wyo.
13. NOT SO MUCH
“I wish that the phrase was used not so much,” says Tom Benson of Milwaukee.
14. WINNER OF FIVE NOMINATIONS
“It hasn’t won an Academy Award yet. It has only been NOMINATED!” John Bohenek, Abilene, Tex.
15. IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN
“When is it not ‘that time of year again?” asks Kathleen Brosemer of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. “From Valentine’s sales to year-end charity letters, invitations to summer picnics and Christmas parties, it’s ‘that time’ of year again. Just get to the point of the solicitation, invitation, and newsletter and cut out six useless and annoying words.”
Misused, overused, and generally useless words and phrases I’d love to see banished in 2009 include:
1. “Baby bump”
3. I just “threw up a little in my mouth”
4. “Literally” as in “I literally lost my sh*t”
5. “Like” when used 8 times in every sentence all day, everyday, just please, please for the love of God, quit saying “like” all the time
6. Combined names like “Brangelina,” “TomKat,” and “Billary.” It was kinda clever back when we had the original “Bennifer,” but come on, enough already!!