2010 Banned Words
This year's list doesn't thrill me as much as last year's did, though I do have three observations.
First, I agree that most of the listed words are annoying (e.g., "tweet.," "chillaxin'," or "friend" as a verb) but that doesn't mean they are useless or overused. All of those words are irritating, but not banish-worthy. If someone says "I friended so-and-so," we all know they're talking about facebook. No misuse or uselessness there.
Others from the list, however, are right on point. "Czar" for example. Everyone who isn't talking about Russia should just stop using it. Right now. Ditto "teachable moment." I can't stand that phrase any more than the good folks at Lake Superior State University -- it's condescending, pseudo-philosophical, and just . . . yuck. I wish it would go away. What's wrong with "lesson"? Lastly, (*cough* Armen *cough*) I see that I have been vindicated with respect to "these economic times."
Third, there are a couple words on the list that I think are perfectly useful. "App" is one. So, probably, is "sexting." I mean, it really gets the point across, isn't prone to misuse, and if it's over-used, well, that may say more about our culture than it does about our language.
Finally, here are a few words and phrases I feel should be on the list, but didn't make it.
- "Pragmatic." Ugh. This is a high-nosed person's way of claiming to be blue collar. They could just say "realistic" but that word is too proletariat, too common, and creates a risk that people actually will think the person is common. "Pragmatic" is the verbal prius of American English, the goldfish of pets, and the Joe Lieberman of the republican party.
- "It's all good." The only time people use this phrase is when something isn't good.
- "Douche." It's been repeated to oblivion, thanks largely to all the douches out there. We need a new word or phrase for this idea. I'll open the comments by inviting your to imbed your suggestions in derogatory sentences directed at me. They're inevitable, so we might as well make it productive.
Labels: Grammar Snarks