2011 Banished Words
For a couple years now I have posted the Lake Superior State University’s annual “List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness.” The list, I am afraid, is in decline.
The 2007 list had some truly obnoxious phrases (e.g., “we’re pregnant” — um, no, “she’s pregnant; we're having a baby.” Future fathers should be forever banned from saying “we are pregnant” until men actually have personal experience with morning sickness, hormonal Armageddon, and childbirth. Until then, they should show their support in some other way) and I felt the 2008 list was a true winner. It included: “organic” (as in, “my business is organic”); “wordsmithing” (sort of an insult to people who work with their hands); “post 9/11” (don’t even get me started); “give back” (which implies that one’s daily transactions throughout life are a form of theft); “random” (how can a person be random?); and “it is what it is” (no kidding?).
The reason those prior lists were so effective is that they were able to capture words and phrases whose popularity had surged in the preceding 12 months. They were fun to read because they told us something insightful about the preceding year. But the 2011 list? It mostly includes common (albeit sort of dumb) phrases that do not in any way define 2010. And frankly, the result is pretty crappy. Of the dozen entries on the list, only five belong:
- Mama grizzlies. (I actually don’t know if this belongs – it is truly obnoxious, but not “over used” or “misused” or “useless”)
- Refudiate. (Just . . . a stupid word coined during a confused moment in a stupid mind)
- BFF. (Real BFF’s don’t have to say so)
- Epic. (A fantastic literary word now commandeered by people who have never read a book)
- Live life to the fullest. (Ugh)
- Wow factor
- Ah-ha moment
- The American people
- I’m just sayin’.
- Man up. (We could stand to hear a bit more of this phrase in 2011, not less)
- Fail. (Not overused, mis-used, or useless, but check back next year)
- Google/Facebook as verbs. (I suppose the complainers have never xeroxed a sheet of paper, gassed their house to get rid of termites, or briefed an appeal)
- Viral. (What is wrong with this word? The word is used to describe something with the properties of a virus, be it describing a disease or an embarrassing YouTube clip)
Labels: Grammar Snarks