In 1977, one year after Lake Superior State University Public Relations Director W.T. (Bill) Rabe released the first “banished words list,” he said that the international reaction from news media and the public told him “it would go on forever.”
Forever may be stretching it, but the annual List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness has been going strong since New Year’s Day 1976 and shows no signs of stopping. People from around the world have nominated hundreds of words and phrases such as “you know,” “user friendly,” “at this point in time,” and “have a nice day,” to be purged from the language.
And now, here’s a look at the 2011 list. Get ready for the “wow factor!” It’s full of “epic” “a-ha moments” that are sure to “viral.” It’s a no-“fail” list that you’ll be “facebooking” and “googling” with your “BFFs.” “Just sayin’.”
2011 Banished Buzzwords
Viral- Often used to describe the spreading of items on the Internet i.e. ‘The video went viral.’ It is overused. Jim Cance, Plainwell, Mich.
Epic- More than one nominator says the use of ‘epic’ has become an epic annoyance. Kim U., Des Moines, Iowa.
Fail- One nominator says, “what originally may have been a term for a stockbroker’s default is now abused by today’s youth as virtually any kind of ‘failure.’ Whether it is someone tripping, a car accident, a costumed character scaring the living daylights out a kid, or just a poor choice in fashion, these people drive me crazy thinking that anything that is a mistake is a ‘fail.’
Wow Factor- This buzzword is served up with a heaping of cliché factor and a side order of irritation. Dan Muldoon, Omaha, Neb.
A-Ha Moment- All this means is a point at which you understand something or something becomes clearer. Why can’t you just say that? Audrey Mayo, Killeen, Tex.
Back Story- This should be on the list of words that don’t need to exist because a perfectly good word has been used for years. In this case, the word is ‘history,’ or, for those who must be weaned, ‘story. Jeff Williams, Sherwood, Ariz.
BFF- These chicks call each other BFF (Best Friends Forever) and it lasts about 10 minutes. Clare Rabe Forgach, Ft. Collins, Colo.
Man Up- A stupid phrase when directed at men. Even more stupid when directed at a woman, as in ‘Alexis, you need to man up and join that Pilates class!’ Sherry Edwards, Clarkston, Mich.
Refudiate- Adding this word to the English language simply because a part-time politician lacks a spell checker on her cell phone is an action that needs to be repudiated.” Dale Humphreys, Muskegon, Mich.
Mama Grizzlies- Unless you are referring to a scientific study of Ursus arctos horribilis , this analogy of right-wing female politicians should rest in peace.” Mark Carlson, Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
The American People- No one in Washington can pontificate for more than two sentences without using it. Beyond overuse, these people imply that ‘the American people’ want/expect/demand all the same things. They don’t.” Dick Hilker, Loveland, Colo.
I’m just Sayin’- I’m just sayin’…’I’m not sayin”’…Actually, you ARE saying…A watered-down version of what I just said or intended to say….SAY what you are saying. DON’T SAY what you aren’t saying.” Julio Appling, Vancouver, Wash.
Facebook / Google as verbs- Facebook is a great, addicting website. Google is a great search engine. However, their use as verbs causes some deep problems. As bad as they are, the trend can only get worse, i.e. ‘I’m going to Twitter a few people, then Yahoo the movie listings and maybe Amazon a book or two.” Jordan of Waterloo, Ont.
Live Life to the Fullest- It’s an absurdity followed by a redundancy. First, things are full or they’re not; there is no fullest. Second, ‘live life’ is redundant. Finally, the expression is nauseatingly overused. What’s wrong with enjoying life fully or completely? The phrase makes me gag. I’m surprised it hasn’t appeared on the list before. Sylvia Hall, Williamsport, Penn.
For the story and complete banished word list go to: http://bit.ly/eycUHB
LSSU accepts nominations for the banished-words list throughout the year. To submit your nomination for the 2012 list, go to http://www.lssu.edu/banished/submit_word.php.