Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Banned Words from 2007

As of this morning, you can no longer use these over-used words, at least that's what Lake Superior State University's annual List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-Use, Over-Use, and General Uselessness would have us believe.

Resist the urge to say you will "wordsmith" your list of New Year's resolutions rather than write one. And don't utter, "It is what it is" when you fail to meet your first goal.

Those are two of the 19 words or phrases that appear in Lake Superior State University's annual List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness. The school in Michigan's Upper Peninsula released its 33rd list Monday, selecting from about 2,000 nominations.

Among this year's picks are "surge," the term for the troop buildup in Iraq. "Give me the old days, when it referenced storms and electrical power," Michael Raczko of Swanton, Ohio, said in nominating the word.

The list also included "waterboarding," "perfect storm," "under the bus" and "organic." Also: "It is what it is," which Jeffrey Skrenes of St. Paul, said "accomplishes the dual feat of adding nothing to the conversation while also being phonetically and thematically redundant."

Sadly for grammar's guardians, the lighthearted list isn't binding, as evidenced by the continued use of past banned words and phrases such as "erectile dysfunction," "i-anything" and "awesome."

Still, university spokesman Tom Pink, part of a committee that evaluates submissions, takes his syntactic success where he can find it.

His office once received a letter from an Arizona Supreme Court justice who said he posted that year's list on a bulletin board and prohibited all attorneys from using those words.


Here are the now-officially banned words:

• perfect storm
• Webinar
• waterboarding
• organic
• wordsmith/wordsmithing
• author/authored
• post 9/11
• surge
• give back
• 'blank' is the new 'blank'
• Black Friday
• back in the day
• random
• sweet
• decimate
• emotional
• pop
• It is what it is
• under the bus

Damn, I like some of these words.


2 comments:

Tom said...

We are not going to be rid of those words and phrases easily.

I would like "Sweeeeeet" to go, but I've forgotten what was said in approval of something before that utterance came along, other than 'cool,' which doesn't quite have the same feel. But at least "sweet" serves to replace many misuses of "cool" -- not that there is such a thing as a proper use of "cool." I guess "cool" is an immortal, in the word-ban Hall of Shame.

Maybe if "sweet" dies, "groovy" will make a comeback. Or "bitchen." You think? Or "boss" or "cherry," from the 50s.

Jose said...

"post 9/11" was repeated all the time in TV news programs. Annoying!