Saturday, January 19, 2008

Banished Words

Not long ago I ran across an article that mentioned a list of "banished words." Oh, boy, I thought to myself ... here's another example of overzealous political correctness run rampant. But imagine my surprise when I visited the website of Lake Superior State University and found that the list was, in fact, a clever and much-welcomed list of words and phrases that, because of overuse, stupidity, or just plain silliness, deserve to be banished from our collective vocabularies.

The list is fairly comprehensive and entertaining. Here are a few samples, followed by some of the comments on the website, and my own observations:

Organic: "overused and misused to describe not only food, but computer products or human behavior..."; "another advertising gimmick to make things sound better than they really are...". I think this sounds particularly stupid when we say that something is "organic to" something else. Can something be "inorganic to" something else?

Author/Authored: "...would (it) be correct to say that someone 'paintered' a picture?" I wonder also if the guy who has "mechaniced" my car three times in the last month has finally fixed the ignition problem that has several times left me stranded at the side of the road.

Sweet: "It is annoying when young children use it and have no idea why, but it really sounds stupid coming from the mouths of adults." A supremely annoying term, the successor to inane comments like "cool," "rad," and "awesome" to describe something deemed especially good. This one is a personal un-favorite of mine ... it sounds particularly stupid when uttered in Pentagon meetings by officers who supposedly have college degrees.

Decimate: a word from the Latin which described a Roman punishment in which one-tenth of a number of people were selected to be killed. Now "...the word is so overused and misused, people use it when they should be saying 'annihilate.'" And no, it doesn't refer to Lucille Ball. If that reference confuses you, I'm older than I thought...

And ...

It Is What It Is: "This pointless phrase ... accomplishes the dual feat of adding nothing to the conversation while also being phonetically and thematically redundant." Good point. I supposed I'd have to worry if something is what it ... isn't.

What are your suggestions for words and expressions to be banished? One I would add to the list is at the end of the day, meaning "once everything is finally over." What if it's over in the morning? Do we have to wait the rest of the day for real closure?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Have a good day and a pleasant weekend. More thoughts tomorrow.



La Chanson de Phoenix said...

I'm guilty of saying 'sa-weet' a lot.

I also say 'it is what it is' a lot too, because it reminds me that I cannot change things, only my perspective of them.

My personal hated word... uber.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

'Let's face it' is particularly irritating.

Mike said...

Here's a cartoon from todays comics that goes right along with your post. (This was way to much work to set up.)

Go to Banished Words to see it.

The Mistress of the Dark said...

Oh I have a friend that has a list of words that need to be banished. I'll have to go there and see what the 2 were that she's ranting about right now and report back :)