Tuesday, January 05, 2010

The Banned Words List

Each year for the last 35, the faculty and staff of Lake Superior State University has published its list of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness. A word or phrase earns its place on the list for being, as the title of the list indicates, misused, overused, or generally useless. It's a word or phrase so annoying or overused that it makes your grammatical and semantic gorge rise. The list of banished words/phrases for 2010 (with my comments added) includes:

1. "Shovel-ready" - I actually don't mind this expression, because it's useful in discussing almost anything dealing with Congress. You need a very big shovel, of course.

2. Transparent/Transparency - best comment on this word was from a wag who said, "I just don't see it."

3. Czar - Ivan the Terrible was a czar. Everyone else is a cheap knockoff. 'Nuff said.

4. Tweet - Birds tweet. People who tweet should be called "twits."

5. App - Short for "application." Also short for "appallingly overused."

6. Sexting - Refering to the transmission of sexually explicit messages and photos by phone. The word is just as stupid as the activity.

7. Friend (used as a verb) - The actual verb is "befriend." Why not use it...it's only one more syllable.

8. "Teachable Moment" - We used to call them "lessons."

9. "In These Economic Times ..." - Just dumb. All times are these times. It's just that in these times we want tar and feathers for the members of the financial mismanagement industry. No further comment necessary.

10. Stimulus - A picture of a beautiful lady in a nice dress is a stimulus. Vast quantities of money hurled at mismanaged industries to allow them to continue to mismanage at our expense are not.

11. "Toxic Assets" - I prefer "bad debts." If it's an asset, it's a good thing by definition. This is a world-champion oxymoron.

12. "Too Big to Fail" - The government is willing to bail out industries too big to fail, but not to help individuals too small to notice...like you and I.

13. Bromance - this one is so stupid I can't even think of a snarky comment. What's wrong with good old "friendship?" Just flush it.

14. Chillaxin' - combines "chilling (out)" and "relaxing." Utterly pointless. A waste of ink just to comment on how stupid it is.

15. "Obama" (when used as a prefix, generally with a negative intent, as in "Obamacare," "Obamanomics," etc). We also had "Reaganomics," also generally used in a negative context, but the overblown use of "Obama" as a prefix has gone far beyond the bounds of satire or good sense. You don't like the President. Okay, he was elected. Get over it.

Any other words or phrases you'd like to add? I'm ready to hear them...

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.



The Mistress of the Dark said...

LOL. I'm in agreement all these words should be banned

John said...

The Oxford American Dictionary's Word of the Year for 2009 was "unfriend."

Oddly enough, technology related candidates included--netbook, intexticated (drivers distracted by texting while driving) and sexting.

Current event/political contibutions included birther (the conspiracy theorist that challenges the Presidents birth certificate) and funemployed (a positive out look on a newly unemployed status where one pursues new interests or looks to hobbies as livelihoods.

Debbie said...

I've banned "married" from my vocabulary. Misused, overused and totally worthless. :)

Audrey said...

Off the top of my head-

hockey mom

anything written with extra punctuation, used to sound dramatic.
so. very. annoying.

If you pay them out even when the company did terribly, do yourself a favor and call it a salary. When you call it a bonus, the obvious question is, a bonus for what?

Mike said...

A variation on #7, friend - frenemy.

Aine Butler-Smith said...

I concur with the list, and those shared by previous posters, and would like to add any combination of names and nicknames of celebrity couples and so called celebrities through the tabloid media (i.e. Brangelina, Octomom)...actually, just everything the tabloid media has to say in general.
As an aside: their is a bill being introduced to congress to regulate the IV fertilization industry, which I think is a good bill, but they have named it the "Octomom bill" oy


SusieQ said...

One word in particular has been around for many years. It refers to an object that stands upright in every modern home.

This word is a dinosaur though. It needs to go. It has too many syllables for a word one would expect to use frequently. It has five syllables in all. It takes too long to say it. Then there are those four troubling "R's" in it that for some of us become a challenge to pronounce properly when we are in a hurry.

Since a new word has evolved to replace it, we really do not need this dinosaur word now. This new word has only one syllable and one "R". It does the job nicely and in short order. Most of us use this new word instead of the original word. The only people who continue to use the original word are ones with too much time on their hands.

Anyone care to guess what words I am talking about here? I'll give you a hint. The word "icebox" predated both.

Amanda said...

While in the hospital, I heared the word "chillaxed" for the first time. Supposedly the baby in the next bed was incredibly chillaxed. Thought the word was cute.

Bilbo said...

Andrea - I'm with you!

John - I forgot about "birther" - that's definitely a word that needs to go.

Debbie - are you being grammatical and semantic, or just jaded? Don't answer that.

Audrey - good. points. thanks.

Mike - another good cull.

Aine - the tabloids have certainly done their part to wreck the language.

SusieQ - must be "refrigerator" and "fridge," eh?

Amanda - it is cute, but only for the first million times you hear it.