University Releases Annual List of Words to Banish

December 31, 2014

Lake Superior State University today releases its annual "List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness." The list has been released each year since the start of 1976.

This year's list, which includes several words and phrases popular in academe, follows, with some of the explanations offered by the university and by those who nominated the words.

  • Bae –“I’d rather be called ‘babe’ than ‘bae’ any day.” -- Alexsis Outwater, Bronson, Mich.
  • Polar vortex
  • Hack -- Banished for over-use and mis-use
  • Skill set -- “Why use two words when one will do? We already have a perfectly good word in ‘skills’ (ending with an s, not a z).” – Chip Lupo, Columbia, S.C.
  • Swag
  • Foodie -- “It's ridiculous. Do we call people who like wine ‘winies’ or beer lovers ‘beeries’?” – Randall Chamberlain, Traverse City, Mich.
  • Curate / curated - “It used to have a special significance reserved mainly for fine art and museums. Now everything is curated. Monthly food and clothing subscription boxes claim to be finely ‘curated.’ Instead of abusing curated, why don't they say what they really mean: ‘We did an online search and posted the first 25 items we found’ or the ‘curated selection of items in your box this month are a mix of paid placements and products that have failed to sell elsewhere.’” – Samantha McCormick, Kirkland, Wash.
  • Friend-raising -- “A horrible word that conflates the real meaning of friendship with usually hidden motivations to get at the other person's pockets.” – Mary Been, Sidnaw, Mich.
  • Cra-cra -- That’s just crazy.
  • Enhanced interrogation -- “A shameful euphemism for torture.” – David Bristol, Byron Center, Mich.
  • Takeaway
  • -Nation – a suffering sports suffix


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