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University Offers List of Words to Be Banished

January 3, 2017
 
 

Lake Superior State University on New Year's Eve released its 42nd annual "List of Words Banished From the Queen's English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness." The university collects nominations all year on this Facebook page and releases the word to honor the new year. The word cloud is from the university, showing some of the previously banned words. Previous lists and more information about the project may be found here.

The 2017 list and the reasons given by the university:

You, Sir: Hails from a more civilized era when duels were the likely outcome of disagreements. Today, we suffer online trolls and internet shaming.

Focus: Good word, but overused when concentrate or look at would work fine. See 1983's banishment of We Must Focus Our Attention.

Bête Noire: After consulting a listing of synonyms, we gather this to be a bugbear, pet peeve, bug-boo, pain or pest to our nominators.

Town Hall Meeting: Candidates seldom debate in town halls anymore. Needs to be shown the door along with "soccer mom(s)" and "Joe Six-pack" (banned in 1997).

Post-Truth: To paraphrase the late senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, we are entitled to our own opinions but not to our own facts.

Guesstimate: When guess and estimate are never enough.

831: A texting encryption of I love you: eight letters, three words, one meaning. Never encrypt or abbreviate one's love.

Historic: Thrown around far too much. What's considered as such is best left to historians rather than the contemporary media.

Manicured: As in a manicured lawn. Golf greens are the closest grass comes to being manicured.

Echo Chamber: Lather, rinse and repeat. After a while, everything sounds the same.

On Fleek: Anything that is on point, perfectly executed or looking good. Needs to return to its genesis: perfectly groomed eyebrows.

Bigly: Did the candidate say "big league" or utter this 19th-century word that means "in a swelling blustering manner"? Who cares? Kick it out of the echo chamber!

Ghost: To abruptly end communication, especially on social media. Is it rejection angst, or is this word really as overused as word-banishment nominators contend? Either way, our committee feels the pain.

Dadbod: The flabby opposite of a chiseled-body male ideal. Should not empower dads to pursue a sedentary lifestyle.

Listicle: Numbered or bulleted list created primarily to generate views on the web, LSSU's word-banishment list excluded.

"Get your dandruff up …": The committee is not sure why this malapropism got nominators' dander up in 2016.

Selfie Drone: In what could be an ominous development, the selfie -- an irritating habit of constantly photographing and posting oneself to social media -- is being handed off to a flying camera. How can this end badly?

Frankenfruit: Another food group co-opted by "frankenfood." Not to be confused with other forms of genetically modified language.

Disruption: Nominators are exhausted from 2016's disruption. When humanity looks back on zombie buzzwords, they will see disruption bumping into other overused synonyms for change.

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