For more than 40 years, Lake Superior State University has been compiling a list of words they’d like to see banished. These are the cliches, the idiotic abbreviations, the catch-phrases that have become tired and boring through constant overuse. If some of them are unfamiliar to you, be thankful.
LSSU’s word banishment list began 42 years ago by W. T. Rabe, a public relations director at the school. Nominations come in from around the world. Here’s this year’s list:
You, Sir – Hails from a more civilized era when duels were the likely outcome of disagreements. Today, we suffer on-line 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 Sixpack” (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: 8 letters, 3 words, 1 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.
If you want to take a trip down banished-word-memory-lane, check out lssu.edu/banished.