Just in time for the new year, Lake Superior State University has delivered on its decades-old tradition of publishing a “List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness.” The annual, jocular list began in 1976, with words and phrases like “meaningful” (which lost all of its meaningfulness at the time) and “call for resignation” as a publicity stunt to promote the university’s existence. Since then it has grown into a crowdsourced list of the latest clichés to have been birthed from pop culture, and even text speech made this list of words we “<3” to hate for 2009.
For 2009, the words unofficially banned from our vernacular and publications revolve around environmental, economic, current events, and entertainment topics. We are apparently no longer allowed to “go green” or measure our “carbon footprint,” according to Ed Hardiman of Bristow, Va., who qualified his vote in his submission: “If I see one more corporation declare itself ‘green,’ I’m going to start burning tires in my backyard.”
Continuing down the catch-phrase hit list, any “maverick” who thinks he is a “game changer”-or who’s vain enough to shoot for “iconic”-will surely get booted from both “wall street” and “main street” alike. “You know it’s time to banish this word,” said Scott Urbanowski of Kentwood, Mich., “when even the Maverick family, who descended from the rancher who inspired the term, says it’s being mis-used.”
Perhaps displaying the need to embark on a “desperate search” for words to ban, even emoticons like “<3” were apparently overused in 2008 (but seriously: is it actually possible to have too much <3 in one’s life?). There will also be no “bailout” for those who cannot stop tacking “monkey” onto words in an attempt make them sound… something-er. Fortunately, other related and fundamental (and undoubtedly crucial) words in 2008-such as “economy”-did not make Lake Superior State’s list this year.
Rounding out the list are more inane terms and phrases, such as “first dude,” “staycation,” “not so much,” and “it’s that time of year again.” Participants were also tired of hearing about the potential for awards, as even “winner of five nominations” actually, erm, won an award.
If you want “more bang for the buck,” you can flip through the pages of Lake Superior State’s “online,” “state of the art” archive for each year back to 1976 for a trip down memory lane that should “shock and awe” you.