Spoiler alert! It’s New Year’s Eve, which means it’s time to double-down on some superfoods (boneless wings?) before we fall off the fiscal cliff. It’s also time to see what the language gurus at Lake Superior State University have come up with in terms of 2013’s bucket list of words to be banished.
For nearly four decades, LSSU has been good-naturedly providing an annual list of Words to be Banished from the Queen’s English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness. Past years have included words that are frequently mispronounced (“ekspecially” in 1988), words that are made up to reflect business trends (“incentivise” has been irritating us since 1983), and words and phrases we simply heard too often (“Your Call Is Very Important to Us” in 1996, “epic” in 2011).
Here’s LSSU’s list of words that should be banished for 2013:
Fiscal Cliff. I completely agree with this one–not because of the overuse, but because it implies that the current financial crisis is somehow a surprise.
Kick the Can Down the Road. Apparently this new take on “passing the buck” is used in political circles to mean neglecting one’s responsibilities. This list is the first I’ve heard it, but it certainly has potential in my house. “If you don’t clean your room now, you’re just kicking the can down the road, because you’ll be cleaning it tomorrow instead of going to the dance.”
Double Down. This phrase originates from blackjack, but has come to mean “repeat,” or “reaffirm.” It’s also a sandwich at KFC, which is a good indication that it’s played out.
Job Creators/Job Creation. These phrases are used in politics because “lowering unemployment” lacks zing. I’d probably be more excited about this phrase if more people had jobs.
Passion/Passionate. This one is overused and misused, when the speaker or writer really means enthusiasm or enthusiastic. I think it’s some kind of backlash from the too-cool-for-school apathy of the 1990s.
YOLO. I can’t agree more that this needs to leave our lexicon, and now. It’s on every t-shirt in every boardwalk store on the Jersey Shore, and it exists solely to give teenagers more reasons to do stupid things. Yes, dear, you only live once. Let’s try to make it a long life, shall we?
Spoiler Alert. NBC and the 2012 Olympics really killed this one. The obvious solution is that all Olympics should take place in the Eastern Standard Time zone.
Bucket List. Do people not realize this expression comes from “kicking the bucket”? I saw a post recently referring to “the family bucket list.” It’s more than a little morbid to come up with a list of things to do with your kids before you all die. Could we try something a little more positive? How about “Family Fun List” or simply, “Things We’d Like to Do”?
Trending. Used when a news story, whether important or completely trite, is appearing frequently in Google searches, Twitter timelines, and Facebook feeds. Since my job as a freelance writer is almost entirely dependent on knowing what is trending, I’m not looking for this word to disappear any time soon.
Superfood. Really? How else am I going to get my kids to eat broccoli unless I imply that it might give them super-powers? Sorry, LSSU. I’m going to keep using this one, with gusto.
Boneless Wings. Agree, because this is disgusting and reminds me of when Professor Lockhart accidentally removes all the bones from Harry Potter’s arm. I’m pretty sure boneless wings are just chicken nuggets with sauce on them.
Guru. I feel like “pundit” could go, too.
Here are a few more words and phrases that I think should be added to the list:
Mommy War. I’m convinced this entire concept exists only to further magazine sales and website page clicks. Enough already. The moms I know are too busy and tired to care whether their friends work or don’t work. Want to breastfeed until your kid is in college? Whatever. Good on ya for feeding your kid. I’m making frozen pizza for the fourth time this week; who am I to judge?
Push Present. This was nominated by Babble blogger Monica Bielanko earlier this year and I completely agree. You just got a baby. Isn’t that gift enough? (Note: she also suggested we cool it with adorbz, totes, preggers, and The Hubs.)
Bitch. I’m not a fan of how this word has become fun and friendly-like: “At T.G.I. Friday’s with mah bitches.” Of course, I don’t really enjoy this word used an an insult, either, because being a terrible person has nothing to do with being male or female.
Artisinal. This is just fancy-talk for “expensive.” It’s especially ridiculous when appearing on the menu of a chain restaurant.
Swag. My main problem with swag is that it’s currently in use at my daughters’ middle school. Child, you are eleven years old. You do not have swag.
Upcycle. This word is found exclusively on Pinterest and Etsy. It means, “I have both garbage and a hot glue gun.”
Baby Mama. In particular, announcing a pregnancy by asking a large crowd to “make some noise for my baby mama.” Related: Kanye should just stop talking for 2013.
All kidding aside, let’s just stop with any word that ends in “tard.” Please. Just stop.
What words got on your nerves in 2012?
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