Are you guilty of saying “wait, what?” when you hear something surprising?
What about “No worries”, the classic Kiwi laidback retort.
If a US university had its way, those words would be banned in 2022.
Lake Superior State University in Michigan has compiled an annual banished words list since 1976 to “uphold, protect, and support excellence in language”.
While last year most of the words were Covid-related, this time around it was colloquial language that was most criticised.
The nominations of what words to ban came from within the US, but also Norway, Belgium, England, Scotland, Canada and Australia.
Most were shunned for overuse.
“Most people speak through informal discourse. Most people shouldn’t misspeak through informal discourse. That’s the distinction nominators far and wide made, and our judges agreed with them,” the university’s executive director of marketing and communications Peter Szatmary said.
LSSU president Dr Rodney Hanley said every year submitters suggested what words and terms to banish by paying close attention to what humanity utters and writes.
“Taking a deep dive at the end of the day and then circling back make perfect sense. Wait, what?” he joked.
Here is the list of banished words.
1. Wait, what?
This ubiquitous imperative question is a failed “response to a statement to express astonishment, misunderstanding, or disbelief,” one nominator said.
“I don’t want to wait,” said another.
2. No worries
This phrase was nominated for misuse and overuse, for being an incorrect substitute for “you’re welcome”.
“If I’m not worried, I don’t want anyone telling me not to worry,” a contributor said.
LSSU notes that despite its “meaninglessness”, the term is recommended to emailers by Google Assistant.
3. At the end of the day
Twenty-plus years after original banishment of this phrase in 1999, the day still isn’t over for this misused, overused, and useless expression, LSSU said.
“Many times things don’t end at the end of the day — or even the ramifications of whatever is happening,” one person said.
Others considered “day” an imprecise measure. Today? Present times?
4. That being said
Nominators claimed this phrase was a verbal filler, redundant justification, and pompous posturing.
“Go ahead and say what you want already!” one entrant said.
5. Asking for a friend
This funny saying was banned for misuse and overuse through deceit — because the friend is a ruse.
This cutesy phrase, often deployed in social media posts in a coy attempt to deter self-identification, isn’t fooling anyone, LSSU said.
6. Circle back
Let’s circle back about why to banish this jargon. It’s a conversation, not the Winter Olympics, LSSU said.
A grammarian said it was “the most overused phrase in business, government, or other organisation since synergy”.
The university banished the word synergy in 2002 as evasive blanket terminology and smartypants puffery.
7. Deep dive
“The only time to dive into something is when entering a body of water, not going more in-depth into a particular subject or book,” a nominator said.
Another asked if the word deep was necessary. “I mean, does anyone dive into the shallow end?” they said.
8. New normal
It wasn’t as if Covid-related words didn’t get any mention this year.
“Those clamouring for the days of old, circa 2019, use this to signal unintentionally that they haven’t come to terms with what ‘normal’ means,” one person said.
“After a couple of years, is any of this really new?” said another.
9. You’re on mute
Ah we’ve all been through this one. You’d think it would have banished on its own, but the need still pops up from time to time.
LSSU banished it for overuse and uselessness, then, due to ineptitude.
“We’re two years into remote working and visiting. It’s time for everyone to figure out where the mute button is,” a nominator said.
10. Supply chain
Word-watchers noticed the frequent, unfortunate appearance of this phrase toward the end of this year as the coronavirus persisted, LSSU said.
“Supply chain issues have become the scapegoat of everything that doesn’t happen or arrive on time and of every shortage,” said a nominator.
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