The List of Banished Words (and Phrases) for 2010

Lake Superior State University has released its list of banished words for 2010 and I’m glad to say that I agree that most of them should be banished, and quickly. This was the university’s 35th annual list of words “banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness.” I was especially pleased to see “teachable moment” appear on the list. That phrase seems to show up with too much regularity everywhere.

A former public relations director with the university created the first list in 1975 at a New Year’s Eve party and released it the next day. The Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan school (it’s located near the U.S./Canada international border, which probably accounts for use of the phrase “Queen’s English”) has published a list of the troublesome words ever since. And readers are already sending in nominations for next year’s list.

In addition to “teachable moment,” the 2010 list includes these:
shovel-ready
transparent/transparency
czar
tweet
app (which I contend is not even a word but a made-up sound for people too lazy to use the proper term, application)
sexting (sending sexually explicit pictures and text messages through the cell phone)
friend (as a verb–you add someone to your social networking site by friending them and remove them by unfriending them)
in these economic times (“overused and redundant,” commented Barb Stutesman of Three Rivers, Michigan on the university website. “Aren’t ALL times ‘these economic times?'”)
stimulus (not only our money that is handed out freely to others but also a term much over-used by politicians and reporters, and by companies advertising their wares and services)
toxic assets (I agree with many others that it’s a wretched term)
too big to fail (“Does such a thing exist?” asks Holli from Raleigh,NC. “We’ll never know if a company is too big to fail unless somehow it does fail, and then it will no longer be too big to fail. Make it stop!”)
bromance (I still haven’t figured this one out. Is it anything like that earlier monstrosity “frenemies” for people who used to be friends but now are enemies? Does it mean parties to a broken romance? Something else? I give up.)
chillaxin (“A made-up word used by annoying Gen-yers,” according to a Fond du Lac, Wisconsin visitor to the university website.)
Obama-prefix or roots? (Obamanomics, Obamanation, Obamafication, Obamacare, Obamamalicious, Obamaland–where will it end? Do we have to suffer these so-called words until the next election?)

The 2010 list made my spell checker go crazy!

Please leave a comment.

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2 Comments on “The List of Banished Words (and Phrases) for 2010”

  1. […] The List of Banished Words (and Phrases) for 2010 « Words into Print […]

  2. Rana Sinha says:

    Nice list of banished words. Most of them will disappear in any case. Czar is an old word and hasn’t gone out yet. But ‘toxic asset’ yuk!


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