Every year, Lake Superior State University puts together their list of Banished Words. Before we get to the current list, here’s a little back story:
In 1977, one year after Lake Superior State University Public Relations Director W.T. (Bill) Rabe released the first “banished words list,” he said that the international reaction from news media and the public told him “it would go on forever.”
Forever may be stretching it, but the annual List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness has been going strong since New Year’s Day 1976 and shows no signs of stopping. People from around the world have nominated hundreds of words and phrases such as “you know,” “user friendly,” “at this point in time,” and “have a nice day,” to be purged from the language.
Here’s a few choice words from their 2011 Banished Words List:
“Standards for using ‘epic’ are so low, even ‘awesome’ is embarrassed.” Mike of Kettering, Ohio.
It may have been word of the year in some wheelhouses, but “refudiate” wasn’t looked upon favorably by many who sent in nominations.
“Aren’t all Americans people? Every political speech refers to the ‘American’ people as if simply saying ‘Americans’ (or ‘people’) is not enough.” Deb of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
But words and phrases related to technology and the way we communicate dominated the list for 2011, including “viral,” “epic,” “fail,” and the use of websites “Facebook” and “Google” as verbs. “Viral” received the most nominations.
“Facebook is a great, addicting website. Google is a great search engine. However, their use as verbs causes some deep problems. As bad as they are, the trend can only get worse, i.e. ‘I’m going to Twitter a few people, then Yahoo the movie listings and maybe Amazon a book or two.” Jordan of Waterloo, Ont.