While the U.S. Congress has been kicking the can down the road and inching closer to the fiscal cliff, the word gurus at Lake Superior State University have doubled-down on their passion for the language and have released their 38th annual List of Words to be Banished from the Queen's English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness.
The list, compiled from nominations sent to LSSU throughout the year, is released each year on New Year's Eve. It dates back to Dec. 31, 1975, when former LSSU Public Relations Director Bill Rabe and some colleagues cooked up the whimsical idea to banish overused words and phrases from the language. They issued the first list on New Year's Day 1976. Much to the delight of word enthusiasts everywhere, the list has stayed the course into a fourth decade.
Through the years, LSSU has received tens of thousands of nominations for the list, which is closing in on its 1,000th banishment.
This year's list is culled from nominations received mostly through the university's website. Word-watchers target pet peeves from everyday speech, as well as from the news, fields of education, technology, advertising, politics and more. A committee makes a final cut in late December.
So, let's see what's trending. Grab your favorite superfood (boneless wings) as the list creators at LSSU reveal (spoiler alert!) their bucket list of misused, overused and generally useless words and phrases. YOLO!
As one might expect, this phrase received the most nominations this year. If Congress acts to keep the country from tumbling over the cliff, LSSU believes this banishment should get some of the credit.
Here's what's being said about it on LSSU's Facebook page:
"You can't turn on the news without hearing this. I'm equally worried about the River of Debt and Mountain of Despair. “Christopher Loiselle, Midland, Mich.
"(We’ve) lost sight of the metaphor and started to think it's a real place, like with the headline, 'Obama, Boehner meeting on fiscal cliff'." Barry Cochran, Portland, Ore.
"Tends to be used however the speaker wishes to use it, as in falling off the fiscal cliff, climbing the fiscal cliff, challenged by the fiscal cliff, etc. Just once, I would like to hear it referred to as a financial crisis." Barbara CLIFF, Johnstown, Penn.
"If only those who utter these words would take a giant leap off of it." Joann Eschenburg, Clinton Twp., Mich.
KICK THE CAN DOWN THE ROAD
"I'm surprised it wasn't on your 2012 list -- were you just kicking the, um, phrase down the road to 2013?" T. Jones, Ann Arbor, Mich.
"I thought that perhaps you weren't ready to deal with it. You just kicked that can down the road." Rebecca Martz, Houston, Tex.
"Better nip this in the bud – it's already morphed into 'quadruple down.'" Marc Ponto, Milwaukee, Wisc.
"It implies supernatural powers -- such as the ability to change the weather or levitate. Most new jobs pay less than the lost jobs to ensure stratospheric CEO compensation and nice returns on investments. I respectfully propose a replacement term that is more accurate -- job depleters." Mark Dobias, Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
"One of the most overplayed buzz terms of the 2012 presidential campaign. Apparently 'lowering unemployment' doesn’t have the same impact." Dennis Ittner, Torrance, Calif.
"Since jobs are only created by demand, consumers are the real job creators." Scott Biggerstaff, Redlands, Calif.
"Diabetes is not just Big Pharma's business, it's their passion! This or that actor is passionate! about some issue somewhere. A DC lobbyist is passionate! about passing (or blocking) some proposed law. My passion! is simple: Banish this phony-baloney word." George Alexander, Studio City, Calif.
"Stands for 'You Only Live Once' and used by wannabe Twitter philosophers who think they've uncovered a deep secret of life. Also used as an excuse to do really stupid things, such as streaking at a baseball game with YOLO printed on one's chest. I only live once, so I'd prefer to be able to do it without ever seeing YOLO again." Brendan Cotter, Grosse Pte. Park, Mich.
"Used by teens everywhere to describe an action that is risky or unconventional, yet acceptable because 'you only live once.' Who lives more than once?" P.P., Los Angeles, Calif.
"The expression makes me cringe every time I hear it -- and we've been hearing it for several years. I'm surprised it isn't already in your master list. Let's emphasize life and what we do during it. It's such a grim way of looking at 'what I want to do,' and often it is in selfish terms." Shea Hoffmitz, Hamilton, Ont.
"Getting this phrase on the Banished Word List is on my bucket list!" Frederick Fish, Georgia
"It's food. It's either healthful or it's not. There is no 'super' involved." Jason Hansen, Frederic, Mich.
"Can we just call them chicken (pieces)?" John McNamara, Lansing, Mich.
"Unless you're teaching transcendental meditation, Hinduism or Buddhism, please don't call yourself a guru just because you think you're an expert at something. It's silly and pretentious. Let other people call you that, if they must."Mitch Devine, Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.