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Last week, we discussed the Worst Words of 2012. We were originally inspired by past lists from Lake Superior State University in Michigan. Every year they compile words that were misused, overused, and abused, and this week they released their list for 2013, which included some choice words that we had overlooked:

Kick the can down the road
Double down
Job creators
Passion/passionate
Spoiler alert
Bucket List
Superfood
Guru

These kinds of lists are designed to capture an ort of our collective unconscious: the words that have become so a part of our temporary lexicon that we – newscasters, television writers, sports announcers, bloggers – cannot help but use them. Many of our fans did not like the idea of censoring any word use or diction, but of course we’re not talking about removing words or actually censoring select words. (Read our discussion of when words are removed from other dictionaries here.)

Many of you also understood where the impetus of the list was coming from and suggested additional words to banish like:

Wrecking ball
Going forward
Debunking
Channeling
Skin in the game
Gift (as a verb)
Conversation
Slippery slope
Game changer

What others would you include? And what less-used words would you suggest that people replace the banished terms with? Let us know.

434 Comments

  1. mold testing nj -  January 10, 2014 - 6:42 pm

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on #. Regards

    Reply
  2. Bob6431 -  December 3, 2013 - 8:38 am

    A man who is just married is flying to the Florida Keys for a business trip. His new bride is to accompany him the next day. When he gets there, he e-mails his wife to let her know he made it there safely. When he sends the e-mail, he mistypes the address. In Boston, a grieving widow, whose husband has recently passed away, receives the e-mail. She reads it, screams, and faints. Hearing her grandmother’s cry, the widow’s 18 year old granddaughter runs into the living room to see the computer on, with a message that reads, “Dear love, I just got here. Preparing for your arrival tomorrow. Can’t wait to see you. Love, Me. P.S. Sure is hot down here.”

    Reply
  3. Gloria -  June 29, 2013 - 5:55 pm

    Indeed!

    Commercials, books, movies…..

    Reply
  4. Shirley Lindsey -  May 20, 2013 - 12:18 pm

    Here’s a phrase that turns my stomach: “I love me some________” Ugh! What on earth is that supposed to mean?

    Reply
  5. Shirley Lindsey -  May 20, 2013 - 12:14 pm

    Stop misusing the word “throw” as it relates to food. “just throw it in the freezer”, “throw the onions in the pan” “throw together something for supper”, etc. So unappetizing.

    Reply
  6. Suzanne -  March 23, 2013 - 5:24 pm

    Hearing “fashion forward” makes me scream although I’m not yet tired of “bat shit crazy” when applied to Rep. Michele Bachmann, the nut job from Minnesota.

    Reply
  7. Cherry -  February 2, 2013 - 4:47 am

    About what I said before, who agrees with me?

    Reply
  8. lady in retirement -  January 31, 2013 - 12:30 pm

    I don’t think using “skype” as a verb is too bad – we ‘google’ things and ‘telephone’ people. Both those words are nouns which have been used as verbs by extension. I dislike the word “fit” when it is used to mean good-looking (that happens in the UK – I don’t know about the USA). “He’s a fit lad”. To my mind “fit ” means healthy – as in when people join a ‘keep fit’ class.

    Reply
  9. Lily -  January 31, 2013 - 9:43 am

    I know this is not a word, but a way of writing, or should I say typing: do not type in all capital letters! It seems like you’re yelling.

    Reply
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