Along with a fresh new year comes the latest list of Banished Words, as issued by Lake Superior State University. How epic is that?
While you might wish many of these words to actually be banished forever, that’s just wishful thinking. The list for 2011 includes epic, fail (which actually are often combined into the annoying “epic fail”), man up, just sayin’, and using Facebook and Google as verbs.
It’s funny that some of the words voted to be banished this year — such as tweet, BFF, my bad, viral and friend/unfriend as verbs — recently made it into The Oxford American Dictionary. No doubt the two lists reflect the two ends of the spectrum: how much some people dislike the words, and how much others use them.
Take the corporate world, for example. Many of the words on the banished lists over the years live on — and on! — in corporatespeak: going forward (banished in 2001), sea change (2000), solutions (2002), speaks to (2001), and my all-time most despised pair, utilize (1987) and win-win (1993).
The university started keeping the list in 1976. The originator was the now retired PR director, Bill Rabe, who released the first list on New Year’s Day, a traditionally slow news day, to gain media coverage for the university. Well over 1,000 nominations pour in every year, and feel free to submit your own wishlist for banishment any time.
Do you have a word that you wish would be banished forever? One that pops to my mind is monetize. Yech.