Utne Blogs > Literature

Banish These Words!

by Will Wlizlo


Tags: banished words, English language, Lake Superior State University, literature, Will Wlizlo,

banishedwords.jpg 

Are there any words that you just hate? Maybe it’s the way they sound, or how often they’re said, or how everyone always uses them out of context. My ears start turning red whenever someone describes a situation with possible unintended consequences as a “slippery slope.” “Irregardless” is an old pet-peeve. And don’t get me started on music writers who use “psychedelic” to mean “weird” and “loud.”

That’s why I’m thankful for the faculty at Lake Superior State University in Michigan, who collectively are one of the few vanguards of the English language—not culture warriors, but cultured warriors. “37th-annual List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness,” a list that LSSU cheekily describes as “an amazing list that is bound to generate some blowback.”

The 2012 list includes such offenders as “Thank you in advance,” “trickeration,” and “man cave.” Call me a snob, but I’m all for fewer people saying less-obnoxious things.

So, then, what are the words and phrases that you’d strike out of the Oxford English Dictionary given the chance?

Image by LearningLark, licensed under Creative Commons. 

blind boy grunt
5/18/2012 4:32:53 PM

How about fewer people just saying fewer things?


blind boy grunt
5/18/2012 4:31:44 PM

How about extreme or eXtreme or X-treme!!!!


margaret bremner
1/14/2012 12:45:10 AM

Personally, I'd like MORE people to say less obnoxious things. (Or fewer people saying obnoxious things. Either way.)


deborah blankenberg
1/12/2012 8:41:47 PM

Call me old-fashioned (or just old), but I'm offended when someone says "Shut up!" to me, even if they just mean, "Wow, really?" Two other pet peeves of mine are the misuse of "unique" to mean "rare" or "unusual" (it means "one of a kind") and the misuse of "literally" to mean "figuratively."


stuart gunter
1/12/2012 1:40:22 PM

To be honest or Let me be honest with you. Seriously?? Really???


edward van vliet
1/11/2012 4:12:54 PM

of course, you mean fewer obnoxious things, right?


stuart gunter
1/11/2012 2:10:03 PM

I know, right?