Words to Go Missing: Overused Words

Lake Superior State University recently released its 2009 list of words they recommend be banned due to mis-use, over-use and general uselessness.

As a fan of the language, things like this interest me.

Their choices for oblivion? These overused words:

  • shovel-ready
  • transparent/transparency
  • czar
  • tweet
  • app
  • (deleted because this is a family-friendly blog)
  • friend (as a verb)
  • teachable moment
  • in these economic times
  • stimulus
  • toxic assets
  • too big to fail
  • bromance
  • chillaxin’
  • Obama as a prefix:  Obamacare, Obamanomics, etc.

Hmmm … I find it interesting how many have to do with Obama and his antics. Being thoroughly tired of him, I would be glad to bid adieu to any of the Obama-related terms.

Bromance? Chillaxin’? Okay, some of these are making me feel old because I’ve never heard of them.

Lots of Facebook-inspired stuff, like app and friend as a verb. I’m not big into the whole Facebook concept – too little privacy, too few ways to categorize things for one group of friends vs. another (do I really care to share the same things with my child’s teacher as I would with a childhood friend or a far-removed relative? Answer:  no). I must say, however, that my kids have gotten me hooked on the Farmville “app” in the new year and it is pretty addicting 🙂 .

Tweet?  Not twittering, no desire. I hate what it’s done to a sweet, quaint little word. Recently I was reading the girls a book about a mouse who was “twittering,” and they were cracking up at the mental picture.  Ughh!

My own personal pet peeve phrase is “went missing.” I don’t hear it as much as I did a year or so back, but every time I do it annoys the heck out of me. Suzy Jones never turns up gone or disappears, she “goes missing.” It just sounds affected and wrong to me – kind of like the media insisting “Quatar” is pronounced “Cutter.”  Really?

What words or phrases would you like to ban for 2010? Do tell …

5 thoughts on “Words to Go Missing: Overused Words

  1. Loved your comments about various words about to “go missing” or whatever! My exact sentiments about the missing person reports on the news…same as yours. “Gone missing”
    could mean anything from “gone fishing” and didn’t bother to tell anyone what the heck I’m doing to kidnapping, murder, etc.

    The other wording that especially annoys me besides the Obama/democrat ones that you already mentioned is “a person of interest” when describing a possible suspect in one of those “gone missing” reports. I tend to consider a friend of mine a person of interest because I am truly interested in them and what they think, rather than a possible criminal.
    Just call me old-fashioned, but I think that the news media people are so concerned about being PC that most of them tend to parrot ridiculous substitutes for more specific words.
    Oh well, I AM getting old! At least the two of us continue to communicate in plain English without having to “dial 1 for English”.

    Have a good day and don’t get snowed in! I see on TV that some schools are dismissing early, which is a really good idea in my opinion. I remember once in my 34-year teaching career of almost having to keep the students at school at NW overnight. What a scary thought!):

  2. I loved this post! And totally agree with every one of the choices. I’ve never heard “bromance” or “chillaxin” either, so don’t feel bad! This reminded me of some of the phrases I hear at work that drive me crazy. “That’s on my radar” is one of them. If I had a dime for every time I’ve heard that in the office! The other one that makes me want to scream is “I’ll reach out to one of my colleagues on that”. Translated means I don’t want to deal with it so am going to be pushing it off on someone else. Well, at least I get a break from the office today. Due to the weather, I’m working from home! Yea!

  3. This was fun to read Susan! Actually I used the word chillaxin the other day when I was talking to my son. Actually, I was surprised at myself for using such a word, but when I get into a heated moments speaking their language can help. That aside, I am happy to shed the word czar and Obama prefixes. Whew! As for Facebook, I am not a big fan, but I am on there, mostly to keep an eye on my two sons. FB is good for keeping in touch with people in my life that are thoroughly modern. Not a Twitter or a tweet out of me, to darn confusing. Oh, yes, Farmville is addicting and I did not know it was referred to as an “app” for me it is an “application”, but I get the drift.

  4. I love the word czar! It is obsolete I suppose, but it’s fun to say. I don’t like “take a listen,” it sounds dumb. “Shrugged” bugs me. I don’t like meaningless phrases that are meant to obscure what is really being suggested, such as “the right to choose.” And I hate words that used to be sweet, being hijacked to mean something else entirely, such as the word “gay.” I am very glad they quit saying “weapons of mass destruction” every other minute on the news. One last thing… I am so glad the loud and vocal obsession with “cute butts” finally subsided. 🙂

  5. May I suggest that instead of stopping the use of words with Obama as a prefix, we just stop using Obama instead? Let’s just vote him out, and then we wouldn’t have to deal with those words anymore.

    And by the way, one of the phrases I hate is “looking to.” Why can’t they just say, “planning to,” “wanting to” or whatever else they really mean?

Comments are closed.