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University Releases List of Words Banned For 2017

University Releases List of Words Banned For 2017

Farewell, 2016.

Lake Superior State University releases a list of words every year at this time which are banned for the coming year. Here are some of their choices.

Via Inside Higher Ed:

You, Sir: Hails from a more civilized era when duels were the likely outcome of disagreements. Today, we suffer on-line trolls and Internet shaming.

Focus: Good word, but overused when concentrate or look at would work fine. See 1983’s banishment of, We Must Focus Our Attention.

Bête Noire: After consulting a listing of synonyms, we gather this to be a bugbear, pet peeve, bug-boo, pain, or pest to our nominators.

Town Hall Meeting: Candidates seldom debate in town halls anymore. Needs to be shown the door along with “soccer mom(s)” and “Joe Sixpack” (banned in 1997).

Post-Truth: To paraphrase the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, we are entitled to our own opinions but not to our own facts.

Guesstimate: When guess and estimate are never enough.

831: A texting encryption of, I love you: 8 letters, 3 words, 1 meaning. Never encrypt or abbreviate one’s love.

Historic: Thrown around far too much. What’s considered as such is best left to historians rather than the contemporary media.

Manicured: As in a manicured lawn. Golf greens are the closest grass comes to being manicured.

Echo Chamber: Lather, rinse, and repeat. After a while, everything sounds the same.

On Fleek: Anything that is on-point, perfectly executed, or looking good. Needs to return to its genesis: perfectly groomed eyebrows.

Bigly: Did the candidate say “big league” or utter this 19th-Century word that means, in a swelling blustering manner? Who cares? Kick it out of the echo chamber!


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Graduate students in English, in particular, love to contribute to this tongue-in-cheek list. Or at least we did back in my day. Overuse and misuse makes some words and phrases annoying, so this is a great outlet for word geeks to vent. It’s really harmless (the words aren’t literally banned), and what fun to read through the archives! Thanks for the stroll down memory lane. 🙂