Banished Words of 2009

By Maeve Maddox

Every January Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie publishes a list of 15 Words to Be Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness.

This year’s losers (and some reasons given for banishing them):

1 Green
2 Carbon Footprint
3 Maverick

4 First Dude – “Skateboard English is not an appropriate way to refer to the spouse of a high-ranking public official.”

5 Bailout – “Use of emergency funds to remove toxic assets from banks’ balance sheets is not a bailout. When your cousin calls you from jail in the middle of the night, he wants a bailout.”

6 Wall Street/Main Street
7 -monkey (all-purpose internet suffix)
8 Icon/iconic
9 Game changer
10 Staycation (stay-at-home-vacation)
11 Desperate Search
12 Not so much
13 Winner of Five Nominations

14 It’s that time of year again – “When is it not ‘that time of year again?”

Any English speaker is eligible to nominate a word and give a reason for its banishment.

Check out the LSSU site:
Origins of the contest
2009 List and reasons for banishment
Submit your choice for 2010 List

Click here to get access to 800+ interactive grammar exercises!


Share


20 Responses to “Banished Words of 2009”

  • Blog Expert

    Green and maverick are definitely the banished words of 2009. And why don’t we just throw in change also. I know we all want a little bit of change but it is definitely annoying.

  • Natalie

    All very valid!

  • ash

    actually it was t. palin himself that used the term “first dude”- so if that’s how he wants to be called, then i have no problem w/ that at all.

  • Erik Deckers

    I’ve been a humor columnist for 14 years, and have written about LSSU’s List of Banned Words for five. I always love the list and look forward to it each year. Thanks for the post.

    Maverick is the one I think we can do without., I hated Staycation the moment I heard it, but surprisingly, have never heard of -Monkey.

  • Joy-Mari

    What about crunch? Everything’s a crunch these days…

  • Chris

    Ban “Arguably”. This and that and everything is “arguably” the best

  • MJ Finch

    What about “slam”? Every other headline I read, someone is “slamming” someone else, when in fact they are often only offering a mild criticism or a point of disagreement.

  • Maeve

    Erik
    I just read a couple of your columns. Funny. Thanks for the link.

  • Cassie Tuttle

    Great list!

    I am so tired of Green-this and Green-that! In the last couple of weeks, I’ve received at least a half dozen “how-to-do-something-in-a-green-manner” articles from eHow. Enough! I’ve been “green” since 1971, when we staged a walk-out to celebrate Earth Day. Let it go (notice I didn’t say — “get over it”). 😉

    “Vet” is another one that ought to be on the list. In fact, until 2007 or 2008, I don’t really recall hearing the word. Suddenly, it was everywhere!

  • Kevin C

    What about the constantly misused word “literally” among people younger than 35? I hear it at least 5 times a day now.

  • Mumbai

    All are valid. Good list

  • Evo Evo

    Staycation – ugh! Not only an awful word, but I thought the purpose of a vacation was to go away!

  • Rick

    I think if I hear one more PR person utter the phrase”We take this very seriously” I am going to give my TV to Habitat for Humanity.
    Talk about over- use!

  • Maeve

    To Lou (who wondered what happened to #15)

    I left out that <3 thingy.

  • Lori

    What about “impact”? Overused and misused; especially “impactful.”

  • Cassie Tuttle

    Maeve,

    I hate that <3 thingy.

    For the longest time (until my niece explained it to me), I thought it was a sign for a woman’s boobs!

  • Maeve

    Cassie,
    Thanks for starting my day off with a laugh!

  • Phil

    Similar to”bailout” in the US is “Credit Crunch” in the UK The BBC especially need to come up with something new, or preferably think positive.

  • david

    I’d add all those awful ‘business’ phrases like:

    Step up to the plate
    Moving forward
    Blue sky
    Customer centric

    and a hundred others. The English language is beautiful when used properly and it would probably help if the ‘first dudes’ didn’t keep trying to invent new gobbledeygook to try and impress their colleagues.

  • Sean

    Dear author, ‘carbon footprint’ is not a word. I am just saying….

Leave a comment: