The school that comes on my radar exactly once a year, Lake Superior State University, today released its 39th annual List of Words to be Banished from the Queen’s English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness. Or, as I’ve renamed it, the Best Worst Words of 2013.
LSSU releases on New Year’s Eve a list of words compiled from a list of nominations submitted mostly through its website and Facebook page. The list is closing in on its 1,000th word banishment.
“Banishment” is, of course, merely suggested. Language is a fluid thing, and also personal and ephemeral.
Why does one word culturally ignite while another does not? For example, “selfie” is the number-one worst word, according to the LSSU list. Yet my inability to make “us-ie” happen—to describe a group selfie—is one of my biggest disappointments of 2013.
Here’s the LSSU list with its explanations (in quotes), some of them with my edits or explanations (not in quotes), followed by a few I think the judges missed:
Because a self-snapped picture doesn’t need a name all its own beyond “photograph.”
“Bob of Tempe, Ariz. says he responds, ‘T’werk,’ when asked where he is headed on Monday mornings.”
“Is anyone really willing to let this one go in 2014? #goodluckwiththat”
_______ on steriods
“New! Improved! Steroidal!”
“Shortening Armageddon and Apocalypse into two suffixes”—as in sale-ageddon or snow-pocalypse.
“Used by members of each political party when describing members of the other.”
Classic word inflation: “Why use one word when apparently two are twice as better?”
Also on the LSSU list are:
Adversity (When applied to sports. Which means it isn’t real adversity, after all.)
Mister Mom (Why is it still odd for a man to take care of his children?)
T-Bone (As used to describe any kind of collision)
More worst words of 2013 I would’ve included:
A terrible word that many people in business and education like to toss around to describe things that make an impact. I’ve been stabbing this word in the heart for years. But it keeps rising again, shaking off the dirt and appearing in marketing content near you. I can’t fathom why.
What’s wrong with “use”? “Influence”? “Enhance”? “Harness”? Nothing. So use them instead. This word is the poster child of words that began life as nouns and (perplexingly) find themselves used as verbs.
Amazeballs/Awesomesauce/Fantabulous/Ginormous/Chillaxin’. Frankenwords, all of them. One exception is “awesomesaucenessivity,” coined by my friend Lee Odden in his Christmas card to me, because it’s so weird it’s impossible to look away.
This isn’t mine, actually. I got this from the Huffington Post when Chel Wolverton pointed it out to me. From HuffPo: “Are you 14 and talking about your BFF’s new Harry Styles iPhone case? If the answer to my first question was yes and the answer to my second question was no, then this word needs to stop coming out of your mouth.”
Apparently an article based around a list. To me it sounds like an inventory of testicles. Ew.
Because there is no such thing. You’re either bragging or you’re humble. Pick one.
What would you include as your favorite worst words of 2013?