Knitwhitties: A Little Knitting Nothing

I adore simple pleasures. They are the last refuge of the complex. - Oscar Wilde

Friday, January 11, 2008

Let's Start 2008 on the Right Foot

Lake Superior State University 2008 List of Banished Words

PERFECT STORM – "Hands off book titles as cheap descriptors!" – David Hollis, Hamilton, New York.

WEBINAR – "Yet another non-word trying to worm its way into the English language due to the Internet. It belongs in the same school of non-thought that brought us e-anything and i-anything." – Scott Lassiter, Houston, Texas.

WATERBOARDING – "Let's banish 'waterboarding' to the beach, where it belongs with boogie boards and surfboards." – Patrick K. Egan, Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan

ORGANIC – Overused and misused to describe not only food, but computer products or human behavior, and often used when describing something as "natural," says Crystal Giordano of Brooklyn, New York. Another advertising gimmick to make things sound better than they really are, according to Rick DeVan of Willoughby, Ohio, who said he has heard claims such as "My business is organic," and computers having "organic software."

WORDSMITH/WORDSMITHING – "I've never read anything created by a wordsmith - or via wordsmithing - that was pleasant to read." – Emily Kissane, St. Paul, Minnesota.

AUTHOR/AUTHORED – "In one of former TV commentator Edwin Newman's books, he wonders if it would be correct to say that someone 'paintered' a picture?" – Dorothy Betzweiser, Cincinnati, Ohio.

POST 9/11 – "'Our post-9/11 world,' is used now, and probably used more, than AD, BC, or Y2K, time references. You'd think the United States didn't have jet fighters, nuclear bombs, and secret agents, let alone electricity, 'pre-9/11.'" – Chazz Miner, Midland, Michigan.

SURGE – "'Surge' has become a reference to a military build-up. Give me the old days, when it referenced storms and electrical power." – Michael F. Raczko, Swanton, Ohio.

GIVE BACK – "This oleaginous phrase is an emergency submission to the 2008 list. The notion has arisen that as one's life progresses, one accumulates a sort of deficit balance with society which must be neutralized by charitable works or financial outlays. Are one's daily transactions throughout life a form of theft?" – Richard Ong, Carthage, Missouri.

'BLANK' is the new 'BLANK' or 'X' is the new 'Y' – In spite of statements to the contrary, 'Cold is (NOT) the new hot,' nor is '70 the new 50.' The idea behind such comparisons was originally good, but we've all watched them spiral out of reasonable uses into ludicrous ones and it's now time to banish them from use. Or, to phrase it another way, 'Originally clever advertising is now the new absurdity!'" – Lawrence Mickel, Coventry, Connecticut.

BLACK FRIDAY – "The day after Thanksgiving that retailers use to keep themselves out of the 'red' for the year. (And then followed by "Cyber-Monday.") This is counter to the start of the Great Depression's use of the term 'Black Tuesday,' which signaled the crash of the stock market that sent the economy into a tailspin. – Carl Marschner, Melvindale, Michigan.

BACK IN THE DAY – "Back in the day, we used 'back-in-the-day' to mean something really historical. Now you hear ridiculous statements such as 'Back in the day, people used Blackberries without Blue Tooth.'" – Liz Jameson, Tallahassee, Florida.

RANDOM – Popular with teenagers in many places.
"Over-used and usually out of context, i.e. 'You are so random!' Really? Random is supposed to mean 'by chance.' So what I said was by chance, and not by choice?" – Gabriel Brandel, Farmington Hills, Michigan.

SWEET – "Too many sweets will make you sick. It became popular with the advent of the television show 'South Park' and by rights should have died of natural causes, but the term continues to cling to life. It is annoying when young children use it and have no idea why, but it really sounds stupid coming from the mouths of adults. Please kill this particular use of an otherwise fine word." – Wayne Braver, Manistique, Michigan

DECIMATE – "I nominate 'decimate' as it applies to Man's and Nature's destructive fury and the outcome of sporting contests. Decimate simply means a 10% reduction – no more, no less. It may have derived notoriety because the ancient Romans used decimation as a technique for prisoner of war population reduction or an incentive for under-performing battle units. A group of 10 would be assembled and lots drawn. The nine losers would win and the winner would die at the hands of the losers – a variation on the instant lottery game. Perhaps 'creamed' or 'emulsified' should be substituted. – Mark Dobias, Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.

EMOTIONAL – "Reporters, short on vocabulary, often describe a scene as 'emotional.' Well sure, but which emotion? For a radio reporter to gravely announce, 'There was an emotional send off to Joe Blow' tells me nothing, other than the reporter perceived that the participants acted in an emotional way. For instance: I had an emotional day today. I started out feeling tired and a bit grumpy until I had my coffee. I was distraught over a cat killing a bird on the other side of the street. I was bemused by my reaction to the way nature works. I was intrigued this evening to add a word or two to your suggestions. I was happy to see the words that others had posted. Gosh, this has been an emotional day for me." – Brendan Kennedy, Quesnel, British Columbia, Canada.

POP – "On every single one of the 45,000 decorating shows on cable TV (of which I watch many) there is at LEAST one obligatory use of a phrase such as ... 'the addition of the red really makes it POP.' You know when it's coming ... you mouth it along with the decorator. There must be some other way of describing the addition of an interesting detail." – Barbara, Arlington, Texas.

IT IS WHAT IT IS – "It means absolutely nothing and is mostly a cop out or a way to avoid answering a question in a way that might require genuine thought or insight. Listen to an interview with some coach or athlete in big-time sports and you'll inevitably hear it." – Doug Compo, Brimley, Michigan.

UNDER THE BUS – "For overuse. I frequently hear this in the cliché-filled sports world, where it's used to describe misplaced blame – i.e. 'After Sunday's loss, the fans threw T.O. under the bus." – Mark R. Hinkston, Racine, Wisconsin.

And I'd like to add my own personal pet-peeves of over-used words to this list.

PLETHORA - "For instance, I see the word "plethora" used all the time. "A plethora of choices!" exclaims a press release. The writer chose "plethora" because she thought it meant "an abundance of" and, perhaps, that it would make her sound smart. But "plethora" doesn't solely mean "an abundance of," it means, according to these dictionaries, too freakin' many..." - Wordwise.typepad.com.

Officially? The plethora of the word plethora has become a plethora of epic plethoras. Let's not do that anymore.

THE GIRLS - Used as a euphemism for breasts. I have
breasts, bosoms, tits, titties, boobs, boobies (okay, I can't really see myself saying I have boobies), knockers, etc. What I do NOT have are "the girls", as though they were a seperate entity. Where are the girls? Oh, the girls are a little down today. Gee, I hope the girls can make it. DO NOT EVER DO THIS!

OWN IT - Own what? If I did something, well, then, yup, I did it. If I felt something, then yes, those were my emotions. I own a car, clothes, way too many other possessions, and, arguably, my son. I don't need, or want, to "own" my emotions. If it's a corruption of "own up to", why then, let's confess. Yes, I cheated on you with your best friend, and hey! you know what? He's a way better lay than you, so I'm going to keep fornicating with him. Get over it. Yeah. Own this.

EASY-PEASY - We are not five. We don't need our words to rhyme. Easy will suffice. As in, yes, that was easy. Or simple. Or quick. Or even, for the sarcasm quotient, could that have been any easier? But never, ever easy-peasy. We are not living a nursery rhyme. 'kay?

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