As parents, we tell our kids to use their words, except for words we’ve deemed objectionable. Usually those are four-letter words, although a six-letter forbidden word from my childhood was shut-up. Well, get out of town because the wordsmiths at Michigan’s Lake Superior State University (LSSU) just released a new set of words to banish from our everyday vernacular. LSSU's annual List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness is a yearly ritual created by the late W. T. Rabe, a former public relations director at LSSU.
The 41st list is chosen from nominations collected mostly via the university’s website, with a committee culling the final list. As soon as the committee finalized the 2016 list, team members strove to use several now-banned word in one luscious quote.
“Overused words and phrases are ‘problematic’ for thousands of Queen’s English ‘stakeholders,’” said an LSSU spokesperson while ‘vaping’ an e-cigarette during a ‘presser.’ “Once something is banished, there’s no ‘walking it back;’ that’s our ‘secret sauce,' and there’s no ‘price point’ for that.”
I must admit that I’ve read these 13 words/phrases many times while mindlessly surfing the Internet to avoid interacting with my own young wordsmiths during homework time. And while I hope my children don’t know all of these words, I must admit I’m dying to ask them what each word means at the dinner table tonight.
Here’s this year’s list. For an in-depth, clever take on the list, check out LSSU article here.
So: chosen for its annoying position as the first word of an answer to questions.
Conversation: people are tired of “joining the conversation.”
Problematic: enough said, really.
Stakeholder: we’re not customers anymore, we are stakeholders.
Price point: because one word will do when we’re talking about cost.
Secret sauce: a business word, but all I can think of is what is the secret sauce that makes all vegetables eatable?
Break the Internet: if you’ve been online in the last 24 hours, you’ve read this phrase and almost thrown up due to its overuse.
Walk it back: referring to politicians retracting statements, although I’m picturing politicians doing the moonwalk instead.
Presser: shortened form of press release and press conference. Oy vey, thank you for adding this to the list.
Manspreading: I hope to never see the image of a person taking too much space up on public transportation again.
Vape: the verb for smoking e-cigarettes.
Giving me life: a phrase about exciting someone or making them laugh. Now try picturing your toddler saying this and try not to laugh.
Physicality: a favorite word for describing an athlete or contest, overused by sports writers and broadcasters.
There must be a parenting version of this list. What words do you hear other parents use that make you gag a little?