Absolutely amazing – Our ‘misused, overused, and useless’ language
Every year since 1976, Lake Superior State University chooses the ten words it found were most “misused, overused, and useless” in the previous year and forbids people from using them for the 12 months to come.
Over the years, more than 1,000 everyday terms – to say nothing of the Oxford comma – have made it onto the roll of shame, some more than once. And this year, sees GOAT (Greatest Of All Time), top the poll.
This is all well and good, but, speaking as a professional word wrangler if not an outright smith, GOAT isn’t a word, it is an acronym, like LASER, and will not become a word until it loses the capitals. Laser-like.
Also included in this year’s list of “misused, overused, and useless” were:
- Does that make sense?
- Inflection point
- It is what it is
- Moving forward
- Quiet quitting
For its 2023 list, Lake Superior State University judges reviewed more than 1,500 submissions before coming up with their top ten.
A university spokesperson said unintelligibly of the number one choice, GOAT.
“The many nominators didn’t have to be physicists or grammarians to determine the literal impossibility and technical vagueness of this wannabe superlative.
“Yet it’s bestowed on everyone from Olympic gold medalists to Jeopardy champions.”
“Technical vagueness,” anyone?
Words and terms banned in 2022 included “no worries,” “you’re on mute,” and “wait, what?”
Other banned words over the years have included “vis-à-vis,” “information superhighway,” “I’m like,” and “giving 110 percent.”
In 1983, one of the forbidden words was “Reaganomics” – the much-overused term at the time, for the economic policies promoted by US President Ronald Reagan. A predictable ban in 1999 was “Y2K,” followed by “millennium” in 2000.
The university has even gone so far as to copyright the pretentious concept of its word list to “uphold, protect, and support excellence in language by encouraging avoidance of words and terms that are overworked, redundant, oxymoronic, clichéd, illogical, nonsensical and otherwise ineffective, baffling, or irritating.”
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