January 11, 2011


People seem to like making lists: best restaurants, best hotels, and best movie or actor to name a few.  But Lake Superior University (Yahoo news, 1/1/2011) offers a list each year of the ten worst and overused words that should be banished.  In 2010 they include

                   viral – a word for videos that sweep across the internet

                   google– used as a verb as in “I googled the information.”

                   mama grizzlies – Sarah Palins’ name for right-wing female political activists

                  BFF – Best friends forever

                  man up– meaning stand up and face reality

                  battleground states– referring to states equally divided between conservative and liberal voters

                  24/7 – working long hours that seem endless    

Other non-favorite expression listed are wow-factor, a-ha moment and back story.

I’m glad the article defined these expressions because some of them were new to me. I admit to feeling gormless* when I discovered them — like someone who’s arrived at a party as everyone is leaving.

There are other words I’d like to see sent to a gulag. Economical is one when economic will do. Albeit should trot off to the happy hunting ground as well as the phrase Thank you for having me when thank you for inviting me is meant (All that talk about people having each otherone can get embarrassing).

I wouldn’t be sorry to see the phrase suffice it to say disappear either. And for 25 cents, I’d bludgeon the fact of the matter, myself. But there are other words, we might want to use less often, if not banish entirely: I, me and mine. Thinking in terms of we and us might move the world a little closer toward peace. 

*gormless – a slang term used in Britain. Google it to learn its meaning.