Banished Words

December 31, 2011 by staff 

Banished WordsBanished Words, That “winning” didn’t make the 2012 Lake Superior State Banished Words list indicates Charlie Sheen cooled tremendously after a hot start to 2011. Lake Superior State University is crowdsourcing nominations for its 2012 List of Banished Words. The Sault Ste. Marie-based public university started taking nominations for banished words as a publicity ploy and a way to generate fun conversation about our ever-evolving English language.

The list is strictly tongue-in-cheek, very much unlike, Banned Books Week, which, since 1982 has been the education field’s annual assertion of academic freedom. No one actually wants to ban any words. They just want to nominate shopworn words that people should stop using, voluntarily, in 2012. Think of it as an anti words-of-the-year list, determined by voters like you.
The LSSU Banished Words list dates back to 1975, according to its webpage.

“Former LSSU Public Relations Director Bill Rabe and friends created “word banishment” in 1975 at a New Year’s Eve party and released the first list on New Year’s Day,” the page explains. “Since then, LSSU has received tens of thousands of nominations for the list, which includes words and phrases from marketing, media, education, politics, technology and more.”

Thus far the word “amazing” leads the 2012 list, and an admonishment from LSSU students may explain why. “A Facebook page – “Overuse of the Word Amazing” – threatened to change its title to “Occupy LSSU” if ‘amazing’ escaped banishment this year,” LSSU’s ‘Banish’ page reads.

As Gitel Hesselberg of Haifa, Israel wrote, “People use ‘amazing’ for anything that is nice or heartwarming. In other words, for things that are not amazing.”

Martha Stewart’s name comes up more than once as a contributor to the word’s overuse.

“Hair is not ‘amazing.’ Shoes are not ‘amazing,’” wrote Martha Waszak of Lansing. “There are any number of adjectives that are far more descriptive. I saw Martha Stewart use the word ‘amazing’ six times in the first 5 minutes of her television show. Help!”

“Occupy” also made the list, due to the Occupy Wall Street movement, which has sprouted up copycat groups nationwide, from Occupy Oakland to Occupy Ann Arbor. But the word and the movement’s message has been co-opted by the very corporate interests the Occupy movement stands against.

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