Metro-East Living

Sticks and stones can break bones, but words can drive you crazy



Hashtag this.

What’s up, BAE?

Our worlds are filled with an overload of useless chatter and information. You can get tired of over-used, cliché words, acronyms and phrases in a hurry. That’s why I enjoy the annual list compiled by Lake Superior State University in Minnesota. Every year, the small college submits to the world an annual “List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness.”

The annual list began in the 1970s. I’ve followed it since college because it makes me laugh. It also reminds me how cliché, predictable and copycat our language becomes quickly.

The university’s 2015 list of banished words and phrases includes:

BAE, the acronym for Before Anyone Else, or short for “babe.” Yep. I got you, BAE.

Polar Vortex. It was called “bad winter” until a few years ago.

Hack. Totally mis-used. What they mean today is a tip or shortcut. In my world, “hack” is something negative with computers or adequately describes my golf short game.

Skill set. Why do we often use two words when one will do?

Foodie. We don’t call wine lovers “winies.” We don’t call beer lovers “beeries.”

Friend-raising. It’s an insult to friendships everywhere.

Cra-cra. It’s crazy, really crazy, to use this double instead of just “crazy.”

Takeaway. You hear it on news programs and in business meetings. What’s the takeaway here? We used to call it “homework.”

(---) Nation. Yes, as a sports suffix. Sorry, Cardinals Nation. Every pro and college team now has its own “nation.” Next it will be a “continent.” Then “universe.” I’m OK with calling them fans like we used to.

Consciously, I tried not use words from the 2014 list which included selfie, twerk/twerking, hashtag, Twittersphere, Mister Mom, on steroids, intellectually/morally bankrupt, Obamacare and fan base.

I’m weak. I used “selfie” and “hashtag” a couple of times and didn’t even realize it until it was too late. I like “intellectually bankrupt” and “morally bankrupt” a lot. I just never had a chance to use them.

2013’s banned words or phrases, included fiscal cliff, kick the can down the road, double down, job creation, YOLO (you only live once), spoiler alert, trending and boneless wings.

I’ve never been a fan of boneless wings, period. And I especially despised YOLO because it reminded of the unnecessary breakup of the Beatles.

It was easy to stop using the 2012 list which included baby bump, hared sacrifice, occupy, blowback, man cave, The New Normal, pet parent, trickeration, ginormous, and thank you in advance.

New Normal?

You know me.

I’m Old School.

The college’s first list of over-used words in 1976 included at this point in time, meaningful and macho. At this point in time, 40 years later, I still use the word macho occasionally but never in reference to myself.

1982 was a great year for underdogs. I graduated from college. The Cardinals won the World Series. The most over-used words then were classic, world-class, revenue enhancement and hot water heater. (Never knew why hot water need to be heated?)

World class is still being over-used.

My turn. Here are a few over-used, useless words and phrases that I’d like to see suspended if not banned for awhile at least.

Trash talking. It’s so common and open nowadays in sports. I liked it better when athletes were more discreet.

Let’s see the replay! One of the greatest elements of sports is human imperfection, right?

Awesome! Some things are just good or great.


Whatever. Don’t roll your eyes at me!

Likes. Facebook ruined such a simple word.

Lean and mean. I prefer chubby and shy.

Been-there-done-that. Sigh. Bad idea. No fun the first time.

Cub Fever. Don’t worry. It will be gone by Labor Day. This season, at least.

Post it. Sorry. Not everyone wants to see or read your every photo or thought.

Cra-cra. If I never hear or read that again, I’ll be good, BAE.