Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Justifiable Verbicide

Every year, Lake Superior State University, in Northern Michigan, issues a list of words that should be banned from the Queen's English for misuse, overuse and general uselessness that has appeared annually each New Year's Day and is an annual event because new linguistic weeds keep on cropping up in everyday usage. People from around the world are encouraged to nominate or expressions that offend them, such as "you know," "whatever," "at this point in time," and "have a nice day," that the nominator feels should be purged from the language.

This, of course, is mostly tongue-in-cheek.  However, some of the 2012 winners should be taken seriously:  "baby bump" is one of those.  It is considered a matter of delicacy to refer to a particular woman's pregnancy; especially if it turns out that said pregnancy is unplanned or that the woman is not pregnant!  To blatantly refer to someone's baby bump is too stark and intrusive, for me.

And, for God's sake; have some more respect for guys' rooms than to refer to them as "man caves"!  Or at least employ a parallel usage, woman caves."  There, our inner Neanderthals can carve up and dine on saber-toothed tigers.

Here's the current list:


And here are previous year's lists:


Naturally, you surely have your own words you would like to see expunged.  You can nominate them by using this form:


I must confess some ambivalence with regard to the outright banning of words or expressions.  Some are extremely annoying, and need not to be used, especially the over-used ones.  Some convey no additional content, and serve just as filler words:  "you know," "just sayin'."   I guess I feel the same about specifics of banning words like I do about capital punishment: slightly against it, but glad when it's used on a real scoundrel!

I think that many jurors would support a defense of justifiable verbicide in the case of some of these expressions.



John Hill said...

People's constant misuse of the word literally, figuratively drives me insane!

Mike said...

Going to the complete list and looking at words from the 70's was interesting. Some of them are still around.

Grand Crapaud said...

Fiscal cliff catastrophizes the situation. The media tends to overdramatizes things.

Yes, do away with literally and figuratively. And man cave.

eViL pOp TaRt said...

Mike, words are hard to get rid of.

John, I feel that way about those words too.

Grand, I'm also tired of that expression, it sensationalizes.

Big Sky Heidi said...

This year's list includes fiscal cliff, trending, YOLO, and bucket list. All good choices for extinction!

Meredith said...

I'm so sick of fiscal cliff.....

Bilbo said...

My friend Brenda has threatened me with death if I keep using the term "Fiscal Cliff." If you don't hear from me again, you'll know what happened.

TexWisGirl said...

i do detest 'baby bump' and well, 'fiscal cliff', too.