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‘Banished Words” For 2019

A Michigan university has released its annual list of “banished” words, including “thought leader,” “POTUS” and “yeet.” Lake Superior State University said its 44th annual List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-use, Over-use, and General Uselessness was chosen from a pool of submissions from a public fed up with words like “wheelhouse” to mean an area of expertise and phrases like “in the books” to mean something concluded.

The list included common words using “-OTUS” as an initialism for “of the United States,” including “POTUS” for the president and “FLOTUS” for the first lady. The list also includes “wrap my head around,” “platform,” “collusion,” “ghosting,” “litigate,” “grapple,” “eschew,” “crusty,” “optics,” “legally drunk,” “importantly,” “accouterments” and “most important election of our time.”

“We grapple, litigate, and then yeet irritating words and phrases gathered from the nominations and votes received during 2018,” the school said in a statement. “It’s the most important election of our time.” The 2019 list, along with reasons for banishment by nominators:

Wheelhouse, as in the area of expertise – Chris, Battle Creek, Michigan, “It’s not in my wheelhouse to explain why dreadful words should be banished!”; Currie, Ottawa, Ontario (Canada), “Irritating, has become a cliché, annoys me, offense to the English language, etc.;” Kevin, Portland, Oregon, “It’s an awkward word to use in the 21st century. Most people have never seen a wheelhouse.”

In the books, as in finished or concluded – Sandy, White Lake Township, Michigan, “It seems everyone’s holiday party is in the books this year, and it’s all there for friends to view on social media, along with the photos of the happy party attendees.”

Wrap my head around – Linda, Bloomington, Minnesota, “Impossible to do and makes no sense.”

Platform – Michael, Alameda, California, “People use it as an excuse to rant. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter have become platforms. Even athletes call a post-game interview a ‘platform.’ Step down from the platform, already.”

Collusion, as in two or more parties limiting competition by deception – John, Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan, “We all need to collude on getting rid of this word.”

OTUS family of acronyms such as POTUS, FLOTUS, SCOTUS – David, Kinross, Michigan, “Overused useless word for the President, Supreme Court, First Lady.”

Ghosting – Carrie, Caledonia, Michigan, “Somebody doesn’t want to talk with you. Get over it. No need to bring the paranormal into the equation.”

Yeet, as in to vigorously throw or toss – Emily, Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, “If I hear one more freshman say “yeet,” I might just yeet myself out a window.”

Litigate – Ronald, Fredericton, New Brunswick (Canada), “Originally meant to take a claim or dispute to a law court … appropriated by politicians and journalists for any matter of controversy in the public sphere.”

Grapple – David, Traverse City, Michigan, “People who struggle with ideas and issues now grapple with them. I prefer to grapple with a wrestler or an overgrown tree. “

Eschew – Mary, Toronto, Ont. (Canada), “Nobody ever actually says this word out loud, they just write it for filler.”

Crusty – Hannah, Campbellsville, Kentucky, “This has become a popular insult. It’s disgusting and sounds weird. Make the madness stop.”

Optics – Bob Tempe, Arizona, “The trendy way to say ‘appearance’.”

Legally drunk – Philip, Auburn, Indiana, “You’re a little tipsy, that’s all. That’s legally drunk. People who are ticketed for drunk driving are actually ‘illegally drunk,’ and we should say so.”

Thought Leader – Matt, Superior, Colorado, “Thoughts aren’t ranked or scored. How can someone hold a thought-lead, much less even lead by thought?”; Paul, Ann Arbor, Michigan, “If you follow a thought leader, you’re not much of a thinker.”

Importantly – Constance, Pace, Texas, “Totally unnecessary when ‘important’ is sufficient. ‘More importantly’ (banned in 1992) apparently sounds more important but is also senseless.”

Accouterments – Leslie, Scottsdale, Arizona, “Hard to spell, not specific, and anachronistic when ‘accessories’ will do.”

Most important election of our time … – José, Ozark, Arkansas, “Not that we haven’t had six or seven back-to-back most important elections of our time.”