It's That Time Of Year Again -- The Banished Words List

[ Posted Tuesday, December 30th, 2008 – 18:22 UTC ]

And the air was full of shoutings,
And the thunder of the mountains,
Starting, answered "Baim-wawa!"

-- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, from "Song of Hiawatha"


[As is traditional, I start this article about Lake Superior State University with the immortal words of Longfellow. Baim-wawa, indeed.]

From Lake Superior State University (LSSU) comes the annual list of banished words, which have overstayed their welcome among our popular culture, and are henceforth banished into the linguistic wilderness.

Out of thousands of suggestions on their web site in the past year, the intrepid Language Cops at LSSU have selected the following list, which should be avoided in the future.

Now, while LSSU claims a 34-year history of proclaiming such verbal garbage to be avoided, I have a few suggestions of my own which did not make the list. The first is "Clintonistas" which always had a vague revolutionary feel which it doesn't really deserve. Next up, a term I created and promise never to use again, "Super Duper Tsunami Tuesday." Sheesh. And two terms spring to mind which hopefully will be replaced soon with something a little less euphemistic: "extraordinary rendition" and "enhanced interrogation techniques." The first can easily be replaced by "state-sanctioned kidnapping" and the second, of course, is nothing but "torture."

Feel free to add your own to the list of terms you never want to have to hear ever again. Or you can even suggest terms for inclusion on next year's list on the LSSU website. Check out their previous lists, as well.

Without further introduction, here are the official banished terms for 2009:


Green (as well as "going green" or "green technology," and all other permutations)

Carbon footprint / Carbon offsetting

Maverick (as well as "mavericky")

First Dude (spouse of female head of state)


Wall Street / Main Street

(anything)-Monkey (anything with "-monkey" tacked on the end of it)

<3 (used in texting, supposed to be a sideways heart. Often misread as "less than three")

Icon / Iconic

Game changer


Desperate search

Not so much ("a favorite of snarky critics and bloggers")

Winner of (x) nominations (you haven't won yet, you've just been nominated.)

It's that time of year again


So, as your favorite word-monkey sinks slowly in the West for 2008, he ends his desperate search for a final game-changing iconic topic for this year, while he begins his winter staycation. Winner of absolutely no nominations for Pulitzer Prizes, reporting on Wall Street bailouts and the greening of Main Street, this column vows to reduce its carbon footprint next year (although our carbon atoms are quite small, and their footprints are already pretty tiny...). We bid so long this year to maverick John McCain and the equally mavericky Sarah Palin (and her First Dude, of course). Is this column sorry to see them go? Not so much.

We'll be taking a two-day New Year's break here at, since (after all), it's that time of year again. See you all Friday, and until next year:



-- Chris Weigant


3 Comments on “It's That Time Of Year Again -- The Banished Words List”

  1. [1] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I have three words that I never want to hear again...

    If I never hear the words Joe, the, and plumber used together in the same breath, sentence, paragraph or long-winded essay, it will be too soon!

    Happy New Year! Hau'oli Makahiki Ho'u!

  2. [2] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Elizabeth -


    I fully agree about Joe the Plumber... and I'm going to ignore that remark about long-winded essays...


    Hau'oli Makahiki Ho'u to all!!


  3. [3] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    ...just a quick word about long-winded essays...I love them! Yeah, I love them! Your lengthy posts of late have been nothing short of thoroughly enjoyable.

    I have already seen one of my favourite people - who shall remain nameless - shy away from being long-winded or even very visible in the public eye and so I am desperately counting on the fact that you won't be doing anything that would even remotely continue that trend toward dreaded brevity.

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