A Teachable Moment -- The Official Banished Words List

[ Posted Thursday, December 31st, 2009 – 15:02 UTC ]

Ku ka punohu ula i ka moana;
Hele ke ehu-kai, uhi i ka aina;
Olapa ka uila, noho i Kahiki;
Uina, nakolo,
Uwá ka pihe,
Lau a kánaka ka hula.
E Laka, e!

-- Traditional Hawaiian "Oli" or "Tiring Song"

In years past, I've opened these year-end articles with a quote from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's epic "Song of Hiawatha," in honor of Lake Superior State University (which, by all rights, should really be named Gitchee Gumee State University), the intrepid folks who tirelessly publish each year's official "Banished Words List."

But this year, in the spirit of our Hawaiian president, I decided to go with a different native-American-influenced theme. The above is from the hula ceremony, and is introduced (on the web page where I found it) with the following:

The girls of the olapa, their work in the tiring-room completed, lift their voices in a spirited song, and with a lively motion pass out into the hall to bloom before the waiting assembly in the halau in all the glory of their natural charms and adornments:

The rainbow stands red o'er the ocean;
Mist crawls from the sea and covers the land;
Far as Kahiki flashes the lightning;
A reverberant roar,
A shout of applause,
From the four hundred.
I appeal to thee, Laka!

But enough of such poetical frippery, we've got a list to get to!

Here, without further ado, is the official 2010 Banished Words List from L.S.S.U.:


Transparent/Transparency (as used in politics)


Tweet (and all variations: tweetaholic, retweet, tritterhea, twitterature, twittersphere...)



Friend (as a verb, also "unfriend")

Teachable moment

In these economic times...


Toxic assets

Too big to fail



Obama-(prefix) (Oxford Dictionary added: Obamanomics, Obamanation, Obamafication, Obamacare, Obamalicious, Obamaland -- L.S.S.U.'s reaction: "We say Obamanough already."

As usual, the L.S.S.U.'s full list (with commentary) is hilarious and worth reading in its entirety (note: I don't believe that's a true permalink, so if you're reading this in 2011 or beyond, you may have to look in their archives for "2010"). Best comment of all, for "transparent/transparency," came from Joe Grimm of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan: "I just don't see it."

Heh. Good one, Joe!

In any case, in these economic times, I felt we better end with some transparency here. As your Web Site Czar, standing on the cusp of a shovel-ready upgrade of to begin the new year (but not, for those who can count to ten, the "new decade") which will improve the site (but not require you to download a new app) by getting rid of some toxic assets, software-wise, and providing a stimulus to your experience here; I can truly say that 2010 will be a year of bromance between all of us chillaxin' here. Because we like to consider Obamaliciously too big to fail. Oh, and don't forget to friend me by following my tweets! And I assure you, there will be no sexting....

A teachable moment indeed.

In any case, in true Hawaiian fashion (translations available), since it is now pau hana for 2009, we'd like to wish everyone a Hau'oli Makahiki Hou, and say mahalo nui loa na ho'olaule'a me la kaua!

A hui hou....


-- Chris Weigant

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant


One Comment on “A Teachable Moment -- The Official Banished Words List”

  1. [1] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Well, Chris...that was very, very nice...and it brought back a flood of colourful memories of the ancient hula dance of Hawai’i. The best way to revel in a CW signature piece is to read it out loud - with feeling.

    I wish you could have heard my version of this powerful chant. No, I don’t! But, it’s a mood changer, that’s for sure...and a great way to get ready to ring in the New Year. I think I have a Hawai’ian chant CD around here somewhere ...

    Here’s looking forward to another fabulous year at as I send out a heartfelt Hau’oli Makahiki Hou and a hearty Okole maluna! to everyone here...and that goes especially for you, Michale...if you know what I mean, and I’m sure that you do! :D

    Oh, and here’s what I’d like to see banished from our collective vocabulary ... actually, come to think of it, there’s something inherently wrong with banishing words and phrases - even the irritatingly grating ones. But, that’s just me. :)

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