Crusty Words To Grapple With And Eschew: The Banished Words List

[ Posted Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019 – 18:10 UTC ]

Happy new year everyone, and welcome back again to our annual promotion of Lake Superior State University's annual "Banished Words List." That's right, it's time to head once again to the now-frigid shores of Gitche Gumee to see what their word mavens have optimistically banished from use, in the hopes of keeping all our conversations less lazy (and annoying). So without further ado, let's just get right to this year's list:


In The Books

Wrap My Head Around











Legally Drunk

Thought Leader



Most Important Election Of Our Time

A few clarifications may be necessary. "In the books" is listed "as in finished or concluded." Another full definition: "-OTUS family of acronyms such as POTUS, FLOTUS, SCOTUS." "Yeet" is obviously some new slang them dang kids are using: " in to vigorously throw or toss." "Litigate" is the non-literal usage of the term to mean any simple discussion in the media or political sphere. "Grapple" is also for non-literal uses, such as "to grapple with an idea." "Crusty" is "as used as an insult," so some more slang there, as well.

Of course, as always, we highly recommend you read the full list with all the nominating notes, but here were a few standouts:

[Wheelhouse] -- "It's an awkward word to use in the 21st century. Most people have never seen a wheelhouse."

[Wrap My Head Around] -- "Impossible to do and makes no sense."

[Platform] -- "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."

[Ghosting] -- "Somebody doesn't want to talk with you. Get over it. No need to bring the paranormal into the equation."

[Yeet] -- "If I hear one more freshman say 'yeet,' I might just yeet myself out a window."

[Grapple] -- "People who struggle with ideas and issues now grapple with them. I prefer to grapple with a wrestler or an overgrown tree."

[Eschew] -- "Nobody ever actually says this word out loud, they just write it for filler."

[Legally Drunk] -- "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."

[Most Important Election Of Our Time] -- "Not that we haven’t had six or seven back-to-back most important elections of our time."

A few personal reactions, starting with how much I agree with that last one. I've been saying this for years, now. I think the first "Most important election" of my time was probably Ronald Reagan's first, in 1980. Pretty much every election since (the term may have fallen out of use for one or two of them, but not noticeably) has been billed exactly the same. Seriously, they can't all be "most" important, right?

The wheelhouse nomination makes a good point, but it is a fun word to toss into the mix, so I am probably guilty of adding to this annoyance. I never noticed what an inane phrase "wrap my head around" was, but again, they've got a point.

I almost never use "-OTUS" words within the text of my articles (unless quoting someone else or a tweet), but I am definitely guilty of using it in comments, just for ease of typing.

I've heard "crusty" been used as a put-down, but had to admit that "yeet" was a new one on me. Showing my age, I guess....

Litigate and grapple both have strong cases to make, more so the former than the latter, though. It is overused in the political and journalistic sphere, and it should indeed be reserved for "tried in a court of law" rather than just for a discussion or even an argument. I'll take note of that one, in other words, in the future. But grapple is just a colorful metaphor to me, and I doubt I've ever even used the word in its literal sense.

I also doubt I've ever used "eschew," but personally thought that this nomination was the funniest one.

The one that really impressed me was the explanation of legally/illegally drunk. A long time ago, back when I was in primary school (...hey, I said "a long time ago"...), I had a folder for papers which was decorated with debunkings of a whole bunch of oxymoronic phrases ("Why do flammable and inflammable mean the same thing?", "Why does fat chance equal slim chance?", etc.) but I have to admit I've never really thought about "legally drunk." The nomination makes an excellent point!

One final reaction: I think we can all agree we're all sick and tired of the word "collusion" at this point, no matter what we all may feel about Trump and Russia.


Importantly, though, as always (since 2018 is now in the books), we must conclude with an attempt to grapple with (if not litigate) the optics of the crusty words to eschew from the renowned thought leaders at L.S.S.U. Every year, they use their august platform to yeet out their denunciations of the accoutrements of good conversation and writing for all, so in an act of collusion we feel duty-bound to post it as well. The list is easy to wrap my head around, since language usage and the attempt to write well are so squarely in my wheelhouse. For instance, even though they didn't come right out and admit it, one of the terms is purely political since it targets a favorite phrase of the current POTUS. Even if you ghosted him online, you'd still hear the term far too many times. He reportedly doesn't even drink, so you can't even chalk it up to his being legally (or illegally) drunk, either. Next year we'll try to pay attention to the Banished Words List, although it may be tough because the 2020 presidential contest is going to be pretty exuberant, at times. All of 2019 going to be a wild rollercoaster ride, because of the high stakes. In fact, 2020 will be -- without doubt -- the most important election of our time.

-- Chris Weigant


Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant


18 Comments on “Crusty Words To Grapple With And Eschew: The Banished Words List”

  1. [1] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Well...about time, Chris! I get how exhausting the year end McGlaughlins are but the better you are the more some of us end up, er, jonesing.
    Ohboyohboy! '19 is gonna be an interesting year!

  2. [2] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Oh, and you could do a lot worse than the collective wisdom of Lake Superior State University (said the born in Dee-troiter [though a Wolverine.])

  3. [3] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Furthermore, "most important election of our time" is much like "the X party may be out of power for a GENERATION" - which means they may have it rough for all of two election cycles

  4. [4] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    every election is always the most important of our time, since our time is always now.

  5. [5] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    I hope people keep using "the most important election of our time" as well as "this election is too important" and "now is not the time" (which is a purposely deceptive statement because what it usually means is that NEVER is the time).

    Those statements are excellent tools in determining when someone is full of shit and the people making those statements don't seem to realize it.

    What you are saying when you make those statements is that you know what you are doing is wrong but the importance of the current election gives you an excuse to keep doing it.

    I will keep looking for, encouraging and supporting people that say "It's never the wrong time to do the right thing".

  6. [6] 
    TheStig wrote:

    I always enjoy the annual Banished Word List, but I always take exception to some of their picks.

    Banished is giving Wheelhouse a bad rap. It can mean the cabin that holds a ship's wheel, but it can also mean the portion of a strike zone that is most likely to yield a home run. I can recall that phrase drifting over the radio during night games, used as a measure of competence. That seems to be the way it is used today, so it is apt. A bit geezerish, but apt.

    I am not giving up accoutrements either. Everyone has an inate right to appear a bit pompous now and again. Also, I can't seem to get rid of all my beloved accoutrements cluttering my attic.

  7. [7] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Also, any American under the age of 2 should be granted a license to use Most Important Election of My Lifetime.

  8. [8] 
    James T Canuck wrote:

    An English take on what really can't be considered 'English-isms'...with a notable exception*

    Best read in one's own 'John Cleese-ian headmaster' mind-accent.

    We consider all this falderal somewhat 'out of the crease', this messing about with the Queen's language has 'run the course'. It 'defies belief', nay, it 'cuts against the grain' that the common man sees fit to 'take the stage' with a misguided, self-appointed and usurped 'synergy' that was automatically handed down to his betters via primogenitor. It's simply 'OTT'. 'Marking their cards' or 'sending them to Coventry' simply won't do, how many 'mulligans' does one afford those 'behind the door' before 'the penny drops'? The moment we allow others to redefine our spoken word, we eschew* our mother tongue in favour of those who consider us 'long in the tooth''s simply 'not a good look'. As vanguards of the 'Anglo-Saxon' spoken word, we see the need to limit the repetitious repetitiousness and prolixity of the 'day to day' over-use of tautologies, but are not unmindful of the impedimenta that this age allows. Only time will tell, if revisions to the language are apropos, as no doubt 'in our fathers day' they must have been, the 'coin toss' will begrudgingly be observed.

    Just yeeting it out.

    Exist Discursive & Burgeon.

  9. [9] 
    SF Bear wrote:

    Wow first time I find myself in total agreement with Don Harris "Those statements are excellent tools in determining when someone is full of shit and the people making those statements don't seem to realize it." says it best!

  10. [10] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    MtnCaddy -

    Welcome to the site! My apologies for the delay in approving your first comments. From now on, you should be able to post your comments instantly, as long as you don't post more than one link per comment. Multilink comments get held for moderation, which can take a while.

    But again, welcome to the site! Michiganders are always welcome here!



  11. [11] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Giving up on "collusion" is gonna be a traumatic ordeal for all you Weigantians who promised/guaranteed me for two solid years that it was the word that was inevitably going to result in getting rid of the asshole-in-chief that you all hate so much.

    I'm guessing there will never be enough grief counselors available for helping you all cope with a disappointment of that magnitude! I'm expecting a rash of mental breakdowns in the immediate future. Hope it doesn't devolve into wrist slashing.

  12. [12] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    please don't joke about suicide here.

  13. [13] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Who's joking?

  14. [14] 
    Kick wrote:

    C. R. Stucki

    Giving up on "collusion" is gonna be a traumatic ordeal for all you Weigantians who promised/guaranteed me for two solid years that it was the word that was inevitably going to result in getting rid of the asshole-in-chief that you all hate so much.

    Wrong. In point of fact, it has been explained to you repeatedly that collusion is a layman's term, but the legal term of art is "conspiracy"... and your initials continue to suit you perfectly because you've proven on multiple occasions to date that you absolutely and without question Can't Remember Shit.

    I'm expecting a rash of mental breakdowns in the immediate future.

    As outlined above, your "mental breakdowns" are well documented and archived throughout the website, and while past performance is not always indicative of future results, I would wager you'll go right on having them. :)

  15. [15] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    There it is, the first mental breakdown, just as I suspected!

  16. [16] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:


    Re the "layman's term vs the legal term" thing, suggest you Google 'em, each one is cited as the first synonym for the other. If you're still hanging your hopes on some imaginary legal distinction between them, I still see more mental breakdown in your near future.

  17. [17] 
    Kick wrote:


    There it is, the first mental breakdown, just as I suspected!

    Poor old man lost count of his own brain farts. It's one of the hazards of aging and making stuff up. Reminds me of Benedict Donald forgetting that he tweeted the border was safe and would remain that way, and now he claims there's a crisis.

    Still and as always, it is comical to watch the old men flailing. :)

  18. [18] 
    Kick wrote:


    Re the "layman's term vs the legal term" thing, suggest you Google 'em, each one is cited as the first synonym for the other.

    They say you can't teach an old dog a new trick, but clicking on the link I supplied above reveals me explaining that they are synonyms to you:

    I know you righties have had it pounded into your head, but the propaganda regarding "collusion" is merely semantics. "Collusion" is simply a synonym for "conspiracy," and you can bet the farm it's a crime.

    * False statement to federal investigators.
    * False statement on a security clearance form.
    * False statement to congressional investigators.
    * Using electronic communications to coordinate actions to mislead investigators.
    * Violating election laws.
    * Conspiracy to violate election laws.
    * Conspiracy to commit cybercrime [RICO predicate]
    * Aiding a criminal conspiracy.
    * Abetting a criminal conspiracy.
    * Obstruction of justice. [RICO predicate]
    * Money laundering. [RICO predicate]
    * Espionage

    When Mueller brings additional charges, expect to see individuals charged separately unless they committed crime(s) together. ~ Kick, 02/17/2018

    Since the time of that post, Paul Manafort has been jailed and plead guilty to many of those crimes I listed that you kept claiming ad nauseam were "not illegal."

    As I said, the old men flailing is comical to watch. :)

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