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Wordsmith: Words that Should be Banned in 2012


The List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness gets submissions from around the world. The word with the most nominations this year? AMAZING. It’s the first time the word has made the list.

Here’s a list of all 12 words (some of them are more than one word phrases) that made this year’s list, in order of the number of submissions they received:

  • Amazing
  • Baby bump
  • Shared sacrifice
  • Occupy
  • Blowback
  • Man cave
  • The new normal
  • Pet parents
  • Win the future
  • Trickeration
  • Ginormous
  • Thank you in advance

While I have never heard of some of these—Trickeration and Win the future—some of them hit uncomfortably close to home, like Man cave and Ginormous.

Wondering what was on the 2011 list? Yeah, me too. Here they are:

  • Viral
  • Epic
  • Fail
  • Wow factor
  • A-ha moment
  • Back story
  • BFF
  • Man up
  • Refudiate
  • Mama grizzlies
  • The American people
  • I’m just sayin’
  • Facebook/Google as verbs
  • Live life to the fullest

I decided to take a look back in time to the 1990s to see a list of banished words for this decade. Here are some of my favorites:

  • All except
  • Best Kept Secret
  • Climb Down
  • Exact Same
  • Large size petites
  • Minor emergency clinic
  • The more you buy the more you save
  • Vis-à-vis
  • Yo

As freelance writers know, no cliche is a good cliche. And these seem to be lists of clichés made popular each year. When I can’t come up with a good alternative word, I turn to my trusty thesaurus. I also like to look up synonyms online to give me even more ideas on how to avoid using an overused word.

I have some words on my pet peeve list I’d like to see banned. They include:

  • Totally
  • Obviously
  • Seriously
  • OMG
  • LOL

What words in the English language would you like to see banned next year? I can’t promise it’ll happen—but it might be fun to complain a bit…


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