Just in time for the new year, Lake Superior State University today released its 41st annual list of words and phrases that should be banished from the English language.
“Manspreading,” “stakeholder, “presser” and “giving me life” are among 13 offenders that were compiled from nominations submitted from people identifying pet peeves from everyday speech, the news, technology, politics and other fields, according to a release on the Michigan university’s website.
A committee selects the final list in late December. Banishment is by no means official, and dictionaries aren't changed.
Here is the full 2016 list, along with detractors’ reasons for disdaining them:
So: “Currently, it is being overused as the first word in the answer to ANY question. For instance, ‘How did you learn to play the piano?’ Answer: ‘So my dad was in a classical music club ... .’" – Bob Forrest, Tempe, Arizona.
Conversation: “We are invited to ‘join the conversation if we want to give an opinion. This expression is overused and it is annoying. Thanks for listening, eh.’ – Debbie Irwin, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada.
Problematic: “Somewhere along the line, this word became a trendy replacement for 'that is a problem.’ I just hate it.” – Sharon Martin, Hagerstown, Maryland.
Stakeholder: “Often used with ‘engagement.’ If someone is disengaged, they're not really a stakeholder in the first place. LSSU, please engage your stakeholders by adding this pretentious jargon to your list.” – Gwendolyn Barlow, Portland, Oregon.
Price point: “It has no ‘point.’ It is just a ‘price.’” – Guy Michael, Cherry Hill, New Jersey.
Secret sauce: “Usually used in a sentence explaining the ‘secret’ in excruciating public detail. Is this a metaphor for business success based on the fast food industry?” – John Beckett, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Break the Internet: “An annoying bit of hyperbole about the latest saucy picture or controversy that is already becoming trite.” – Tim Bednall, Melbourne, Australia.
Walk it back: “It seems as if every politician who makes a statement has to ‘walk it back,’ meaning retract the statement, or explain it in laborious detail to the extent that the statement no longer has any validity or meaning once it has been ‘walked back.’” – Max Hill, Killeen, Texas.
Vape: Of this word used to describe the act of smoking an e-cigarette, David Ervin of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, wrote that he hopes the word “goes up in smoke.”
Physicality: John Kollig of Jamestown, N.Y., says the word is overused by “every sports broadcaster and writer.” Added Brenda Ruffing of Jackson, Michigan: “Every time I hear them say it, I change the channel.”
Manspreading: “Men don't need another disgusting-sounding word thrown into the vocabulary to describe something they do … You're just taking too much room on this train seat, be a little more polite ... .” – Carrie Hansen, Caledonia, Michigan.
Presser: Of this term that’s used in the news industry to refer to a press conference, Constance Kelly of West Bloomfield, Michigan, wrote: “Not only is there no intelligent connection between the word "presser" and its supposed meaning, this word already has a definition: a person or device that removes wrinkles. Let's either say ‘press conference’ or ‘press release’ or come up with something more original, intelligent and interesting!”
Giving me life: This phrase is commonly used to describe something that gets someone very excited. “I suggest banishing this hyperbole for over-use,” wrote Ana Robbins, Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.
A tongue-in-cheek statement on the university’s website summed up its take on the issue like this: “Overused words and phrases are ‘problematic’ for thousands of Queen's English ‘stakeholders’ ... Once something is banished, there's no ‘walking it back;’ that's our ‘secret sauce,' and there’s no ‘price point’ for that.”