Every year, Lake Superior State University in Michigan creates a “List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness.” This is the 43rd time they’ve done this and you’ll recognize a few.
Its latest list of abused words from 2017 include over-used terms such as “fake news” as well as new inventions including the president’s “covfefe.”
The school’s complete list included:
- Unpack – Misused word for analyze, consider, assess. Concepts or positions are not packed, so they don’t need to be unpacked.
- Tons – Refers to an exaggerated quantity, as in tons of sunshine or tons of work. ‘Lots’ would surely suffice.
- Dish – As in to dish out the latest rumor on someone. Let’s go back to ‘talks about’ and leave dishes in the cupboard.
- Pre-owned – What is so disgraceful about owning a used car now and then?
- Onboarding / Offboarding – Creature from the HR Lagoon. We used to have hiring, training and orientation. Now we need to have an ‘onboarding’ process. Firings, quitting, and retirements are streamlined into ‘offboarding.’
- Nothingburger – Says nothing that ‘nothing’ doesn’t already. I’ll take a quarter-pound of something in mine.
- Let that sink in – One could say shocking, profound, or important. Let that sink in.
- Let me ask you this – Wholly unnecessary statement. Just ask the question already.
- Impactful – A frivolous word groping for something ‘effective’ or ‘influential.’
- Covfefe – An impulsive typo, born into a 140-character universe, somehow missed by the autocorrect feature.
- Drill Down – Instead of expanding on a statement, we ‘drill down on it.’
- Fake News – Once upon a time stories could be empirically disproved. Now ‘fake news’ is any story you disagree with.
- Hot Water Heater – Hot water does not need to be heated. ‘Water heater’ or ‘hot water maker’ will keep us out of hot water.
- Gig Economy – Gigs are for musicians and stand-up comedians. Now expanded to imply a sense of freedom and a lifestyle that rejects tradition in a changing economic culture. Runs a risk of sharecropping.”