Grandma's Tales

January 4, 2007

Banish, better still, outsource these words and phrases!

Filed under: Language — Geeta Padmanabhan @ 9:48 pm

Michigan’s Lake Superior State University has been doing it for 32 years. At the end of the year, they ask readers/word watchers to suggest words that have been misued, over-used and have generally become useless. They then compile words and phrases that have outlived their purpose or grate your nerves and say, ” Off with their heads” or “Put them in the dungeon!” or some such thing. This year the nominations totalled 4500. Here are some. Are you familiar with them? Find within brackets the reason given by the contributor.
[1] Brangelina, Tomkat – “they are so annoying, idiotic and so lame and pathetic that they are lamethetic.”
[2] Breaking News – “once breaking news stopped presses, but now it’s an intestinal condition brought about by eating dinner during newscasts.”
[3] Embedded journalist – “I am a journalist and until the Iraq war started, I’d never heard this term. In the interest of objectivity, journalists probably shouldn’t be embedded with any organisation they regularly cover.”
[4] Smoking gun – “Let’s give a 21-gun salute to this over-used analogy.”
Others include gone/went missing, armed robbery, ask your doctor, search, healthy food, undocumented alien.

My list would certainly have “welcome to one and all”, “in this day and age”, showcase” and increasingly, “keep in touch”.
Are there words/phrases you would like to squash underfoot because you get to hear them so often, sometimes without relevance?
See you later!


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