9:53 AM PST, January 3, 2022
The phrases, “wait, what?” “no worries” or “at the end of the day,” are among those that made 2022’s banished words list, according to a Michigan university’s annual compendium.
The other banned phrases were, “that being said,” “asking for a friend,” “circle back,” “deep dive,” “new normal,” “you’re on mute” and “supply chain,” which were derived from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The banished word list is announced each year on Dec. 31 by the Lake Superior State University (LSSU). It dates back to 1976, as a way to “uphold, protect, and support excellence in language by encouraging avoidance of words and terms that are overworked, redundant, oxymoronic, clichéd, illogical, nonsensical—and otherwise ineffective, baffling, or irritating,” according to the press release.
The number one offender, “wait, what?” are two four-letter words, “that should not go together, under any circumstances, because the two-part halting interrogative is disingenuous, divergent, deflective, and other damning words that begin with the letter d,” according to the nominators and judges from the LSSU English Department.
“Most people speak through informal discourse. Most people shouldn’t misspeak through informal discourse. That’s the distinction nominators far and wide made, and our judges agreed with them,” said Peter Szatmary, executive director of marketing and communications at LSSU.
That familiar phrase “no worries” came in second, mostly for its misuse and overuse. Nominators said the words appeared dismissive and insensitive.
One contributor wrote: “If I’m not worried, I don’t want anyone telling me not to worry. If I am upset, I want to discuss being upset.”
The university’s executive marketing and communications director added that “seven of the 10 words and terms that LSSU banished last year reflected real-world concerns about COVID-19, while three could be categorized as quotidian.”
“This year, as the global pandemic persists along with adaptations to it, the inverse occurred. Seven of the 10 words and terms to be banished are more conversational-based, with the other three applying to the coronavirus,” Szatmary said.
He added: “One possible takeaway from all this about the act and art and science of disclosing something is the more things change, the more things stay the same. At the very least, it’s complicated.”
The mastermind behind the list was W.T. (Bill) Rabe, the university’s public relations director, who intended it to “safeguard against misuse, overuse, and uselessness of the English language,” and was also a clever publicity stunt.
In fact, the Banished Words List has become such a cultural phenomenon that comedian George Carlin submitted an entry that made the annals in 1994 for the two words: “baddaboom,” and “baddabing.”
Other popular words that have made the banished list over the years include: ”amazing,” “détente,” “surely,” “epic,” “classic,” “bromance,” “Ok, Boomer” and “COVID-19,”
The university said this year’s nominations came from major U.S. cities and many U.S. states, as well as Norway, Belgium, England, Scotland, Australia and numerous provinces in Canada.
LSSU is preparing for their word banishment for 2023. The deadline to turn in your entry is 8 a.m. on Nov. 30, 2022. The results will be announced on Dec. 31, 2022.