I seem to come across it via social media or the newspaper at the end of every year. The Banished Words List is a pop culture mainstay that aims to retire “overworked, redundant, oxymoronic, cliched, illogical, and nonsensical” words and terms. Lake Superior State University compiles the annual list and always has fun with the press release by sprinkling all the banished words into a single paragraph. If they can, why can’t I?…
Wait, What? You’re surprised that I took a deep dive into this year’s list with some of my work pals? No worries, it is the new normal to start Zoom meetings these days with an ice breaker. That being said, the ice breaker kind of manifested itself throughout the rest of the day as we would circle back to the list by cleverly using the banished words in opportune spots. You don’t think that’s unprofessional, do you (asking for a friend)? At least not as unprofessional as still forgetting to tap the Zoom microphone icon before speaking so everyone has to say, “you’re on mute.” Oh well, at least at the end of the day the list generated more lively chatter than depressing chit-chat about the supply chain.
That last paragraph is not a complete embellishment. I did have some lively conversations about the banished words with some of my colleagues. When you specialize in marketing and communications, a list like this can produce a lot of laughs and perhaps a wake up call.
You see, I must admit that I consistently used at least a few of the banished words/terms in 2021. What does that say about me as a communicator? I definitely don’t want to develop a reputation as someone who speaks in an endless stream of clichés.
Then again, who is to say that Lake Superior State University is the main authority on what words should be retired or not? I mean, I they have only been at this for 46 years.
As guilty as I am for using and abusing this year’s banished words, I do have a soft spot for the list. I think it is a great reflection on the cultural vibe of the past year and a fitting time capsule of the English vernacular. At the end of the day, as long as Don’t Blink never makes an appearance on the list I have no worries. Don’t Blink.