Words can be overused and have an expiration date. New words are constantly added to the dictionary or common usage, both formally and informally. Sometimes, these words wear out their welcome, and the 2013 banned words list includes several words that were popular over the last year.
“YOLO” or “Trending” have been rolling off tongues, thanks to celebrity and popularity, and 2012 was a political year, so there was plenty of talk about a “Fiscal cliff” or how someone, or some party, decided to “kick the can down the road.” Now, the wordsmiths at Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., have said enough when it comes to these words and phrases and has added them to its 2013 banned words list.
The 2013 banned words is the 38th annual List of Words to be Banished from the Queen's English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness according to Lake Superior State University, the first such list was released in 1975. Many of the words on the 2013 list have been used so much as to remove them from their original context or have been so overused that their meaning is lost.
The 2013 banned words list includes political phrases “Fiscal Cliff” and “Kick the Can Down the Road” and, of late, are phrases that many cannot escape, be it on television or in normal everyday conversation. Randal Baker, from Seabeck, Washington submitted Fiscal Cliff as a banned word for 2013 saying, “Continually referred to as 'the so-called fiscal cliff,' followed by a definition. How many times do we need to hear 'fiscal cliff,' let alone its definition? Please let this phrase fall off of a real cliff!”
“Kick the can down the road” is another phrase used in politics that has irritated many due to its overuse. Mike Cloran's, from Cincinnati, Ohio, reason for adding the phrase to the 2013 list was, “Usually used in politics, this typically means that someone or some group is neglecting its responsibilities. This was seized upon during the current administration and is used as a cliché by all parties...Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Libertarians, Tories, Whigs, Socialists, Communists, Fashionistas…”
The 2013 banned words list also has plenty of words and phrases that have become catchphrases that add little to any conversation. The Lake Superior State University list includes “Double Down,” a poker term that is used to state a strong agreement, “Job Creators” and “Creation” as well as “Passion” and “Passionate.” Double Down is a boring cliché that does not add much to the argument while Job Creators is a buzz word that shifts the focus away from the issue of employment and has drawn the ire of many who believe Job Creators are rich CEO's who, contrary to the term, eliminate jobs.
Passion, and its various uses, is an easy word to overuse and has been to applied to almost everything and anything possible when other words could have been used.
Other words on the banned list include “Spoiler Alert,” increasingly common in the social media world, with popular television shows airing on delay in different parts of the country, “Trending,” again due to the perceived importance of the Internet, and “Guru,” a title given to almost anyone with a pulse and some leadership qualities. Did you create a “Bucket List” for the Mayan apocalypse? That's good because Bucket List has been banned for 2013.
With all the talk of health it's surprising that a phrase such as “soda ban” did not make the list but some food-related phrases did. “Super Food” is on the 2013 banned words list because other labels, such as healthy, are already used and are more accurate. “Boneless Wings” are not that and should be called something more appropriate although that will not likely happen any time soon.
Last but not least, Lake Superior State University is trying to do the impossible; stop the “YOLO” train. The phrase, invented by Drake, stands for “You Only Live Once.” Yet, it looks like “YOLO's" reign will continue in 2013 until a new phrase dominates the American consciousness.