St. Petersburg Times
Special report
Video report
  • For their own good
    Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
  • More video reports
Multimedia report
Print Email this storyEmail story Comment Letter to the editor
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Your name Your email
Friend's name Friend's email
Your message
 

They're not bad words, but we've heard enough

Associated Press
Published January 1, 2008


ADVERTISEMENT

DETROIT - Resist the urge to say you will "wordsmith" your list of New Year's resolutions rather than write one. And don't utter, "It is what it is" when you fail to meet your first goal.

Those are two of the 19 words or phrases that appear in Lake Superior State University's annual List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness. The school in Michigan's Upper Peninsula released its 33rd list Monday, selecting from about 2,000 nominations.

Among this year's picks are "surge," the term for the troop buildup in Iraq. "Give me the old days, when it referenced storms and electrical power," Michael Raczko of Swanton, Ohio, said in nominating the word.

The list also included "waterboarding," "perfect storm," "under the bus" and "organic." Also: "It is what it is," which Jeffrey Skrenes of St. Paul, Minn., said "accomplishes the dual feat of adding nothing to the conversation while also being phonetically and thematically redundant."

Sadly for linguistically fastidious, the lighthearted list isn't binding, as evidenced by the continued use of past banned words and phrases such as "erectile dysfunction," "i-anything" and "awesome."

Still, university spokesman Tom Pink, part of a committee that evaluates submissions, takes his syntactic success where he can find it.

His office once received a letter from an Arizona Supreme Court justice who said he posted that year's list on a bulletin board and prohibited all attorneys from using those words.

Lake Superior State University's 2008 list of banished words or phrases:

- perfect storm

- Webinar

- waterboarding

- organic

- wordsmith/wordsmithing

- author/authored

- post 9/11

- surge

- give back

- 'blank' is the new 'blank'

- Black Friday

- back in the day

- random

- sweet

- decimate

- emotional

- pop

- It is what it is

- under the bus


[Last modified December 31, 2007, 22:11:21]


Share your thoughts on this story

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Subscribe to the Times
Click here for daily delivery
of the St. Petersburg Times.

Email Newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT