Archives: Banished Words 2000
Millennium - and the variations: 'the next millennium,' 'the new millennium,' 'into the next millennium,' 'millennium bug.' "It is the convenient topic for every graduation speech, every excuse to renew or to do anything," said Lois Linnert of New York, NY. "It's been attached to every promotion, ad, event that you can think of," said Dave of Duluth, Minn.Kevin Chu of Cupertino, Calif. said it goes hand-in-hand with the hype of Y2K, and Elaine Gosling of London, England, said, "If I wanted to be really grumpy I could point out that the millennium is not a moment which occurs at the end of the year, but a full thousand years!"
24/7 - 24/7 is designed to make stressed people feel even more stressed. Although it sounds somewhat biblical, 24/7 refers instead to consumer demand for full service, 24 hours a day, seven days a week - something only a newborn should be allowed to request, said Kate Rabe Forgach of Sausalito, Calif. It seems to be in keeping with the iconification of our language, in which we exaggerate our achievements and abbreviate our terms. - David Tranter of Thunder Bay, Ont. Yeck! - Kari Jastorff of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
Know What I'm Sayin'? (and variations, You know what I mean? and You see what Im sayin?) -This phrase is repeated like a nervous tic by some people even after the most simple or obvious statement, said Joe Szymanski of Baltimore, MD. Its likely I dont (know what theyre sayin). -Len Nelson of Green Bay, Wisc.
Thinking Outside The Box - Another overused phrase that unimaginative people use when they want to sound creative. - Kevin Dunseath of Calgary, Alb.
E-Anything - Once it was the second vowel of the alphabet, now its the base of the language of technology...Maybe e-commerce is the future, but e-tailers, e-trade and e-communication are all E-grad cliches, said Allison Woodworth of E. Lansing, Mich. If e stands for electronic, what the heck is electronic-tailing? Sounds like something a 90s Columbo would do, - Kevin Dunseath, Calgary, Alb. Why not e-mediately for an online news site? - Kate Rabe Forgach, Sausalito, Calif. E-nough is e-nough! - Emma Sams, Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
Cybarian -Another symptom of our electronic age. Proud librarian Cindy Dobrez of Grand Haven, Mich., said she cant understand why librarians need to rename themselves every time a new information resource becomes available. Add a few filmstrip kits to a library and all of a sudden you must be a media specialist. Now, with the Internet, some feel the need to be called cybarians. Librarians help people find and use information in whatever format it is delivered.
It's All Good -Similar to win-win, banished in 1993. Apparently applicable to almost any situation and meant to fill the same niche for American youth as no worries does for Australians. If I hear my employees use it, they will be fired. - Zachariah Love, Hollywood, Calif. If the speaker is talking about a huge chocolate dessert buffet, then it is all good. - Cathy Cruz, from Wilf Smyths class in Stratford Central Secondary School, Stratford, Ont.
Road Rage - Nominated by David Newman of WJR-AM, Detroit, and Carrie Zollner, of Rochester, Mich., who said, Its an over-used excuse for driving like a maniac.
Segue -Originally a musical term, now used in everyday speech. Its just pompous and pretentious, said Ken Scholz of Naperville, Ill. Everyone is using it, even when inappropriate: Excuse me while I segue into another topic. - Karen of Ballwin, Missouri. If I hear one more person on TV say this, I will throw up. - Joanne Smith, Lincoln, Nebraska.
First Annual - Escaped banishment with first time ever in 1982. One might hope his event becomes an annual occurrence, but until the second year, it isnt annual! Use inaugural, premiere, debut, or first. - Amy Carter, Indianapolis, Ind.
Issues - Everyone seems to have a bad case of issues this year, along with influenza. Its a strange way of saying that something is bothering someone. If people could no longer say it, they would be forced to articulate just what it is that is bothering them. - Leonard L. Schakel, Lakeland, Minn. Why must we all have issues to deal with? Its vague, undefined and typically used in the wrong context. - Rhonda Kitter, Anchorage, Alaska.
Quality Of Life - As in, This is a quality of life issue! This political platform or non-platform is making its way into candidacies from municipal courts to the presidency, said Ron Statler of Fresno, Calif.
For The Children - Overused by politicians, said John Dunlap of Westland, Mich. We must cut spending, or raise taxes, or limit any behavior, or pass any law, or go to the moon, or ban guns....for the children.
At Risk - Were all at risk of being offended by this overused, misused phrase. It apparently means high risk without specifying the degree or nature of the risk, said Calvin Baker of Elmira, Mich. Everyone is at risk of something.
Sea Change - It is used to mean a dramatic change or a groundswell of support. According to Websters, it is an archaic term that really means a change brought about by the sea.
Wake-Up Call - Not limited to late-sleepers in hotels, anymore, wake-up call is used to mean a warning, as in, This incident sends a wake-up call to Americans who havent been paying attention to quality-of-life issues for the at-risk children. Both sea change and wake-up call were nominated by many folks, including listeners of David Newmans radio show on WJR in Detroit.
From The World Of Sports
Came To Play - When referring to sports teams or team members doing well, as in The Wings came to play. What else would they be doing? - Ron Elliott, Leamington, Ont.
Flat-Out - When used as an adverb. Its overused by sports analysts, i.e. He can flat-out play/run/throw. - Russell Bowlus, Davis, Calif.
Verbing Of Innocent Nouns
To Action - When we were delegating projects at a marketing meeting, I was asked if I could action a particular item on the list, meaning, could I take care of it? I think the problem started when action items became a popular way of describing high priority tasks. - Deborah Guyer, Cranford, NJ.
To Transition - It started in business and, much like down-sizing, its often used to hide an ugly fact, said Julio Vega of San Jose, Calif. For example, Unit H is transitioning away from the company, means the department is being closed. Whats wrong with make a transition? asks Celia Smith of Atlanta, Georgia.
To Solution - Another from the business world. Maybe the e-business world. Pam Derringer of Marblehead, Mass., said software companies are guilty of starting it. Pete Eckholm of Rochester, Minn. said, In todays business world, everyone is solutioning a problem rather than solving it.
To Summit - Widely used when talking about adventurers climbing to the top of a mountain, i.e. The party hopes to summit Mt. Everest tomorrow. - sent via e-mail from P. Haddox.
Regional note: We heard from several Australians who complained about their countrymens mis-use of nouns. Rita Cavanagh of Orbost, Victoria, talked about hearing of legal cases being trialed instead of tried and Cathy Bedggood of Melbourne, Victoria said the local football code notes that injured athletes are to be stretchered off the field.