Posted by: bkivey | 8 January 2012

Banned Words For 2012

Lake Superior State University released their annual list of banned words for 2012  a few weeks ago, so I thought I’d take a look at them.

Amazing – Apparently this word was nominated due to its overuse on TV. About the only thing I watch on TV are sports, so I can’t speak to this. The rampant misuse of this word does seem to bother a lot of people, though.

Baby Bump – I have seen this term used a lot. particularly on celebrity gossip sites. The best description of the annoyance factor comes from Afton, of Portland, Oregon, who says that the term reduces pregnancy to ” a celebrity accessory.” Hear, hear.

Shared Sacrifice – I don’t find this term as bothersome as some do, although I’ve noticed that most people use it to describe sacrifice by everyone but them, or their chosen victim group.

Occupy – Yes. This exercise in spoiled child public temper tantrums and unrestrained nihilism has ruined a perfectly good word. Gil Scott-Heron may not have believed that the revolution would be televised, but the Occupation was, and not to the benefit of the Occupiers.

Blowback – I’m surprised this word didn’t make the list years ago. I think the word has some utility, but not the way most people use it. ‘Blowback’ isn’t synonymous with ‘reaction’, but that’s how most people use it. The word is better used describing virulent reaction.

Man Cave – Another word that should have made the list long ago. Originally a cutesy way of describing a den, this term long ago passed triteness and is now lodged firmly as cliche’.

The New Normal – A condescending way of saying ‘the present’, usually as a reflection of declining standards. Favored by the mediocre everywhere.

Pet Parent – I’d never heard this term. I can only imagine that it’s favored by the liberally open-minded who don’t want to ‘oppress’ their pets by calling themselves ‘owners’. Not only is this term physically impossible, it devalues those who actually are parents. Get over yourselves, people.

Win The Future – I’d have thought this cliche’ was beneath notice by now, as I’ve heard it in some form from politicians my entire life. When I hear this phrase, I think of Gerald Ford’s WIN (Whip Inflation Now) initiative. He didn’t.

Trickeration – I actually like this word. Commentators on the LSSU page note that this is en vogue with football announcers. I recently heard ‘athletification’ during a football broadcast. These words don’t really mean anything, and they can sound forced or downright ridiculous, but they are fun, and that’s what sports are supposed to be.

Ginormous – I’ve heard (and used) this word for at least 30 years, so I don’t see what the big deal is now. Used very, very sparingly, it can have impact. Unless it’s used with some frequency, I don’t particularly agree that it has a place on this list.

Thank You In Advance – This expression, on the other hand, could be the sole entry on the list. It is probably the single most annoying convention I’ve seen in many a year. I consider anyone who uses it to be an ignorant jackass. The impression is that the user wants to make the reader feel guilty if they don’t perform the desired action. My policy is not to do whatever it is I’m being ‘Thanked in advance’ for. I’m waiting for the person who asks me to do something and then says ‘Thanks in advance’. I might make the 11 o’clock news. Yes, this one really bothers me.


Install – When used as a noun. I know that the usage is well-established, but that doesn’t make it any less annoying.

Reveal – The noun form. See above.



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