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'Collusion', 'POTUS' & 'Ghosting' land on annual LSSU banned word list

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

2018 is almost in the books.

If you’re having trouble “wrapping your mind around” 2018 coming to an end, take some comfort. That phrase (as well as “in the books”) is on a list of words and phrases people want to ban.

Every year, Lake Superior State University comes up with a tongue in cheek list of overused and tired expressions and words.  This is the 44th year for the list.  

The nominations come from word-watchers from across the U.S. who target pet peeves from everyday speech, as well as from the news, fields of education, technology, advertising, politics and more.

Probably not surprising. Topping this year’s banned word list is the word “collusion”, though that’s not likely to happen as we wait to see what happens with the special prosecutor’s investigation into the president’s 2016 campaign.

Not all words on the list are actually words.

For example, “OTUS,” which stands for a family of acronyms such as POTUS, FLOTUS and SCOTUS, which are shortened for President, First Lady and Supreme Court of the United States.

After an election called by many called the “most important election of our time” just two years after an election many called the “most important election of our time” it should not come as a surprise many people nominated that phrase to be banned as well.   

Not all the words and phrases on the LSSU banned list are related to politics.

“Platform”, “yeet”, “eschew”, “crusty”, “importantly”, and “accoutrements” made the list.  

It’s like “ghosting” part of the English language.   And yes, ghosting, which means cutting off other people without notice, is also on the banned list.

Some people might have a hard time “grappling” with the ban concept or “litigate” the decisions.

Both "grapple" and "litigate" are also on the list. 

You may want to accuse the list compilers of trying to be “thought leaders,” but that’s not true.   Because “thought leader” is another word or phrase on the list.

Here’s LSSU’s 2019 Banned Word list:

Wheelhouse, as in area of expertise – Chris, Battle Creek, Mich., “It's not in my wheelhouse to explain why dreadful words should be banished!”; Currie, Ottawa, Ontario (Canada), “Irritating, has become a cliché, annoys me, offence to the English language, etc.”; Kevin, Portland, Ore., “It's an awkward word to use in the 21st century. Most people have never seen a wheelhouse.”

In the books . . ., as in finished or concluded – Sandy, White Lake Township, Mich., “It seems everyone's holiday party is in the books this year, and it's all there for friends to view on social media, along with the photos of the happy party attendees.”

Wrap my head around – Linda, Bloomington, Minn., “Impossible to do and makes no sense.”

Platform – Michael, Alameda, Calif., “People use it as an excuse to rant. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter have become platforms. Even athletes call a post-game interview a ‘platform.’ Step down from the platform, already.”

Collusion, as in two or more parties limiting competition by deception - John, Grosse Pointe Park, Mich., “We all need to collude on getting rid of this word.”

OTUS family of acronyms such as POTUS, FLOTUS, SCOTUS – David, Kinross, Mich., “Overused useless word for the President, Supreme Court, First Lady.”

Ghosting – Carrie, Caledonia, Mich., “Somebody doesn't want to talk with you. Get over it. No need to bring the paranormal into the equation.”

Yeet, as in to vigorously throw or toss – Emily, Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., “If I hear one more freshman say "yeet," I might just yeet myself out a window.”

Litigate – Ronald, Fredericton, New Brunswick (Canada), “Originally meant to take a claim or dispute to a law court . . . appropriated by politicians and journalists for any matter of controversy in the public sphere.”

Grapple – David, Traverse City, Mich., “People who struggle with ideas and issues now grapple with them. I prefer to grapple with a wrestler or an overgrown tree. "

Eschew – Mary, Toronto, Ont. (Canada), “Nobody ever actually says this word out loud, they just write it for filler.”

Crusty – Hannah, Campbellsville, Ky., “This has become a popular insult. It's disgusting and sounds weird. Make the madness stop.”

Optics – Bob Tempe, Ariz., “The trendy way to say ‘appearance’.”

Legally drunk – Philip, Auburn, Ind., “You're a little tipsy, that's all. That's legally drunk. People who are ticketed for drunk driving are actually ‘illegally drunk,’ and we should say so.”

Thought Leader – Matt, Superior, Colo., “Thoughts aren’t ranked or scored. How can someone hold a thought-lead, much less even lead by thought?”; Paul, Ann Arbor, Mich., “If you follow a thought leader, you're not much of a thinker.”

Importantly – Constance, Pace, Tex., “Totally unnecessary when ‘important’ is sufficient. ‘More importantly’ (banned in 1992) apparently sounds more important but is also senseless.”

Accoutrements – Leslie, Scottsdale, Ariz., “Hard to spell, not specific, and anachronistic when ‘accessories’ will do.”

Most important election of our time . . . – José, Ozark, Ark., “Not that we haven’t had six or seven back-to-back most important elections of our time.”

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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