Have you ever thought to yourself, “I am so sick of hearing that phrase!”? Sometimes it’s an acronym at work. Other times it’s a pop culture phenomenon. Often it’s a word or phrase that someone from another generation seems to say that makes no sense to you.
Lake Superior State University, is located in Michigan’s upper peninsula, which should really be part of Wisconsin or Canada. Each year they publish a list of the top ten words that people would like to see banished.
That is exactly the kind of hard hitting research you’ll find at a “state school.” I should know, because I went to one. Harvard is busy curing cancer, but Lake Superior State University is spending public money making lists of silly phrases. They are definitely my kind of people.
I’ll give you their list with my comments and I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions in the comments.
1. GOAT: It’s an acronym for Greatest Of All Time. I get it. It makes sense, but this is the dumbest sound word for something good that I’ve ever heard. It’s also the most overused word in the English language. My question is, is there a goat GOAT? For fun, if you want to see some famous goats from movies and television click this LINK.
2. Inflection Point: It’s a fancy way to say ‘turning point’ if you want to sound pretentious and insufferable. Apparently we have reached the inflection point where people have tired of the phrase inflection point.
3. Quiet Quitting: Is there a noisy quitting? Quiet quitting is another way to say that you stopped showing up at a job you hate. It should be called “Lazy Quitting” (patent pending). If we attach a negative word like lazy to it, maybe less people will quiet quit. Nobody wants to be called lazy. In 2023 if I hear someone use the phrase “quiet quitting” I will correct them by saying “Don’t you mean ‘lazy quitting ?” Seriously, how hard is it to email your boss to say you quit?
4. Gaslighting: I actually like the word. It’s an olde timey way of saying you’re getting someone riled up. I do hate how it’s overused and attached to anything someone hears that they don’t like. I also have a funny story about actual gaslighting from my college years at a state school.
5. Moving forward… Ugh, moving forward I could do with hearing less managers use the phrase “moving forward.” Isn’t moving forward scootching your chair closer so you can hear someone better? Now it’s the world’s catch phrase for “in the future…”. What? Is the word future no good anymore?
6. Amazing- Ok Lake Inferior State University, how can you rule out the word “amazing”? Do any of you reading this think that ‘amazing’ is used too much? Look, over the last three years the world has kind of sucked a lot. We could use more amazing in our lives, couldn’t we? Our baseline for life has been lowered so much that any tiny metaphorical ray of sunshine should be considered amazing and we should all grab that tiny straw of hope. You know, if everyone who reads this comments below that The Phil Factor is amazing, I wouldn’t complain at all.
7. Does that make sense? This doesn’t seem like a new phrase, but it’s now used by middle managers everywhere so they can try to seem invested in their employees thoughts and opinions. It’s really a trick. No one wants to say no to the question “does this make sense?” If you’re the only one that says no, you’re immediately the dummy in your Zoom meeting. So, managers the world over get away with time wasting activity because no one will say no.
8. Irregardless: Kudos Pond Scum State College! This isn’t a real word and it means the same thing as “regardless.” I think it’s a millenial word. Aren’t the millenials the root of everything that’s wrong in the world right now?
9. Absolutely: I’ll use it in a sentence: “I think that this state college is absolutely lazy when they throw in these normal words as overused.”
10. It is what it is: Lake Superior State College is what it is. A state college that’s reusing words from their 2008 list. No, I don’t have their lists memorized; they copped to reusing this one. I agree that it’s a dumb phrase expressing nothing but the limited vocabulary of the speaker.
Suggestions from me for next years list:
Millenial: I so hate this word. It’s a lame way to encapsulate an entire generation of people and it’s used in a demeaning way. Regardless of it’s meaning, it’s used as a catch-all for everything wrong with society.
Boomer: Also a dumb way to stereotype. Both millenial and boomer are ways to express an age bias. Like any other stereotyping words, it’s not creative or accurately descriptive.
I’m going to send these two suggestions to Lake Superior State, and if you’d like to take a shot at contributing to their list you can go to: lssu.edu/banishedwords.
If you do send one in, let me know in the comments so I can highlight you in this post next year.
I hope that you’re having a great weekend! ~Phil