What do "fiscal cliff," "spoiler alert" and "YOLO" have in common? They should all be banned! So say the guardians of the English language, whose day jobs are at Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. This group annually takes on the role of word police by collecting a list of words and phrases that we have used so much they have become annoying. The solution? Ban them! Here are 10 of the banned words and phrases on the 2013 list that were winnowed down from hundreds of entries:
1. Fiscal Cliff
This phrase is used so much that some worry we have forgotten it's a metaphor and think of it as a real place. And be equally wary of the "River of Debt" and the "Mountain of Despair."
2. Kick the Can Down the Road
Usually used in politics, this typically means that someone or some group is neglecting its responsibilities. This was seized upon during the current administration and is used as a cliche by all parties.
3. Double Down
This blackjack term is now used as a verb in place of "repeat," "reaffirm" or "reiterate." Yet, it adds nothing. It's not even colorful.
4. Job Creators/Creation
One of the most overplayed buzz terms of the 2012 presidential campaign. Apparently "lowering unemployment" doesn't have the same impact.
As in, "That's my passion!" We think you mean "enthusiasm." "Passion" connotes a feeling that is unbridled and unmediated by reason and sound judgment. Passion is the stuff of Ahab, Hitler, chauvinists of every stripe and terrorists.
An acronym for "You Only Live Once," it is used by wannabe Twitter philosophers and teenagers who think they have found the secret of life. Worst of all, it's an excuse to do really stupid things.
7. Spoiler Alert
What was once a polite warning has turned into a declarative statement: I have just spoiled something for you.
8. Bucket List
This is a morbid and selfish way of listing what you want to do before you die.
A trend is not a verb.
It's food. It's either healthful or it's not, but there is nothing "super" about it.