I am a huge fan of the Lake Superior State University Banished Words list. It is an annual survey of overused words and perusing past lists gives some insight into the pop culture of the time. Things like this really scratch that BA in English itch I get sometimes!
On New Years Day ever since 1976, Lake Superior State University in Michigan has published its "List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness". During the year people from around the world submit their nominations to the University. At the end of the year the University compiles the list based on the total number of nominations for each word.
Last year's list included such greats as "BFF", "viral", and "Wow Factor"--none of which I have a problem banishing. However, this year's list had some of my favorites.
Number 1 on the list is "amazing". Apparently overused by network TV and reality shows, people felt that amazing no longer referred to anything truly amazing. Amazingly, this word received more than 1,500 nominations. Now, how am I supposed to comment on the room transformations that are posted by my fellow stagers if I can't use that word? How can you describe a 180-degree ocean view in your MLS listing if you can't use "amazing"?
And as disappointing as it was to find "amazing" on the list, number 11 was "ginormous". When I first heard this word I thought it was totally bizarre--sort of like "upsizing". But now it is my favorite word to describe 9-foot long sofas in 12-foot living rooms and 60" flatscreens in 700 square foot condos. Apparently those submitting "ginormous" felt that large and big were adequate. Apparently they don't stage for a living.
Coming in at number 6 is "man cave". While not a particular favorite of mine it does aptly describe certain rooms I have seen in my staging and design career. "Man cave" conjures up an image just in uttering these two simple words. Please tell me who is going to come up with a good replacement for this phrase since "room that guys like to hang out in, drink beer, watch football, and no woman wants to willingly enter" is too long for me to say? If you Google "man cave" it returns 16,800,000 listings. Maybe it is a bit overused . . . .
The full list is as follows:
- Baby Bump
- Shared Sacrifice
- Man Cave
- The New Normal
- Pet Parent
- Win the Future
- Thank you in Advance
I guess it is time to consult my Thesaurus . . .