We all have them: words & phrases that make us wince or groan whenever we hear them. Mine include “snuck,” “anyways,” & “on a daily (hourly, weekly, whatever) basis.” Isn’t it almost a bonding experience when you discover someone shares your bias?
Enter the Banished Words List. The 2017 list, released on New Year’s Day, includes these words along with comments by the committee that selected them from thousands of nominations:
- “Get your dandruff up”–The Committee is not sure why this malapropism got nominators’ dander up in 2016.
- Frankenfruit–another food group co-opted by “frankenfood.” Not to be confused with other forms of genetically modified language.
- Dadbod–The flabby opposite of a chiseled body male ideal. Should not empower dads to pursue a sedentary lifestyle.
- 831–A texting encryption of I love you: 8 letters, 3 words, 1 meaning. Never encrypt or abbreviate one’s love.
I can’t say I’ve heard of any of these words, but the list is enlightening.
The Banished Words List began as a publicity gimmick on New Year’s Day 1976. The late W. T. “Bill” Rabe, then publicity director for Lake Superior State University in Michigan, thought the list would help put the little-known school on the map. New Year’s Day made sense as a time to reflect on the past year. Besides it was typically a slow news day.
Of course banishing words is an exercise in futility. Take a look at lists for bygone years, e.g., 2010, which included
- friend, as a verb
So what words would you like to add to the Banished Words List? Leave a comment.
Photo source: Weird Tales magazine, September 1941. Photo is adapted from an ad for a Listerine dandruff treatment.