Banished Words List–What Would You Add?

Photo source: Weird Tales
Get your dandruff up?

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

  • app
  • sexting
  • tweet
  • 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.


9 thoughts on “Banished Words List–What Would You Add?

  1. The thing that most annoys me these days is how, when someone is asked a question, he or she is most likely (and usually inappropriately) to begin the response with “So. . . ” As in, “How was your Christmas vacation, Jane?” “So, I went to visit my family, and. . . .” Drives me UP A TREE!!! And it happens even on national TV. I heard it on 60 Minutes a week or so ago, from someone responding to an interviewer’s question. And someone who should certainly have known better. I hear it on “Chopped” ALL the time! “What have you prepared for us today, Clancy?” “So, I have for you a blanched hog’s snout in a lima bean puree with . . . .” Aaarrrggghhh! (I guess maybe my reaction is a bit over the top, but still . . .

    And I guess I haven’t subscribed, because, true to your word, Leanna, I did not get word of publication of this week’s blog. Which might have been better for my blood pressure, but I don’t want to miss another issue, so I’m going to go subscribe right now. [Notice that I used “so” correctly here! World, take note!]

  2. I dislike beginning responses, which I see and hear often, that begin with: “i mean uhh, I was like…”
    Stand by, Leanna, had a nightmare this morning that woke me and my dog with a sweaty start. It triggered my muse! I had lost her two years ago!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *