Redefining the Classroom

Archives: Banished Words 1980

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The Word Scourge of the '70's

Yuh Know, twice banished, in a dead heat with Have A Nice Day, a banality done to death and used instead of sincere words with real meaning. Several Editorials and letters castigated the Unicorn Hunters "for banishing this nice phrase" and urged reconsideration. The Unicorn Hunters announced a recall referendum an "Have A Nice Day" lost, ten to one.

Ball Park Figure - (indicating an estimate). A disservice to the great sport which is accurately documented by statistics, ad nauseam. - Prof. Allen D. Bushong, U. of S. Carolina.

Time Frame - Replaced "point in time" as a pretentious redundancy. Used by Rep Candidate George Bush "... in the time frame of the next 20 years" and the Shah of Iran's spokesman, "We have no time frame for his departure." Why not, "We don't know when he'll leave"?

Howard Cosell, En Masse - Banished to Neebish Island and its Great Grey Owls. Limited to 14 staff writers and dictionaries and Fowler's "English Usage" for reading. - Ed Werstein, Milwaukee, Wis. It is estimated that this banishment will eliminate 33% of the language crisis on continental U.S.A. alone.

Note: Following Dissatisfaction expressed with the site of banishment by residents of Neebish Island, banishment changed to Zug Island in the Detroit River.

Reading Aloud - by TV announcers of printed words displayed on the screen.

Do-able - Massachusetts Gov. Edward King's statement, "a 0 million rollback we think is do-able." - Fred Bauer, Marblehead, Mass.

In The Public Interest - Employed by groups which often include only a few members representing interests no broader than their own, but who announce a position claiming "the public" shares their views. - Geoffrey E., Phoenix, Arizona.

It's The Pits - Isn't necessarily that bad. - Gregory J. Pittz, Belmont, Wis.

Surely - if we can send a man to the moon we can... - Monte Hummell, Innis College, University of Toronto.

Limited Banishments

Interface - Used by anyone other than seamstresses, geometricians, or computer operators. - Peggy Elder, New Mexico State University, who writes: "This is a noun; a plane surface forming the common boundary of two bodies or spaces. It may fit into the world of the computer, but to shift its meaning to human beings is an obscenity. If we can't relate with each other we might as well retreat to the forest and let computers have their way."

Podium - Where one means "lectern." One stands behind a lectern which rests on a podium. - Bernard S. Katz, Washington, D.C.

Chill Out - Used to and/or by children; nominated by many students from P.S. No. 109, N.Y.C. and Monica Swift of P.S. 20Q, Jamaica, N.Y., along with "you are fat," "you stink." "you're ugly," "shut up," "hand up your clothes," "clean up your room," and "go to bed."

Come Down On - Meaning "this is our position;" forbidden to educational administrations and bureaucrats, as in "institutionally, we come down on the liberal side." It implies that the policy was arrived at lightly, as in tossing a coin.

No Problem - Forbidden to policy makers and supervisors. - Leland D. Ester, Lawrence University, Appleton, Wis. who observes: "Whenever I raise a question about something that is not going well and someone tells me 'no problem' there is almost invariably a problem."

Pre-Board - Used by airport announcers. - Andrew Dantschisch, St. Petersburg, Fla. How can one board an airplane before one has boarded it?

A Quarantine

Tasker - A memo or document instructing someone to carry out a task. - Dr. Robert C. Larson, U.S. Forces Liaison Officer, Baden-Wuertemberg, who is fearful that this word now commonly infesting U.S.A. military in Germany will spread to the continental U.S.A. in epidemic proportions. He recommends a one-year word quarantine. Done!


The Athens Of The... - Referring to a town in a specific area, as in "Madison is the Athens of the Midwest." - John N. Koch, Madison, Wis. writes: "I suspect that residents of many cities large enough to support high school marching bands have been told theirs is 'The Athens' of their region, but never on what authority. Let's place a moratorium on the expression until Athens proudly proclaims itself 'The Chicago of Greece,'" Done!