Redefining the Classroom

Archives: Banished Words 1981

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Campaign Rhetoric - A misleading expression used by politicians to play down the fact that they were lying. - e.g., Detroit's Mayor Coleman Young: "When I called him 'pruneface' that was campaign rhetoric. In the future I'll call him ' President Pruneface.'"

Serves No Useful Purpose - Vague and cover. The speaker actually means, "I don't know exactly why it is that I don't want to do it, but whatever you say I'm not going to do it."

Moral Majority - "I'm not sure how moral they are, but I'm convinced they are not a majority." - Micheal R. Moloney in Lexington, Ky. radio interview. He is believed to be a Southern Democrat of the Anti-Happy Chandler scion.

Past History- (Redundancy Red Alert). There was some debate that science-fiction writers might be allowed to use "future history" in conjunction with "past history." - Louise Knack, Sharon, Wisconsin, nominator.

Exact Same - Which is not to be confused with "Same difference," generally used in satirical vein. - Kathleen S. Painter, Fort Collins, Colorado, nominator.

Fruitworthy - Does this refer to third rate entertainers worthy of being pelted with ripe fruit? The word appears to have been coined by Chicago's Mayor Jane Byrne who hoped on radio that "the investigation will prove fruitworthy." - Chicago Tribune, December 1, 1980 - However, the chicago Tribune (January 4, 1981 editorial: A Fruitworthy Discourse) maintains that this is a good word. "More generally, the quality of fruitworthiness is a mixture of accomplishment and rightness of purpose. And in this sense, Mayor Byrne's use of 'fruitworthy' was 'fruitworthy' indeed . . . In a city where the late Mayor Richard J. Daley praised the labyrinthine O'Hare Airport as the 'crosswords' of the nation and said he resented the 'innuendos' of his critics, she upholds a grand tradition as well."

Funeralized - as in a Detroit Free Press death notice.- James Sandry, Farmington Hills, Michigan, nominator.

Our Craft, Paid My Dues, & Surviving - Used endlessly by entertainers in talk-show interviews. The latter phrase should be restricted to overcoming drowning, earthquakes, wars and such incidents as the French Revolution. ("J'si survecu.") An amendment to banish talk shows as the hotbeds of mis- mal- and over-use they are, was soundly defeated 18 to 17

For Sure - in place of "yes." - Dick Longworthy, Chicago, nominator, who said, "Can one imagine Molly, in the final titanic lines of 'Ulysses," crying, 'For sure! For sure!'?"

De-plane - as one of many airport and airplane public address words with which passengers have expressed discontent. Perhaps the heart of the matter is not words per se, but constant repetition of the news that "if your plane falls into the sea your seat cushion will float even if you don't." - Charlotte Kratt, Birmingham, Alabama, nominator

Share & Adult - (Limited banishments: good words gone wrong and forbidden certain classes of speakers) Preachers and after dinner speakers may not use "share" - Robert Sears, Roanoke, Virginia, nominator. May be used rebread crusts or on Wall St. which actually means "shut up and listen to this boring thing I'm going to tell you." "Adult" - Observed nominator Katharine E. Miller of Ventura, California: "We wait more than 20 years to become one only to find that it now means 'obscene.' An adult bookstore should sell Jane Austen and John Galsworthy, not pornography."