Archives: Banished Words 1982
Malcolm Baldrige - U.S. Secretary of Commerce, has speeded the nation's commerce with Washington by fearless banishment from the Department of such phrases as "to liaison with," "to task out," "and that's what it's all about," more than two "alternatives" and "in terms of;" - These nominations by the secretary as the worst of a much longer list have all been accepted by the Unicorn Hunters for 1982 banishment. and ordered his word processors (typewriters with pseudo brains) programmed to refuse to print them. For this and other heroic deeds he is dubbed the first Knight Sans Pareil of the Unicorn Quest (with sword): Sir Malcolm of Potomac.
First Time Ever/All-Time Record - These two phrases were born on the sports pages, moved to page one, and were indecently exposed on the hallowed editorial pages. It is only a matter of time before they are united into a single monster of redundancy and inaccuracy. - Nominated by John Matheson of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. with the comment, "If a record stands for all-time, OK. But if it is broken tomorrow, or the day after, or the next year, or 1988, then the all-time doesn't stand the test of time."
Classic - Every new tournament "in any sport is automatically labeled a 'classic' by its promoters." -Cynthia Pappas.- "The initial game between two lackluster teams is advertised as the 'First Annual Boredom Classic' : - Cynthia Pappas, Caldwell, N.J.
World Class - Which has come to mean everything . . . and nothing; from "salmon dish" (Detroit News Sunday Magazine) to "swindler" (Washington Post).
Patriate and Patriation - "Coined by Canadian Federal politicians after they discovered that 'repatriation' meant being returned to one's native land, and unfortunately didn't apply to our own constitution." - The Sault (Ontario) Star in announcing the winners of their word banishment elimination nominations. Nominator Susan Metzger added: "Everyone is sick of the word." The Canadian government has asked the British Parliament to "patriate" a constitution for Canada, a document our neighbors to the north do not have, at the moment.
Words to Deceive
Off-Sourcing - For "importing." - "If I buy an imported car I am a traitor. If Ford or Gm buy parts in Haiti or Bangladesh, the ae 'off-sourcing.'" - Donald Smith, Detroit.
Repository - Can mean "dump." "Repository" it its use as an euphemism for "dump." Dan Bammes, KRSP Radio, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Revenue Enhancement - Simply means "increasing taxes." - Nominated by Joseph F. Powers, Jr., Whitmore Lake, Mich.
Retarded/Terminal Illness - As being dangerously misleading and over emphatic statements. RETARD means "to gradually make smaller. I know that my daughter's brain will not get smaller. I also know that with proper stimulation she will be able to learn and to understand much more than we believe possible. Give the mentally handicapped a little help by banishing a very old word which we no longer apply in today's society. - Christa Buchan of Regina, Sack. Canada. TERMINAL ILLNESS is not "terminal" until the point of death. "Because of a serious illness - the active phrase of which is usually fatal - I am now living with a 'chronic illness.' It is being successfully treated but cannot be cured." - "A friend, as I was recovering, encouraged me to look at words as the symbols they are. He pointed out that until the point of death a disease isn't terminal but only life threatening. I have found this picture easier to live with. Many people with serious illnesses might help themselves a lot if they could only appreciate how words can affect them." - E. Delores Dickey, Thunder Bay, Ont.
Sit On It - Teenager Dan Latimore says this is "one of the most stupid phrases in the English language." Dozens of our nominators agreed. So do we. - His teacher, Janice Miller of New London (Conn.) Senior High School, encouraged her class to submit nominations, as did teachers in many other schools. Almost all such nominations were excellent.
Harya Doone - "Is this," asks Bob Crawford of New York City, "Lorna Doone's brother?" He ranks it with "gonna." So say we all!
Hot Water Heater - "Since when does hot water need to be heated?" - Nominated by anonymous listener to Rob Westaby, WOWO Radio, Fort Wayne, Indiana.
One-Year Probation Banishment
Appall and Obviously - Michele Mooney - of Los Angeles. Book Editor art Seidenbaum noted on one of the pages, "Appalling, indeed." Collection assembled over seven months. - stapled to her letter of nomination more than eight pages of sentences and paragraphs which she had clipped from newspapers (mostly, Los Angeles Times) which included "obviously," 205 times and "appalling," 132. She complains that this "shows a total lack of imagination on the part of the writers." As you may deduce, we, too, are distressed.
Alexander Haig - U.S. Secretary of State, because of his misuse and abuse of the English Language over an extended period (even longer, when listening), his convoluted syntax, and his apparent use of confusing English to avoid answering questions he wishes unanswered, is herewith Forbidden the Use of English (oral and written) and required to communicate in classical Latin for six months probation. - Some of his favorite phrases: counterproductive (they aren't doing what I want them to do), value judgment (I don't agree), maturation (getting old), and: I think the issue is that we do have a tendency to indulge in episodic preoccupation, if you will, with one another on the strategic horizon. (??!!)