Redefining the Classroom

Archives: Banished Words 1983

Download a Printable Poster of 1983 Banished Words

Reganomics - Received more nominations than any other word, reflecting, perhaps, dissatisfaction with the results rather than the actual word. Some pointed out that the President never used the term. Michael R. Moloney, Lexington, Ky,: "It wasn't invented by the president, he doesn't know what it is, nobody understands it, and it isn't working." Daniel L. Bammes, Salt Lake City, Utah: "Nobody at home or abroad knows what it is."

Lah-de-dah Banishments - for the over-application of words with otherwise limited meanings:

State Of The Art - which is applied to everything from plastic garbage to the Mona Lisa. Denny MacGougan, Tacoma, Wash., points out "latest design" or "modern" would suffice.

Conceptualize and Conceptualization- Advertising agency, business conference, and bureaucratic jargon for "think up" or "idea," as in "Is this match book cover you conceptualization?" or "Lets conceptualize a new model," as overheard at the London Chop House (Detroit) bar most afternoons. Nominator Joan Nevala, Austin, Tex.

Professional overuse

And How Are We Today? - Chirped by nurses in blinding white uniforms. Kay Psyk, DeSoto, Wis., points out that "this phrase is not in general used by younger members of the profession."

Senseless Prose

Out There - As in "There are thousands of people out there." Roy Sutton, Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., asks: "Out where?"

But You Shouldn't Feel That Way! - Gerry Walsh, Ormond Beach, Fla.: "This is such a senseless statement. It solves nothing, especially for its victim, who was vulnerable enough to open up his innermost thoughts and feelings. How devastating to have our entrusted emotions minimized as trivial!"

Language - Banished to union contract negotiators for six months. G. Howard Gillelan, Royal Oak, Md.: "often used when 'wording' is meant." Acceptable, however, if the contract is written partially in Latin or Polish.

Student class nominations - In recent years, Unicorn Banish Headquarters has received packets of nominations from teachers who forward class assignment banishment essays by students - elementary, high school, and college.

All Songs - With monetary references of less than $5. Such small change is meaningless during present state of inflation. "Pennies from Heaven," for example, is excluded, but "I Found a Million Dollar Baby in a Five and Ten cents Store" is allowed if cents is changed to "dollars" which is also more realistic. Everett Hoffman, New York City, Nominator.

Solidarity - One year probation. Popularized by the Polish Workers, movement of the same name, "solidarity" is good old American Labor Movement, as in the song, "Solidarity Forever," quite often sung at contemporary labor rallies. Dan DeBono of Wayne State University and Mt. Clemens, MI.: "It had been overused since the polish crisis, and should be forbidden members of athletes' labor unions."

Bummage - According to Brenda Gorges of New London (Wisconsin) Senior High School: "You can't even figure out what it means. It's stupid. 'Bummer would be sufficient.'"

Sports Jargon - sometimes creeps into real life talk, as "first time ever," which in recent years moved from sporting reports to page one to editorial pages.

He's Some Kind Of A (Quarterback) . . . . Ford Wolfertz, Montclair, N.J.: "Everybody is some kind of something to someone, even athletes, though perhaps only to their mothers."

Deception Phrases - These are frequently employed to cover up actual meaning, or lack of facts in press conferences, news releases, keynote addresses, and talks.

Signals - Often "sent" by foreign powers, or political opponents. E. Delores Dickey, Thunder Bay, Ont.: "Do they use Boy scout signal flags? Don't diplomats 'talk,' 'discuss' or converse'?"

Highway User Fee - Bruce Peasley, Handy High School instructor, Bay City, Mich., say means "gasoline tax."

Office Effectivity - University of Michigan assistant registrar Edward C. Loyer found this in several departmental reports, including: "Overall office effectivity improvement will come only through increased automative support." This means: "We need new equipment."