Archives: Banished Words 1984
Nominated by more Unicorn Hunters
than any other word or phrase; but this year the count
was so close we called it a tie:
Used by politicians, advertisers, and educators to
signify nothing except a vague jumble of concepts which
they favor. Its most important contribution to the world
of jargon is it s potential for grammatical formulations.
Does one use high tech like a wrench? Or operate it like
a bulldozer? Practice it like a religion? Was high tech
invented, developed, discovered or manufactured?
Fritz Bhalli, Oklahoma City.
Further complicated on NBC-TV news, Oct. 4, 1983, when
Chris Wallace explained visuals that there was a build-down
rate of 2-1 and 3-2. Pat Kight of Corvallis, Oregon,
classifies build-down as unwholesome
terminology for an etymological impossibility describing
a political improbability.
How fine must the distinctions be? Is there a
backal nudity, testicular nudity,
or left buttocks nudity? It would seem that
qualifications are no longer needed. Weve gone
about as far as we can go.
usually trite words thrown in from time to time because
the speakers or writer is afraid of silence or shorter
If You Will
I usually wont. William O. Marion, Ann Arbor,
In Other Words
Why not say what you mean the first time?
Ken Behrens, Bloomington, Ill.
Usually used to change the subject; but it weakens the
previous statement, however strong. Christine
Gerber, 10th Grade, Fairview Area Schools,
Used to upgrade pauses. June Marx, Farmington
Cuteness The obnoxious and
indiscriminate use of hearts on bumper stickers and
badges. Milt Ferguson, Hillsdale, Mich.
New Kid On The Street (Block).
The first usage of I heard applied to adults in
new lines of work was merely irksome. When it is used
over and over by politicians, businessmen and others I
stop listening to what follows. Margaret
Smedgaard, Racine, Wis.
Particularly from the word processors or cutesy gossip
columnists who have suddenly infested the nations
newspapers. Eugene Black, San Francisco, Cal.
A legitimate word led down the garden path and mugged by
mobs of copycats too lazy to find their own words.
burst out like a pandemic disease, infecting newspapers,
TV and radio. Mayor Koch is feisty; Congresswoman Fenwick
is feisty; even Mary Poppins was in danger of becoming
feisty. Al Volpe, Woodside, N.Y.
the whimsy of Valleyspeak. Where it was
amusing, this word now appears regularly in print and
broadcast: Detroit Free Press, New Yorker, Newsweek, the
latter using it to describe a baseball pitcher. I find it
preposterous to believe that all these writers are
observing truly awesome performances, people or events on
such a widespread scale. Elnora S. Vader, Escanaba,
The Unicorn Hunters banish
awesome for one year, during which it is to
be rehabilitated until it means fear mingled with
admiration or reverence; a feeling produced by something
Confused Quote Award
In memory of C.E. Wilson who said, Whats good
for America is good for General Motors and vice versa
but was widely quoted as saying Whats good
for General Motors is good for America and vice versa.
The citation includes hand-carved inverted quotation
marks designed by Len Pianosi, Lake Superior State
To Wanda Hogg, Redford High School
English teacher who was quoted as saying jokingly
of a janitor assigned by accident as a substitute teacher,
I heard he did real good. Ms. Hogg insists
she actually said, I understand that he did a
rather decent job, he did rather well
Yes, he did a
From the folks who have given us up
meaning functioning and down meaning broken.
Edward C. Loyer, University of Michigan
The Unicorn Hunters note that a
light switch glows in the dark is user friendly.
A corkscrew is not. Mr. Loyer is concerned, not with the
user but the friendly: Is
this to give me the urge to take a particular system to
lunch, or find some alternative way to get intimate with
it? Are there also systems or machines that are user-friendly?
Realtime Downlink Video In
NASA talk (Dec. 4 space shuttle report) this means current
pictures. Greg Borgman, WKBZ, Muskegon, Mich.