Redefining the Classroom

Archives: Banished Words 1985

Download a Printable Poster of 1985 Banished Words

Mandate – and it’s various forms. Of 3,000 nominations received from as far away as Japan and Saudi Arabia, hundreds cited “mandate.” Not all were from disgruntled Democrats. There was a general complaint that politicians use “mandate” to overstate justification for their actions or proposals. “Mandate,” could in some instances mean, “I’ve had two long phone calls on this subject.” Tired, mis-used, abused and often redundant as “a mandatory law.” – Wayne Saddler, San Jose, Calif.

Mandate – n. 1. commission given to one nation by an associated group of nations to administer the government of a backward territory. 2. pol. policy instruction by electors to legislators. 3. a command. 4. Roman Law. decree by emperor.

Star Wars – as applied to military defense system, gives the impression of actually having a meaning; but it has no meaning whatsoever. – Joseph J. Dary, Toronto, Ontario

Vertical Access Device – is bureaucracy talk for elevator. – John Constantino, East Lansing, Mich.

Busters – as in “inflation busters” and “crime busters.” Drawn from movie world, and applied to almost everything in great tradition of “-arama” (“Crime-arama,” and “Sex-arama”) and “Anatomy of a—“ (“Anatomy of an Opera” and “Anatomy of a Toaster.”)

Bruce Peasley’s English Class at Handy High, Bay City, asks if “bare naked” is opposed to “clad naked”?

Significant Write Down – as used in The Wall Street Journal, means “a big loss.” – Frank Hand, East Lansing, Mich.

Visually Eyeball The Runway – NASA announcer-talk as space shuttle pilots prepared to land. Nominated for Tautology of the Year Award. – Paul Nolan, Athens, Ohio

Two Common Symbols are banished – The international road sign of a circle with a line through it meaning “No…”; and hearts meaning “love.” Preston Turengano of San Diego, Cal., said the road sign was okay on highways, but should never be used for “No burping.”

International Banishment – Words which deeply disturb people cut across international and language boundaries. The Unicorn Hunters’ first “other languages” banishments are based on the Nuremburg Ad Hoc Committee Report:

In Der Tat – which means “indeed.” The latter was also nominated by many from the U.S.A. and Canada, including Bryan Szabo of Eugene, Oregon, who describe it as “the most overused word of the year; indeed, of the century.”

In Diesem Unseren Lande – a cliché meaning “…in this, our country,” as used by Chancellor Hel muth Kohl and likened on The Cloy Scale to Nixon’s “My fellow Americans.”

Quality Time – as distinguished from “quantity time” is always applied by the fulfilled woman to explain the time they devote to their families. “Quality time” is what we see in the movies – smiling, laughing, having a food fight; tossing one’s child in the air with wild abandon. Unfulfilled women, on the other hand, simply slop through with quantity tie. – Sandra M. Louden, Pitts.

Near Miss – should be “near hit” because it didn’t nearly miss, it actually did miss. – Robert D. Hancock, Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

Fishy Word Alert: Up To Speed – is running rampant in government fisheries management administrations. Zap it now or it will zap you. E.g. “The president isn’t up to speed on the budget,” meaning “He doesn’t know what’s going on.” – John Maiolo, Greenville, N.C.

Read – when used as a noun. E.g. “This book is a good read.” Book critics should know better. “Read” is a verb. – Rudy Simons, Oak Park, Mich.

The Unicorn Hunters order the repossession of the apostrophe. It has been dispossessed and mis-employed to indicate unauthorized plurals. Even a newspaper account of the banishment list referred to “words on the list in year’s (sic) past…” If we allow this desecration of the apostrophe, what can we expect of the colon, the hyphen, the bracket or the dieresis?

Ruffles and flourishes are authorized for Martha Kerns of Sandusky, Ohio for copious nomination above and beyond the call of duty of words for banishment. She dispatched eight lists this year, each containing 200 to 300 words or phrases. Mrs. Kerns appears to be speedily eliminating the English language, which might not be a bad idea. We could then start afresh.

Self-Contained Reversing Verb – as “off-loading,” “up-tick,” and “debrief.” A new category of word banishment contributed by Ed Shoop, Mississauga, Ontario.

Overcrowded – We have not had a simply “crowded” prison here in Tennessee since 1982. I can grasp the concept of too much of a good thing, as “over-paid”; but I can’t comprehend too much of a bad thing, as “over-poor” or “over-hurt.” – James L. Knight, Nashville, Tenn.

Holiday Nog – instead of egg nog. Let us return the egg to its proper place in Christmas. – Terrence Sweeny, Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

Very Unique Redundancy Repetitive Award Citation:

The airwaves teem with ear-grating redundancies such as “first time ever,” “the bullet went all the way through the body,” and “the torso from the neck down.” We must focus our attention, on a single such horror if we hope to eliminate them. PRE-PLAN – Gil Claeys of Indianapolis, Indiana, asks, “How can one ‘pre-‘ plan something one is ‘planning’ which means ‘to do in advance’?” He attached a mortuary advertisement promoting “pre-planned funerals.”