Redefining the Classroom

Archives: Banished Words 1987

Download a Printable Poster of 1987 Banished Words

Medical Speak – The following phrases turned up again and again in the nominating letters. In previous years bureaucrats, journalists, or educators have inspired the major nominations. This year it’s the people at what Sid Caesar called “The Doctor Place.” However, one suspects that it isn’t the doctors and nurses who invent these silly terms, but administrators and those who write the glossy pamphlets one finds in waiting rooms.

The Health Care Delivery System/Industry – “Why don’t we have them deliver have a pint of health to our door each morning. – John Jolly, Seattle, Washington.

Clients – replacing “patients.” “Maybe this means they can charge more.” – Nicholas Naff, Las Vegas, Nevada.

Wellness – replacing “health.” The traditional parting thus becomes, “Go in good wellness.” – Mrs. F. A. Simon, East Lansing, MI.

Neonatal Unit – This is where they put new baby patients in hospitals instead of a nursery. And, what ever happened to Bye Baby Bunting? – Henry Ward, Detroit, MI

The Patient Did Not Fulfill His Wellness Potential – “This statement not only obscures the fact that the patient died, but places the blame squarely on the patient for this inexcusable failure.” – Emmet Donnelly, Detroit, MI.

Colorize and Colorization – “It is bad enough that Ted Turner damages classic films; his disrespect for the language is equally reprehensible. What he means is, “color.” – Paul H. Toepp, Detroit, MI.

My Work In The Structure Of Baseball – as in statement by Jack Morris of the Detroit Tigers: “.2 million is a lot of money, but it doesn’t fit into my work in the structure of baseball.” What he means is, “My job,” but that wouldn’t be worth even .2.

Pleaded Innocent – which is simply wrong. “There hasn’t been an ‘innocent’ plea for more than 200 years. A defendant pleads ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty’ since he is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. – Attorney Thomas H. Edwards, Austin, Texas.

Most Multi-Unique Award

To a Grand Rapids radio news reporter (name withheld) who said: “They both have rather unique positions which are remarkably similar. – John H. Twist, Grand Rapids, MI.

Self-Contained Contradictions of 1986

Turned Up Missing – “If they ‘turn up’ how can they be missing?” – Ann Rady Rabe, Sault Ste. Marie, MI.

Same Difference – “The only thing worse would be ‘the same identical difference.’” – Gregory C. Carter, Oklahoma City, Okla.

Hands On Participatory Experience – Meaning, “it’s OK to touch it.” “Destined to fuzz the minds of all English-speaking children.” – John C. Sherwood, Battle Creek, MI.

Half Dead – “How is this measured? Why not 1/3 dead, or 18/32; or, if an athlete, 120% dead?” – Lou Vodopya, Nashville, Tenn.

Audibleized – as in football. Announcer: Their quarterback audibleized at the line; i.e., he “called signals.” “This makes me want to silencize my TV and turn on the part that is picturized.” – Glenn Ickler, Framingham, Mass.

Filmed Before A Live Studio Audience – “Do they film before dead studio audiences?” – Isabel Grasby, Thunder Bay, Ont.

Signage – “I gag on this because it sounds like the drainage from the sinus passages, as in sewer/sewage. Is ‘signage’ more expensive that just plain signs?” – C. B. Sutton, Westerville, Ohio

ANSWER: Yes! And it takes up to three times as long to engage in “signage” as it does to order and put up “signs.”

By And Large – “This means nothing; but politicians use it to imply vast research resulting in profound thought.” – Art Pickering, Toronto.

You Can’t Take Nothing With You – “Which may be true, but this is a double negative, even when uttered by Chicago Mayor Harold Washington whose predecessors found investigations ‘fruitworthy’ and disliked ‘insinuendos.’” – Denise M. Brummel, Hammond, Ind. Unicorn Hunters’ official Chicago Mayor Watcher.

De-Install – as on Wang Laboratories invoice. “And it cost me 4, but would it cost less if Wang simply removed it or took it out?” – John A. Boll, Detroit, MI.

Weather Warnings:

Shower Activity – “Why not say ‘rain.’” – Jim Althof, Seattle, Wash.

Partly Sunny – “Does this mean a partial eclipse?” – Daryl Huggard, Bay City, Pupil of Bruce Peasley, Handy High School.

There You Go – recipient of furthest-and-fastest-travel-cliché-award for 1986; probably derived from Pres. Reagan’s similar expletive. “I first encountered this in upper Michigan when a waitress said it every time she served something. I was restrained from ‘going’ each time by my companions. Then I returned to the West Coast and in a few weeks it entered into every commercial transaction.” – Eli Levine, Summerland, Calif.

I’m Talkin’… Here – as in “I’m talkin’ baseball, here.” “We’re talkin’ grammar, here!” – Charlotte Head, Nepean, Ont.

In His Words – as in a new reporter quoting the prime minister. “How else would he say it? Would he rent lips?” – Saul Jacobson, Regina, Saskatchewan.

Redundancy Alert

Foreign Imports – “If these have had such a devastating impact on our economy, I shudder to think about the dire consequence of domestic imports.” – T. A. Quinn, Louisville, KY.

I.R.A. Account – “Unless you are the Irish Republican Army this is one ‘account’ too many.” – Edward R. Bolt, Grand Rapids, MI.

Potential Hazard – “Of course, a hazard is a potential danger.” – James H. Lindsay, Burnaby, B.C.

Au contra

Lake Effect needs to be thrown out. With any luck the condition would then vanish. “Belt” is over modified. People, cars and nations have then; and they are to a degree interchangeable. If it gets so hot in the “sun belt” why not call it the “fan belt?”

Are there “safety belts” in cars, or are they parts of automobiles in which people are especially prudent?

“Silicon Valley” wants renaming. Is the valley really walled in by mountains of silicon? Does Silicon River run through if?

“The Nicaraguan rebels” need a new name. Would you want to be a “contra?” Where is credibility in foreign policy if “Contra aid” is “contra-indicated?” Can the president explain to his country without making a “contra-diction?” – D. G. Galbraith, Rexdale, Ont., Canada.

Dishonorable Mention

A Tad – As in “ a tad nippier” or “lower your end just a tad.” “A ‘tad’ is a little child, especially a boy.” – George Constable, Mansfield, Ohio.

Arguably – as in “arguably the best boxer.” “A non-source source in support of the writer’s personal opinion.” – James M. McDonald, Jr., Seattle, Wash.

Sequestration – Government talk for certain budget cuts. “To me, it has something to do with jury selection.” – Phil Arkow, Cascade, Col.

Comfortable – As in “are you comfortable with this?” “I’m tired of hearing this every time an idea is presented.” Makes you uncomfortable? – Jo Ann Krause, Grand Marais, Minn.

Afterfeel – As on the back of Vaseline Intensive Care Lotion (the extra strength variety) “which I would like banished before it gets too popular.” – Denise M. Brummel, Hammond, Ind.

Tuna Fish – Why Tuna ‘fish,’ but not “trout” fish? – Elizabeth A. Levie, Santana High School, Santee, Calif.