Redefining the Classroom

Archives: Banished Words 1994

Download a Printable Poster of 1994 Banished Words


Gathered Together- “As opposed to what? Gathered apart?” – Don “String” Kelly, Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan

Stupid (Bad) Mistake – “Show me a smart (good) one.” – Frank Foley, Boston, Massachusetts

Past Experience – C.R. Penson, St. Paul, Minnesota

New Recruit – Ben Szczesny, Muskegon, Michigan

Always Consistent – “Oh, really? Not just some of the time?” – John Rosevear, Milford, Michigan

Helicopters Overhead – “Heard often from TV newscasters of the Los Angeles area.” – J.A. Talbot, Grand Terrace, California

Paradigm – “This has become the educational buzzword of 1993. I would like to see ‘paradigm lost.’” – Nancy Dean, Stephenson, Michigan “As in ‘I want to empower a new paradigm of health care.’ It sounds a lot better saying ‘I want to shut down the hospital and let the people get their own aspirin.’” – Bob Cudmore, The Record, Troy, New York “Not only is it roundly mispronounced, but its meaning has grown to mean everything from ‘example’ to ‘coffee cup.’” – Tom Rademacher, Grand Rapids Press

Dysfunctional – “Bury it. The dysfunctional family includes all for one reason or another.” – Carol S. Smith, Fairbanks, Alaska

Stocking Stuffer – “Mis-used and over-used. Once described inexpensive trinkets and toys. Now used in advertisements to describe 0 cellular telephones and 0 diamond rings. Stuff the stocking stuffer!” – Trudie Mason, Derek Conlon, Murray Sheriffs, CJAD AM, Montreal, Quebec

There for mean (for you, for us) – “A formula which seems to avoid such words as ‘cares,’ ‘loves,’ and ‘likes.’ It has a ‘hired’ feel to it. ‘Dr. Kervorkian is there for you.’” – Ted DeRose, South Haven Public School, Michigan

Youse or Yous – “As in ‘Would youse like coffee?’ …Only in the North American vocabulary.” – Tori Cook, MCTV News, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario

An historic – “…As in ‘an historic moment.’ Commonly used by news people (print and broadcast). It’s wrong! If this abuse is allowed to continue, the next sound you hear from me will be an hiss!” – Jim Wiljanen, Dewitt, Michigan

Behind Closed Doors – “One wonders where else the UN Security Council would meet; perhaps on a patio in front of the Empire State Building?” – John Hershey, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario

Mother of all… - “This seems to be a Muslim expression. It became popular during the Mideast War and shows no signs of dying.” – Leonard Wheat, U.S. Department of Commerce

Reach Out – Over-used by politicians who ask us to reach out to all sorts of people or ideas which may not be grasped easily. – Ron Karle, East Lansing, Michigan Columnist Mike Royko, who found hundreds of references to “reaching out” in newspapers, wrote, “I hope this column serves to reach out to public figures and encourages them to shut up about reaching out. This should not become a nation of groupers.”

Activity Co-Requisite Required – Submitted by Audrey Morley and Dr. Susan Branstner of Lake Superior State University, who note that this phrase has appeared in the LSSU class scheduling booklets to replace the words ‘ laboratory required.”

Skull Flattening – “Used by Australia’s Minister for Employment, Education and Training in radio interviews in 1993 to describe cut-backs and job vacancies. The greatest insult since ‘downsizing.’” – Edwin Maher, South Frankston, Victoria, Australia

Accident – “When two or more automobiles collide, it is most often a ‘careless,’ or perhaps a ‘stupidity.’ It could be an ‘inattentive,’ a ‘thoughtless,’ or even an ‘indifferent.’ It is not, as I’m certain police statistics will confirm, an ‘accident.’ Baloney. Either you or the other person had a ‘careless,’ or a ‘stupidity.’” – Mike Raick, Bloomfield, Michigan

Skyrocket and Spearhead – “These are non-verbs which should be tossed onto the junk heap.” – Larry Hogue, Corpus Christi, Texas.

Party – “…when used as a verb. Remember when a party commemorated a specific occasion with celebration? Today the word (used mostly as a verb – Let’s Party!) has degenerated into a sorry synonym for getting drunk – in any bar, any stadium, any car.” – Jan Shoemaker, English Teacher, Lansing Catholic Central H.S., Michigan

Three-three-three… - Jessica Stanaway of Brimley, Michigan, nominated a word which is over-used by sports reporters when describing a team which has won three championships in a row. We can’t repeat the words because it’s a trademark held by Pat Riley of the New York Nicks. Stanaway said whenever she hears the word, it makes her what to “thrupchuck.” (She wants to make “thrupchuck” a trademark, too.)

Gifting (or gift as a verb) – “What happened to ‘giving?’ ‘Gifting’ is seen in catalogs everywhere. I wonder if the originator is someone who was not in this country born.” – J. Gregory Winn, St. Paul, Minnesota

Giant Sucking Sound – “That ‘giant sucking sound’ you hear is air displacement as columnist, editors and reporters across the nation rush to their keyboards to make cleaver use of the phrase of the moment, ‘giant sucking sound.’” – Jodie Morris, Publications Editor, California Newspaper Publishers Association, Sacramento, California

Whoomp, There it is! – “Over-used and wasn’t popular in the first place. Sounds stupid and ignorant.” – Joe Clare, Beal City High School, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan

He/She – “I think that using the masculine pronoun, when no gender is indicated, should be reinstated. Using ‘he/she’ breaks the flow of a sentence, and teachers care more about that than they do about sexual equality.” – Ines Quandel, Central Algoma Secondary School, Desberats, Ontario

Dead Serious – “While death is certainly a serious business, if you are dead you certainly won’t be able to convince people how serious you may be.” – Caleb Hartmann, St. Mary’s Cathedral High School, Gaylord, Michigan

Re-Engineering – “Corporations don’t restructure anymore, they don’t change direction or focus (another buzzword), they all ‘re-engineer.’” – J.P. Squires, Omaha, Nebraska (LSSU salutes Omaha, the residents of which sent over 100 nominations for this year’s list. They were urged to act by Omaha World Herald Columnist Robert McMorris.)

Gun Control – “To me, this means being able to hit your target. I’m tired of hearing how this will solve our crime problems, when it won’t.” – Anonymous LSSU student

Offload – “Ships and trucks used to be ‘unloaded.’ Let’s unload the use of ‘offload’ and only use ‘unload’ when we’re referring to cargo.” – Michael Eliasohn, St. Joseph, Michigan

More Than Happy – “If a waiter says he’d be ‘more than happy’ to serve me, I ought to expect him to clap his hands and jump with joy.” – Stephen Mendenhall, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Reinventing Government – “Let’s get rid of any number of politicians who use this expression, along with those who are ‘growing jobs.’” – Joseph Barrett, Berkeley, California

Politically Correct - LSSU had received many nominations for banishment of this phrase and the “idea” of being politically correct. Some of the words and phrases banished during the past few years have been “politically correct” expressions (i.e. Fisherperson in 1992), but “P.C” itself has been left off the list until now. Here are some samples of the calls for nomination:

James B. Whyte of Newmarket Ontario, said we should continue to use, if not overuse, “politically correct euphemisms such as ‘strategically dehired’ for ‘fired.’ …Used enough times as a term of opprobrium, even the most thoroughly sanitized euphemisms will start to stink, its rigid ‘correctness’ wilting in the light of the truth.”

Tori Cook of MCTV News in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, said, “It’s overused. Besides, most people believe politicians are always wrong.”

Michael Tardif of Lansing Catholic Central High School in Michigan seems to agree with Cook, and said “political correctness and politically correct are oxymorons.”

Nadine Clark of Dearborn Heights, Michigan, said, “Politically correct, politically incorrect… who cares?”

He/she Just Didn’t Get It – “Popularized after the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas debate…It (supposedly) indicates someone’s inability to understand what the rest of us find obvious. “Senator Packwood just doesn’t get it.’ ‘Saddam Hussein just doesn’t get it.’” – David Goldberg, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Baddaboom, Baddabing – For over-use. – George Carlin, Los Angeles, California


Clearly Ambiguous – This phrase is used often in federal student financial aid forms and applications. – Tim Malette, Director of Financial Aid, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, Michigan

Sketchy Details – “An unpardonable contradiction of terms by someone trying to say that information is limited.” – Jack Dietrich, Albuquerque, New Mexico