2006 List of Banished Words
SURREAL – One part opiate of the masses, 13 parts overuse. Oddly, news anchor and television small talk is becoming more surreal. “Dreams are surreal, not daily adjectives.” – Tracy from Murray, Ky.
HUNKER DOWN – To brace oneself, in anticipation of media onslaught. Trotted out in reports about everything from politics to hurricanes. “I have a hankering to ban all of this hunkering.” – Kate Rabe Forgach, Fort Collins, Colo.
PERSON OF INTEREST – Found within the context of legal commentary, but seldom encountered at cocktail parties. “People with guns want to talk with you.” – Melissa Carroll from Greensboro, NC. “Does this mean the rest of us are too boring to deal with?” – Patricia Johnson from Mechanicsville, Va.
COMMUNITY OF LEARNERS – A five-dollar phrase on a nickel-errand. Value-added into many higher education mission statements. “Not to be confused with ‘school.'” – Jim Howard from Mishawa, Ind.
UP OR DOWN VOTE – A casualty of today's partisanship. No discussion on this one; the committee just tossed a coin. “I see a bright future for ex-senators as elevator operators.” — Allan Dregseth, Fargo, ND.
BREAKING NEWS – Once it stopped presses. Now it's a lower-intestinal condition brought about by eating dinner during newscasts. “Now they have to interrupt my supper to tell me that Katie Holmes is pregnant.” — Michael Raczko, Swanton, Ohio.
DESIGNER BREED – Many nominators consider this a bastardization of dog breeding. It may be a good line to use on angry neighbors when an un-neutered dog escapes. “When you mate a miniature schnauzer to a toy poodle, it's not a ‘Schnoodle,' it's a mongrel.” – George Bullerjahn, Bowling Green, Ohio.
FEMA – Dedicated to the memory of a great federal agency consigned to the ash heap of parody. “If they don't do anything, we don't need their acronym.” – Josh Hamilton, Tucson, Ariz.
FIRST-TIME CALLER – Preamble often heard on talk radio. “I am serious in asking: who in any universe gives a care?” – Miguel McCormick, Orlando, Fla.
PASS THE SAVINGS ON TO YOU! – Marketing catch phrase that became a lost-leader long ago. “Read: Pass the markup along to you.” – C. W. Estes, Roanoke, Tex.
97% FAT FREE – Adventures in delusion. “Still has 3% fat . . . accept it.” – Andrew Clucas, Canberra, Australia.
AN ACCIDENT THAT DIDN'T HAVE TO HAPPEN – Best-laid mayhem. “This means some accidents need to happen, for whatever reason, I can't figure.” — Thomas Price, Orlando, Fla.
JUNK SCIENCE – Banished from the Marketplace of Ideas. “It's not scientists who are using this phrase so much as the people who practice junk politics.” – Ron LaLonde, Inuvik, Northwest Territories, Canada.
GIT-ER-DONE – (Any of its variations) It's overdone. “There's no escaping it. It's everywhere, from TV to T-shirts,” says Amanda Tikkanen of LaGrange, Ind. “Please tell me when we're done with this one.”
DAWG – No designer breed here. Someone should wash out this Spot. “Even parents are starting to use it!” – complains Mrs. Swartz's Fifth Grade Class in Church Road, Va. “This is species confusion.” – Rob Bowers, Santa Clara, Calif. “Don't call me ‘dawg'! I'm not your pet!” – Michael Swartz, Albuquerque, NM.
TALKING POINTS – Cover your ears! “Topics which will please those you want to impress.” – Michele Mooney, Van Nuys, Calif. Joe Wonsetler of Swanton, Ohio, believes the phrase was created after PR staffers stopped attending seminars on how to put a positive ‘spin' on their press releases.
HOLIDAY TREE – Many salvoes were fired during this past season's “war on Christmas.” At the risk of jumping into the breach, the committee feels that “Holiday tree” is a silly name for what most folks hold as a Christmas tree, no matter your preference of religion. Thank goodness we all agree on the first day of winter.