thought bubble of banished words

Wait, What? Only One Month Remains to Submit Words and Terms to Banish for 2023 to Lake Superior State University

thought bubble of banished words

Fans of communication good and bad across the U.S. and around the world last year helped determine that “Wait, what?” served no feasible purpose in vocabulary other than as a no-no. Steer clear of it above all other problematic phrasings, nominators explained and insisted, pontificated and begged in playful—and sometimes outraged—mode.

What has caught people’s eyes and ears this year?

Translation: one month remains to submit entries for Lake Superior State University’s annual tongue-in-cheek Banished Words List.

The deadline to submit entries for consideration for banishment for 2023 is at 8 AM Eastern Standard Time on Nov. 30, 2022, at

LSSU will announce results on Dec. 31, 2022, to start the New Year on the right foot, er, tongue.

Lake State has compiled its yearly mock-serious Banished Words List since 1976 to uphold, protect, and support excellence in language by encouraging avoidance of words and terms that are hackneyed, redundant, oxymoronic, clichéd, illogical, nonsensical—and otherwise ineffective, baffling, or irritating.

Conversational-based words and terms dominated the 1,250-plus submissions last year, with more than 1,000 about the colloquial. Of the 10 words and terms banished for 2022, judges ranked “Wait, what?” No. 1. Second-most questionable: “No worries.” The third in thorniness: “At the end of the day.” Three examples related to COVID-19 terminology also were nixed, including “supply chain” and “new normal”—the latter earlier vetoed in 2012 for a different reason altogether.

Over the decades, LSSU has received tens of thousands of nominations for the list, which now totals more than 1,000 entries. Examples of the winners (or should that be losers?) to make the yearly compilation: “detente,” “surely,” “classic,” and “bromance,” plus “wrap my head around,” “user friendly,” “at this point in time,” and “viable alternative.” The Banished Words List has become such a cultural phenomenon that comedian George Carlin submitted an entry that made the annals in 1994: “baddaboom, baddabing.”

“We can’t wait each year to take a deep dive into miscommunication, thanks to the many grammarians, philosophers, pundits, lovers of lingo, and haters of impropriety who circle back to us with equal parts humor and anger,” said LSSU President Dr. Rodney S. Hanley. “That being said, no worries that, at the end of the day, much of what I’ve just conveyed made our Banished Words List for 2022. So I’d better check my supply chain.”


George Carlin signs a Banished Words poster

Comedian George Carlin signs a poster of Lake Superior State University’s 1994 Banished Terms List, which included an entry from him, “baddaboom, baddabing,” at an appearance on campus.