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Newly Banished Words & Phrases

Lake Superior State University

Following their over-use, mis-use, and general uselessness, ten popular words and phrases from last year can no longer be used this year, or ever. On Friday, the English Department at Lake Superior State University announced its latest banishment list.

The first banishment list was issued in 1976, as a tongue-in-cheek way to publicize a little-known state university in a far corner of northern Michigan. But it soon became a much-anticipated annual way to highlight the over-use and misuse of some words and phrases.

The person in charge of the new list is Peter Szatmary, head of marketing for Lake Superior State. They received more than 1,200 nominations from around the world.

"Seven of our entries this year were everyday terms, that was one of our through lines, one of our themes, that common expressions seemed to be on people's minds, and tongues, and fingers this particular year. And these common expressions were problematic in all sorts of ways, including our number one, "Wait, what?" And when you think about it, the wait part, well the person who's saying it and the recipient don't want to wait. And it's the what part - it's a false statement to express astonishment or misunderstanding. As one our submitters says, "I don't want to wait - the two should not go together in any circumstance."

Another from the everyday list is "deep dive."

"The deep dive - one issue is if you're diving, it's deep so you don't need the deep, it's redundant. And the bigger issue is when you dive it's into water, not a subject."

And who else is more than tired of hearing this, "at the end of the day ?"

"What's fascinating about that is, whatever the topic is, at the end of the day the topic is usually still going on. The subject isn't over at the end of that juncture. Other submitters said "well day, it's imprecise." Do you mean today, do you mean current times ?"

In past years, politics and elections have been a major source of entries for the banishment list, but he says COVID has sort of pushed them aside. Starting with "you're on mute."

"As numerous submitters said, "hey we're two years into this, people need to figure out where the mute button is." And that seems to be a continuing problem. The other entry is maybe a bit more poignant than the mock seriousness of our other entries, "the new normal." We're two years into the pandemic - the new part of the normal, it's not new anymore. Several of our submitters and our judges hypothesized that maybe people are still not coming to terms with the pandemic because it's not new normal anymore, it's normal."

Also on the list is "supply chain" - it was nominated because as one person said, "it's become the scapegoat of everything that doesn't happen or arrive on time and of every shortage.

Szatmary calls the yearly banishment list "serious fun."

"What we particularly enjoy is the ingeniousness and passion of the reasons behind the nominations by people. They tend to put a great deal of thought, or even if it's a gut reaction, it's on point. What we're very appreciative of from our nominators across Michigan, the US, and around the world is they have as much mock serious fun with this as we do."

Lake Superior State is already accepting nominations for the next list of banished words and phrases, and you can see the more than 1,000 from past years' lists, at lssu.edu/banishedwords.

A native of Detroit, Herb Trix began his radio career as a country-western disc jockey in Roswell, New Mexico (“KRSY, your superkicker in the Pecos Valley”), in 1978. After a stint at an oldies station in Topeka, Kansas (imagine getting paid to play “Louie Louie” and “Great Balls of Fire”), he wormed his way into news, first in Topeka, and then in Freeport Illinois. While a graduate student in the Public Affairs Reporting Program at the University of Illinois at Springfield (then known as Sangamon State University), he got his first taste of public radio, covering Illinois state government for WUIS. Here in the Quad Cities, Herb worked for WHBF Radio before coming to WVIK in 1987. Herb also produces the weekly public affairs feature Midwest Week – covering the news behind the news by interviewing reporters about the stories they cover.