Words that should be banned in 2014 (selfie, twerk, etc.)

-- AFP PICTURES OF THE YEAR 2013 --US President Barack Obama (R) and British Prime Minister David Cameron pose for a selfie picture with Denmark's Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt (C) next to US First Lady Michelle Obama (R) during the memorial service of South African former president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium (Soccer City) in Johannesburg on December 10, 2013. Mandela, the revered icon of the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa and one of the towering political figures of the 20th century, died in Johannesburg on December 5 at age 95. AFP PHOTO / ROBERTO SCHMIDTROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images
President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron pose for a selfie with Denmark’s Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt during the memorial service for South African former president Nelson Mandela in South Africa in December. (ROBERTO SCHMIDTROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)

Here’s the 2014 list of words that Lake Superior State University in Michigan has deemed should be banished from overuse. The school, which has been issuing the list for 39 years, seeks nominations  yearround and then puts out a list of 13 winners. The No. 1 word: “selfie.”

To submit your nomination for the 2015 list, click here. Check out the complete list of  “banished” words, here, and you can see more about the 2014 list here.

 

SELFIE

Has the honor of receiving the most nominations this year.

“Named ‘Word of the Year’ by Oxford Dictionary? Give me a break! Ugh, get rid of it.” – Bruce, Ottawa, Ont.

“Myselfie disparages the word because it’s too selfie-serving. But enough about me, how about yourselfie?” – Lisa, New York, NY

“It’s a lame word. It’s all about me, me, me. Put the smartphone away. Nobody cares about you.” — David, Lake Mills, Wisc.

TWERK / TWERKING

Another word that made the Oxford Dictionaries Online this year.

Cassidy of Manheim, Penn. said, “All evidence of Miley Cyrus’ VMA performance must be deleted,” but it seems that many had just as much fun as Miley did on stage when they submitted their nominations.

 

“The fastest over-used word of the 21st century.” – Sean, New London, NH.

 

HASHTAG

We used to call it the pound symbol. Now it is seeping from the Twittersphere into everyday expression. Nearly all who nominated it found a way to use it in their entries, so we wonder if they’re really willing to let go. #goodluckwiththat

“A technical term for a useful means of categorizing content in social media, the word is abused as an interjection in verbal conversation and advertising.  #annoying!” – Bob, Grand Rapids, Mich.

“It’s #obnoxious #ridiculous #annoying and I wish it would disappear.” – Jen, Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

“#sickoftheword”  – Brian, Toronto, Ont.

 

TWITTERSPHERE

To which we advise, keep all future nominations to fewer than 140 characters.

“There cannot possibly be any oxygen there.” – Matt of Toledo, Ohio

 

MISTER MOM

The 30-year anniversary of this hilarious 1983 Michael Keaton movie seems to have released some pent-up emotions. It received nearly as many nominations as “selfie” and “twerk” from coast to coast in the U.S. and Canada, mostly from men.

“It was a funny movie in its time, but the phrase should refer only to the film, not to men in the real world. It is an insult to the millions of dads who are the primary caregivers for their children. Would we tolerate calling working women Mrs. Dad?” says Pat, of Chicago, who suggests we peruse the website captaindad.org, the manly blog of stay-at-home parenting.

“I am a stay-at-home dad/parent. And if you call me ‘Mr. Mom,’ I will punch you in the throat. – Zachary, East Providence, RI.

 

T-BONE
This common way of describing an automobile collision has now made it from conversation into the news reports. While the accident’s layout does, indeed, resemble its namesake cut of beef, we’d prefer to dispense with the collateral imagery and enjoy a great steak.

“As in ‘crashed into another car perpendicularly.’ Making a verb out of a cut of beef?” – Kyle, White Lake, Mich.

_______ ON STEROIDS

New! Improved! Steroidal!

“Please, does the service at my favorite restaurant have to be ‘on steroids’ (even though the meat may be)?” – Betsy, Los Angeles, Calif.

 

SUFFERING SUFFIXES:

Many in advertising and in the news took two words – Armageddon and Apocalypse and shortened them into two worn-out suffixes this year.

   –AGEDDON

   –POCALYPSE

“Come on down, we’re havin’ car-ageddon, wine-ageddon, budget-ageddon, a sale-ageddon, flower-ageddon, and so-on-and-so-forth-ageddon! None of these appear in the Book of Revelations.” – Michael, Haslett, Mich.

“Every passing storm or event is tagged as ice-ageddon or snow-pocalypse. There’s a limited supply of …ageddons and …pocalypses; I believe it’s one, each. When running out of cashews becomes nut-ageddon, it’s time to re-evaluate your metaphors.” – Rob, Sellersville, Penn.

 

POLITICS:

 

Politicians never fail to disappoint in providing fodder for the list.

   INTELLECTUALLY / MORALLY BANKRUPT

Used by members of each political party when describing members of the other.

   OBAMACARE

A wandering prefix (see 2010′s “Obama-”) finally settles down. We thought it might rival “fiscal cliff,” the most-nominated phrase on the 2013 list, but it didn’t come close.

Cal of Cherry Hill, NJ wonders, “Are there intellectual creditors?”

“Because President Obama’s signature healthcare law is actually called the Affordable Care Act. The term has been clearly overused and overblown by the media and by members of Congress.” – Ben of New Jersey

“What more can I say?” – Jane, McKinney, Tex.

 

SPORTS:

  ADVERSITY

Heard often in the world of football.

“Facing adversity is working 50 hours a week and still struggling to feed your kids. Facing third and fifteen without your best receiver with tens of millions in the bank, is not.”  – Kyle, White Lake, Mich.

   FAN BASE

Why use one word when apparently two are twice as better?

“From the world of sports comes the latest example of word inflation. What’s wrong with the word ‘fans’?” – Paul, Canton, Mich.

 

Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.
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Valerie Strauss · December 31, 2013