The war of words

Lake Superior University lists the words in the "List of Words to Be Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness." The Oxford phrases are listed in a new book, Damp Squid: The English Language Laid Bare


Lake Superior University on Michigan's Upper Peninsula selected this year's crop of 15 words from 5,000 nominations. The word police have been compiling the list since 1975. The school is known chiefly for it's hockey team and fish research on Lake Superior.


Despite the year's economic meltdown (which itself wasn't banished but don't rule it out for next year), the most entries came from the environmental category — for "green" or "going green."

"If I see one more corporation declare itself 'green,' I'm going to start burning tires in my backyard," wrote Ed Hardiman of Bristow, Va., in his submission. Nominators also had their fill of "carbon footprint" — the amount of greenhouse gases an individual's lifestyle produces.

The first list contained these words: meaningful, inout, scenario, detente, dialogue, macho, implement and viable and call for resignation.

While the English mavens want to stop over use of some words, the self-described word warriors at Wayne State University have a resplendent list of lesser-used words that should be used more often.

The words

  • Green
  • Carbon footprint or carbon offsetting
  • Maverick
  • First dude
  • Bailout
  • Wall Street/Main Street
  • Monkey
  • <3 - an emoticon meaning heart
  • Icon or iconic
  • Game changer
  • Staycation
  • Desperate search
  • Not so much
  • Winner of five nominations
  • It's that time of year again

Oxford's phrases

    • At the end of the day

Nominate your own words for the list here.

  • Fairly unique
  • I personally
  • At this moment in time
  • With all due respect
  • Absolutely
  • It's a nightmare
  • Shouldn't of
  • 24/7
  • It's not rocket science