Occupy This Amazingly Ginormous Post

Don't say it. Don't even go there.

Time to ring in the new and kick out the old, tired and trite words and phrases that have worn out their welcome over the past year.

In an effort to help cleanse our collective vocabulary palate, the Lake Superior State University compiles an annual list of words it deems worthy of banishment from popular usage.

The List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness “has been going strong since New Year’s Day 1976 and shows no signs of stopping,” according to the LSSU List History page.

Conceived during a New Year’s Eve party by Lake Superior State University Public Relations Director W.T. (Bill) Rabe, the the Banishment List is released each year on New Year’s Day, since the holiday is traditionally a slow news day. Nominations are accepted throughout the year.

In case you missed it, here are a few highlights from this year’s banished list, along with a choice quote from someone who submitted it.

AMAZING  (Received the most nominations)

“Anderson Cooper used it three times recently in the opening 45 seconds of his program. My teeth grate, my hackles rise and even my dog is getting annoyed at this senseless overuse. I don’t even like ‘Amazing Grace’ anymore.” — Sarah Howley, Kalamazoo, Michigan

[I have to admit, our church has a lot of songs with the word “amazing” in the title!]


“This is a phrase we need to finally give birth to, then send on its way.” — Mary Sturgeon, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada 


“Usually used by a politician who wants other people to share in the sacrifice so he/she doesn’t have to.” — Scott Urbanowski, Kentwood, Michigan


“‘Occupy Wall Street’ grew to become Occupy ‘insert name of your city here’ all over the country. It should be banished because of the media overuse and now people use it all the time, i.e. ‘I guess we will occupy your office and have the meeting there.’ ‘We are headed to Grandma’s house – Occupy Thanksgiving is under way.” — Bill Drewes, Rochester Hills, Michigan


“Overused by television home design and home buying shows, has trickled down to sitcoms, commercials, and now has to be endured during interactions with real estate people, neighbors and co-workers.” — Jim, Flagstaff, Arizona 


“On its very face, it’s an empty, meaningless phrase. It basically says that anyone who opposes anything meant to ‘win the future’ must want to ‘lose the future,’ which is highly unlikely. But, hey, you may already be a winner.” Jim Eisenmann, Madison, Wisconsin 


“This combination of gigantic and enormous makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck every time I hear it. Each utterance reminds me of the high school drop-out that first used this offensive word in my presence.” — Gina Bua, Vancouver, Washington


“Usually followed by ‘for your cooperation,’ this is a condescending and challenging way to say, ‘Since I already thanked you, you have to do this.'” — Mike Cloran, Cincinnati, Ohio

I was pleased to see that many of my personal pet peeves were already banned from usage [e.g. “Teachable Moment” – 2010; “Green” – 2009; “Game changer” – 2009; “Wordsmith/wordsmithing” – 2008; “LOL” – 2004].

Feel free to peruse the LSSU complete list to see whether you’re still using any bannished words. Amazingly (oops), some of these shopworn social media/marketing contenders have not yet made the list: “Guru,” “ROI” and “Noms.”

Did any of your favorite words to hate get left out? What words are you sick of that didn’t make the list?

Thank you in advance for commenting!

22 responses to “Occupy This Amazingly Ginormous Post

  1. I actually had a friend who went to Lake Superior State, and I can understand how this list got started. It’s a long winter in Marquette.

    But I love the idea of retiring worn out, over-used terms and I think they got most of these right this year.

    • I would imagine the winters are long up there! The list has certainly given LSSU some attention. Very creative on the part of the PR Director. Thanks for stopping by, Denise!

  2. Man cave = totally overused. And what is the female equivalent?

    • Debra, I wouldn’t know what the female equivalent of “man cave” would be. In fact, I’d probably get in trouble even suggesting one! But it looks like the women had their say by banishing “baby bump.”

  3. I am afraid to say anything to this post! LOL

  4. Haha, I like how the title tied in 😉 I’m pretty guilty of saying “amazing” more frequently than is required. I’ll work on it 😉

  5. Love this! I, too, am guilty of overusing “amazing” and even, “awesome.” I rather like “brilliant,” though. Dr. Who says, “brilliant” quite a bit, so that makes it cool, like bow ties.

    I went and looked at some of the prior lists and discovered that I am so far behind the times I am still using words that were banished in the last several years.

    Groovy, much?

  6. I’m still sticking with amazing and awesome. And I’ll probably upset you with my OMG, <3, LOL, :), :P, and xo. But I'll be good and not launch into my "like totally dude" or "for sure" Valley Girl talk. I think we should come up with the words deemed worthy of banishment on the WEST COAST.

  7. I like mancave. A term I do not like but started hearing this year is “skinny fat”

  8. Count me among those who greatly dislikes the phrase “ginormous”. It’s either giant or it’s enormous — sounds like an adjective an 8 y.o. would use, but apparently, most adults don’t seem to feel the way I do.

    As for “baby bump” and “man cave”: both are just silly and overused. Why not say that a woman (not a couple, though) is pregnant? And whatever happened to “den” — or is that too ancient? (What would a woman call her little sanctuary, a woman cave?)

    I could also live happily without ever having to hear the following again: “woot!” (I prefer the more succinct “hooray” or “yay”); “awesome”; cutesy abbreviations like adorbs, totes, and sammie; “that being said”; “it is what it is”; “no worries”; “random” (often used without regard to its true meaning); and the dismissive “whatever”.

    It would be great if these word lists were distributed in most high schools/colleges. Apparently, increasing one’s vocabulary isn’t viewed as an asset nowadays. If I were to have a conversation with an under-30 that didn’t include “like” after every other word, or didn’t use many (or none) of the aforementioned overused phrases, I’d die a happy woman.

    • Well said, Babs. Just last night I heard a newsreader use “baby bump” (talking about Beyonce) and had to cringe. Many of the talking heads and infotainment types on TV (and YouTube) sound as if they’re functionally illiterate, which probably explains where the under-30 crowd gets much of its vocabulary. Thanks for stopping by!

  9. At some point if we keep building this list, and adhering to it, we’ll no longer be allowed to say anything.

    I’m keeping Ginormous, and Amazing.

    Deal with it.

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