Whether or not the U.S. Congress acts to avoid the "fiscal
cliff," the much-used phrase tops the list of words language
aficionados want banned from everyday speech, according to a
Michigan university's yearly roundup.
Also making the cut for Lake Superior State University's
annual list of overused, misused and generally useless terms
were "kick the can down the road," "bucket list" and
Then there is "YOLO."
"Stands for 'You Only Live Once' and used by wannabe Twitter
philosophers who think they've uncovered a deep secret of
life," said Brendan Cotter, of Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan,
in nominating the phrase for retirement.
"I only live once, so I'd prefer to be able to do it without
ever seeing YOLO again," Cotter said.
The small, public university has published its annual "List
of Words to be Banished from the Queen's English for Misuse,
Overuse and General Uselessness" since New Year's Day in
1976. It is culled mostly from nominations by
English-language enthusiasts through the school's website.
But don't call them "gurus" - the term is among the dozen
words and phrases on this year's list they want eliminated
from the news, advertising, politics and general usage.
Fiscal cliff - a short-hand reference to the mix of $US600
billion in tax increases and federal government spending cuts
due to begin taking effect in January - received the most
nominations in 2012, the school said.
"You can't turn on the news without hearing this," said
Christopher Loiselle of Midland, Michigan, in his submission.
"I'm equally worried about the River of Debt and Mountain of
"If only those who utter these words would take a giant leap
off of it," said Joann Eschenburg of Clinton Township,
Others were passionate in their disgust for the excessive use
of the word "passion." References by news and entertainment
commentators about what topics were "trending" and incessant
talk of "job creation" by presidential candidates also ranked
highly for causing annoyance.
Additional terms on the list included "double down" - when
used as a verb instead of "reaffirm" - plus "superfood" and
"Can we just call them chicken (pieces)?" said John McNamara
The dirty dozen
• Fiscal cliff
• Kick the can down the road
• Double down
• Job creators/creation
• Spoiler alert
• Boneless wings