15 Words Officially Banished, Including Tweet, Bromance

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Last summer, we had a discussion here at The Rumpus about the worst words ever. Well, it turns out that for the last 35 years, Lake Superior State University has been doing even more: a “List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness.”

There seems to be some technophobia in the 15-word 2010 list, but I’m okay with that, because I agree that the words “tweet” and “sexting” are terrible. There’s also a lot of economy fatigue, but I couldn’t agree more with those choices, either. If I hear “in these economic times” again I’m robbing a bank so I can take a bath in cocaine while smoking opium wrapped in hundred dollar bills.

Because the banished words seem to be tied to current events, though, I got curious. What was banished in 2001? Dude, dot.com, chad, and going forward.  How about 1989? Glove compartment, alcohol-related drunk driving, read my lips, and infotainment.  The list for the year I was born, 1979, just feels oddly dated. I feel, social security, and what are you into? are banished.

My favorite year was 2002. If we’d listened then, we’d never have to hear the words faith-based, 9/11, brainstorming, synergy, killer app, or reality TV ever again.

Here’s a complete list.


Seth Fischer’s writing has twice been listed as notable in The Best American Essays and has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize by several publications, including Guernica. He was the founding Sunday editor at The Rumpus and is the current nonfiction editor at The Nervous Breakdown. He is a Dornsife PhD Fellow at USC and been awarded fellowships and residencies by Ucross, Lambda Literary, Jentel, Ragdale, and elsewhere, and he teaches at the UCLA-Extension Writer’s Program and Antioch University, where he received his MFA. More from this author →