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Banned! Don't use these words in 2016

Last updated on: January 06, 2016 08:08 IST

What's shocking is that 'so' is one among the 13 words!


Photograph: Christian Bucad/Creative Commons

Lake Superior State University in Michigan has published its annual New Year list of Banished Words -- words or phrases that it thinks are overused or 'problematic'.

The list has been created from thousands of submissions made through the college's website.

Read on to find out which of these words you are using…

1. So

Raise your hands, if you are one of those who begin every conversation with the word 'so'!

'So I am a student…'

'So I live in Delhi…'

'So I had breakfast in the morning and…'

How often will you use the word 'so'!!!

An 'innocent filler', the word 'so' if used too often can get pretty annoying for the person at the receiving end.

So, what do you do now?

Chuck 'so' out of your dictionary. You don't really need a filler when you begin a conversation, do you?

2. Conversation

Almost every online publication is inviting you to 'join the conversation', aren't they?

According to its definition in the Oxford Dictionary, 'conversation' is used to refer to a talk, especially an informal one, between two or more people, in which news and ideas are exchanged.

But today it has become the go-to word.

Let's take a few examples:

'everyday conversations'

'She is having a conversation with her mother.'

'I lost a gist of the conversation.'

We don't need to take this conversation any further, do we?

Wondering what else can you use in place of 'conversation'. You can always use 'talk', 'discussion', 'debate' or even 'chat'. :)

3. Break the Internet

In November 2014, Kim Kardashian flashed her derriere on the cover of Paper magazine. Written on the cover were the lines 'Break the Internet'.

Kardashian supposedly broke the Internet with her butt!!!

That's not the first time people heard this word. The phrase originated after Ellen DeGeneres' famed 2014 Oscar selfie caused Twitter to crash.

Singers Taylor Swift and Beyonce, and US President Barack Obama have all 'broken the Internet' at some point in time!

So much of destruction happening online and you still are wondering what the word 'break the Internet' means?

According to the Urban Dictionary, 'break the Internet' is used when you want to refer to something that has caused a large commotion on the Internet with social media sites discussing it.

The word is just one-year-old. And it has been used and misused online making it one of the banned words of 2016.

4. Giving me life

Probably the most overused word of 2015.

Almost everything under the sun was 'giving people life'.

'This #nailpaint is #givingmelife.'

'Granny is over here. #Givingmelife with these homemade fried chicken and cream potatoes.'

'Drinking hot chocolate in the biggest cup ever #givingmelife.'

Next time you plan on using the word, just say that 'you're feeling happy'. Isn't that a lot more simpler?

5. Manspreading

When someone is taking up too much space on a train or bus seat it is called 'manspreading'.

The word spread like wild fire and Twitter was abuzz with post and pictures of 'manspreading' on buses and trains.

There are more polite ways of describing a person occupying too much space.

Here's what one of the people nominating the term had to say: "Men don't need another disgusting-sounding word thrown into the vocabulary to describe something they do…You're just taking too much room on this train seat, be a little more polite..." -- Carrie Hansen, Caledonia, Mich.

6. Secret Sauce

Here's a word that's misused so often that now we are confused what it refers to!

According to the Oxford Dictionary, 'secret sauce' refers to a special feature or technique kept secret by an organisation and regarded as being the chief factor in its success.

However few know that secret sauce was a term coined by San Diego based restaurant Jack in the Box for one for their special sauces.

Today it is no longer about the secret concoction of messy goodness. Instead it is a term for 'success'!

Here's what you'll probably hear in a classroom… 'The professor shared the secret sauce to a company's success.'

We're still wondering when did secret sauce stop being about the sauce?

7. Price Point

It refers to the retail price of a product.

When you can manage with one word why have two, right?

8. Presser

There's a pressing need to get this word banned soon. 

One person who nominated the word complained: "This industry buzzword has slipped into usage in news reporting and now that they have started, they can't seem to stop using it."

In fact, presser (n.) stands for a person whose occupation is pressing or ironing clothes in a laundry.

Now that's confusing, isn't it?

9. Walk it back

When you 'walk something back' it means to retract a statement or reverse an action.

The R.E.M's song that popularised it released in 2011.

It's high time 'walk it back' retires.

10. Problematic

You need to understand that not every issue is as 'problematic' as it is portrayed to be.

Very often the word was used out of context too.

'She is quite a problematic person.'

'Her problematic nature gets in the way of her friendship.'

'I have such an online shopping problem, it is so out of control. I imagine this is what being addicted to heroin is like #problematic.'

'It's officially Christmas and I'm still not finished Christmas shopping. #problematic'

Wasn't it a good idea to ban this word, after all?

11. Vape

We hope this word goes up in smoke soon.

Vape refers to the act of smoking e-cigarettes.

12. Stake holder

Someone please ask news channel reporters how can someone without a stake in something (especially business) be a stakeholder?

Nowadays even customers and clients are referred to as stakeholders on National TV!

Talk of exploiting a word.

13. Physicality

All you sports fans would have heard this word used over and over again, right?

According to it refers to the physical attributes of a person, when overdeveloped or overemphasised. It could also mean preoccupation with one's body.

'There's a lot of physicality involved.'

'Rafa, the brute physicality on the court.'

'Serena Williams highlighted her physicality in the game.'

Sounds pretty intimidating rather than inspiring, doesn't it?

Often used to describe an athlete, maybe it's time a new word got coined.


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