Grammar

University Releases Annual ‘Banished Words’ List for 2022

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Every year, Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, releases a list of banished words it would like to see disappear for ever.

Lake Superior State University collects submissions each year of words or phrases people want banned. From the submissions, they put together a list of “banished words” for the new year.

It’s a tongue-in-cheek list, their press release states. After all, if getting people to stop using annoying words could be as easy as publishing a list, there’d be far fewer annoying words to contend with.

The words and phrases that make up the yearly list get targeted for banishment for “misuse, overuse, and uselessness.” Most of 2022’s list were colloquial phrases.

I’m sure you will see plenty of familiar ones here.

Judges compiled this year’s list of 10 from more than 1,250 nominations.

I won’t spoil the whole list here.

But I’m sure you probably hate the number one.

The first pick for a banish-worthy phrase is, “Wait, what?”

LSSU English Department judges concluded the phrase is “disingenuous, divergent, deflective, and other damning words that begin with the letter d.”

The phrase is usually used when feigning shock or confusion. It has become a cliché intended to imply the speaker (or writer) is surprised about something they clearly have already encountered. So the phrase feels a little fake even if you might find it amusing for a split second.

And yes, I’m sure I’ve used it plenty of times on this blog. Maybe I have a new New Year’s Resolution!

Here’s the one I hate the most.

I chuckled when I saw the fifth item on their list. We use this one after we ask a pointed question and then want to pretend that we had no ill intent in asking it: “Asking for a friend.”

Judges described the “cutesy phrase” as “misuse and overuse through deceit.”

Why deceit? Well, of course, there’s no friend. You’re asking for yourself. Everybody knows it.

You’re not fooling anyone, least of all the person you just insulted with the question.


You can check out all 10 of the phrases here. You’ll find short explanations about why the judges couldn’t resist including each one for banishment.

Which from the banished words list would you most like to see vanish in 2022?

the authorPatrick
Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.

1 Comment

  • “That being said” drives me nuts. In the first place, it should be “that having been said.” Really, though, it’s just another way of saying “but.” I consider it to be code for “Get ready, now I’m dropping the other shoe.”

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