SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. — It’s time to put these phrases on mute. Wait, what?
“Wait, what?” topped the list of Lake Superior State University’s 2022 Banished Words List, an annual look at words and phrases that have become overused.
The university has released its list since 1976, CNN reported. In the past year, people from all over the world submitted more than 1,250 words for consideration.
“Wait, what?” is most frequently found in texts and on social media, the contest judges from the LSSU English Department said in a statement.
“These two four-letter words should not go together under any circumstances,” the judges wrote. “The two-part halting interrogative is disingenuous, divergent, deflective, and other damning words that begin with the letter d.”
Second on the list is “no worries,” followed by “at the end of the day.”
The rest of the top 10:
- “That being said.”
- “Asking for a friend.”
- “Circle back.”
- “Deep dive.”
- “New normal.”
- “You’re on mute.”
- “Supply chain.”
“Most people speak through informal discourse. Most people shouldn’t misspeak through informal discourse. That’s the distinction nominators far and wide made, and our judges agreed with them,” Peter Szatmary, executive director of marketing and communications at LSSU, said in a statement. “Also, seven of the 10 words and terms that LSSU banished last year reflected real-world concerns about COVID-19, while three could be categorized as quotidian. This year, as the global pandemic persists along with adaptations to it, the inverse occurred. Seven of the 10 words and terms to be banished are more conversational-based, with the other three applying to the coronavirus.”
Each phrase is followed by an explanation from the judges. For example, “at the end of the day” is a particular thorn in the judges’ sides.
“Twenty-plus years after original banishment of this phrase in 1999, the day still isn’t over for this misused, overused, and useless expression,” the judges wrote. In 1999, the phrase was banned because it was termed an “overused synopsis of a conversation or debate, often by politicians and pundits.”
“Circle back,” the judges wrote, ”treats colloquy like an ice skating rink, as if we must circle back to our previous location to return to a prior subject. Let’s circle back about why to banish this jargon. It’s a conversation, not the Winter Olympics.”
“One possible takeaway from all this about the act and art and science of disclosing something is the more things change, the more things stay the same,” Szatmary said. “At the very least, it’s complicated.”
“Say what you mean and mean what you say. Can’t get any easier, or harder, than that,” LSSU President Rodney S. Hanley said in a statement. “Every year submitters play hard at suggesting what words and terms to banish by paying close attention to what humanity utters and writes. Taking a deep dive at the end of the day and then circling back make perfect sense. Wait, what?”
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