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Thread: Banished Words for 2021

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    Banished Words for 2021

    The long national nightmare is over! (No, we still have about 19 days to wait for that one to end, God willing!) I mean the wait for the Annual List of Banished Words. Here's the 2021 Version.

    One new feature of the web page: a definition of each of the banished words, along with reason for its inclusion.

    Fellow NitLetters may remember my aversion to the use of "reference" as a verb. It appears in LSSU's description of "pivot," but I agree with the critique itself. (Yesterday a political reporter had a little fun with the words "pivot" and "divot," concerning the Golfer-in-Chief.)

    This year I've heard some words which have moved from the realm of nouns to verbs:

    "Caveat," as in "I'll caveat that statement with a word of advice." Granted: the ancient Latin word stems from a two-word hortatory expression, "Caveat emptor." But the literal translation of "Let the. . ." sounds peculiar when used as a straight-up verb in English.

    "Distance" (as in "social distancing" in the LSSU list) similarly contains a noun as part of a verb phrase, often as a split infinitive: "to social(ly) distance." What strikes me funny is that the phrase "social distant" once described a person who freely avoids parties and conviviality — a "cold fish", or as in the cliché about an alleged perpetrator, "he kept to himself."

    The word "transition" has been a noun, at least as long as yours fooly can remember (and that's a long, long time.) A verb usually precedes the word; for instance, "Help me make a smooth transition into geezerhood." But this past year, I've been hearing "transition" as a stand-alone verb.

    "Transition" as a verb has popped up in several statements about a certain event to occur on January 20 in the USA (or at least scheduled as such.) But more likely you'll hear the word in terms of education: "Middle schools and high schools will transition into a virtual learning environment."

    I'd love to see members of NitLet "community" tell us which words and phrases from 2020 (or any year) ought to be banished. (Note that I didn't say "need to be" as a euphemism for "should" or "must.")

    Post 'em right on this thread.

    Oh, and Happy New Year! (Whatever happens, it can't be any worse than 2020. Can it?)


    https://www.lssu.edu/traditions/banishedwords/#toggle-id-1
    Last edited by AuntShecky; 12-31-2020 at 04:01 PM.

  2. #2
    MANICHAEAN MANICHAEAN's Avatar
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    The seemingly obligatory "Thank you for having me," by TV guests on CNN, as opposed to "Thank you for inviting me."

    Happy New Year Aunty.

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    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    As an non native it would be difficult for me to contribute to this list, but two words caught my eyes:

    Sus- It is by coincidence, the shortage of the name of the Brazilian national health system, Sistema Único de Saúde.

    Karen-How was poor Karen drawn into this?

    Personally I also would like to be able to banish the expression "new normal". I long for the normal being just again normal.

    And the not so small word efficacy, as the possibility of mass vaccination in my country hinges around it.

    A healthy and happy 2021 to all of you!
    Last edited by Danik 2016; 01-01-2021 at 12:24 PM.
    #Stay home as much as you can and stay well

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    I agree with banning the "Thank you for having me" line, Manichaean. And Danik, "the new normal" was one of the expressions I was going to add today. Thank you both for weighing in.

    Now, "Wait for it. . .wait for it." (How irritating is that expression? Nothing like drawing attention to a surprise that should be self-evident.
    It's similar to what E. B. White wrote that using more than one exclamation point: "It's like laughing at one's own jokes." (No offense, Conan.)

    And there's still some national misunderstanding of the apostrophe. I saw this in an ad: "Our's is cheaper!!" (With two exclamation points.)

    Also, how about the term "reimagine"? It's worse than "rethink."

    Keep posting these, NitLetters. It's a mild way of indulging in the Great American Pastime: righteous indignation.
    Last edited by AuntShecky; 01-02-2021 at 05:45 PM.

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    Weather reports: "Peaks of sun" when they mean "peeks."

    More and more I'm seeing the word "roll" confused with the noun "role." It popped up just a few minutes ago, on msn.com of all places. Those editors should know better!
    (Maybe that's how they "role.")

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    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    Hi, Auntie!

    Had a peek at the word "peek" but am still a bit confused.
    Here is what I found: https://www.vocabulary.com/articles/...ak-peek-pique/
    #Stay home as much as you can and stay well

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    Wait until you throw in the different pronunciations!

    My favourite USA / UK ones are the words, "route, root & rout."

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    Botanic Confusion

    [I'm going to attempt a short posting here, but the notorious CloudFlare is up to its nasty tricks again, so it's anybody's guess if the following shows up.]

    In the past two weeks or so, I've heard tv pundits expressing the concept of a compromise by offering "a fig leaf."

    I may be wrong (won't be the first time!), but yours fooly always thought the term for a peace-making gesture was "extending an olive branch."

    Traditionally, the former term refers to a adding a feature to a sculpture in order to convert it from a X- to an R-rating.

    Maybe it's part of a political "cover up."

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    Sportscasters love saying, "This team controls its own destiny." (This means if they win all their games they can reap some benefit regardless of what other teams do.)

    News flash! You can't control "destiny". By definition.

  10. #10
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    Lol! Indeed a peculiar use of " fig leaf".
    #Stay home as much as you can and stay well

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    On the same cable news channel on separate programs, I heard two different commentators confuse the same term.

    They said “craven” when I’m fairly sure they meant “blatant.” Or even “brazen.” Neither word is an “auto-antonym,” but each word is a near-opposite to the other. Each word has two syllables with a long ”a,” so perhaps this is the reason for the mix-up.

    Every once in a while, a similar little verbal mistake pops up. For instance, recently pundits have been talking about offering fig leaves when they most likely mean olive branches.

    I mention this on this “Banished Words” thread not —as is said —“to call them out” but rather to keep track of our ever-changing language. As an example, we could trace how the former spelling of “all right” changed into
    one word with one “l” way back to the 1960s when rock groups first started printing song lyrics on the backs of vinyl record album covers. (Remember vinyl? Remember record albums?)

    I realize that the best intended “descriptive” grammarian can seem like a strict “prescriptive” grammarian at times. Yours fooly is the last person who should claim to be the latter. I’ll tell you, my pronouns and their antecedents not only disagree — they often engage in out-and-out warfare!
    Last edited by AuntShecky; 04-09-2021 at 05:10 PM.

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    Hi Aunty

    Thank you for raising this subject again; which as a general rule of intellectual hygiene seems to be a strange disease of modern life.

    If language is perhaps charades on grammatical steroids; then this in itself makes the erratic components of language difficult to be arranged by writers as living images.

    Bear with this OAP if I break down my take on it as follows:

    There are many old words that have fallen into disuse, which to my mind need reviving. They have almost become esoteric. I think for example: anon, methinks, bosky, coign, furibund, besprent, fain, raiment, wend, avail, whets and swart come to mind. All perfectly usable in the right context.

    Words that have evolved with more contemporary meanings, like “gay” or “spin.” In fact, I would ask myself is “Up yours” a malediction, or “a dumb ***” unsagacious?

    The changing of spelling, as you have already noted. For example, “phasis,” or my favourite “manoeuvre,” which word check invariably jumps upon.

    The nuances or political correctness of current speech. Notable examples are:

    The royal “We,” used by Margaret Thatcher and others when referring to oneself.

    “My partner,” which seems to be sugarcoating the fact that one is either; gay, neutral, metrosexual, swinging both ways, or God forbid, heterosexual. It begs the question as to whether there is an antipode aspect?

    Diversionary language, especially among politicians engaged in rhetorical adoxogrophy.

    “I think it's important to focus on.” / I’m not going to answer your question, so let's switch the subject. The greatest proponent for this in the UK is the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is invariably specious in his formal replies.

    “I understand what you are saying,” / I don’t give a toss.

    “We have serious concerns.” / We are bloody angry, but can’t do a thing about it.

    “It's a challenge.” / We have failed to overcome it.

    More sugar coated language.

    “He is with the angels.” / Well, I hope he is, but I can’t guarantee.

    Celebrity speak. I vote this group in general first prize for being ineffable in basic communication.

    Thus, will their knee jerk response of “awesome,” ever be replaced by something like “portentous?” If Bony M could resurrect the wording of the song “By the Rivers of Babylon” from the Psalms, why not? Or does it infringe into a twilight zone betwixt a superlative or a hyperbole?

    Also, let's not forget the language of the American thirties. I was reminded of that recently upon reading Raymond Chandler. Could there be a renaissance for words like; “bum, punk or sap?”

    Tropes. These move with relentless acceleration to the final precipice and require no elaboration.

    I finish with the 19th Century English gentlemen’s parlance, as epitomized in Jeeves and Wooster. Who could ignore the phrase “I say,” followed by nothing, except an exclamation of “What, what!” / Loosely translated as “I wish to make a point,” and “I presume you all agree?”

    Finally. I think imperative to identify the danger of when shrouded meanings and grim intentions are nicely polished up and pokerfaced personae are generously palming off their fantasy constructs.

  13. #13
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    Methinks I might have used some of the words above, with the feelings of using very selected vernacular only accessible to natives .

    Today there appeared in the New York Times an glossary about Democratic and Republican political vocabulary. I don´t post the Link because political discussions aren´t permitted here, but it might interest some of you.
    #Stay home as much as you can and stay well

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    One more time, CNN and MSNBC: "Reticent" does not mean the same as reluctant or hesitant.

    And here's a new one I saw on a web page yesterday about superstitions: that black cats have gotten a "bad wrap." The writer must've meant "bad rap." By the bye, speaking of black cats and superstitions, you haven't lived until you've seen a fifties-era MGM cartoon by Tex Avery: "Bad Luck Blackie."

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