To win the future, heed this ginormous list of amazing (but overused) words
The headline above contains a generous sampling from this year's 'List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness.' Read on.
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Baby bump. A cuter way to describe a woman carrying an unborn child than the word “pregnant.”Skip to next paragraph
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Shared sacrifice. Petitioners interpreted this phrase, popularized by political backbenchers to corporate middle managers, as a stealth way to get others to give more without having to do anything themselves.
Occupy. The Occupy Wall Street movement that gained traction in the fall popularized this word that now is used to describe anything that protesters feel needs scrutiny. Examples: Occupy Flash Player and Occupy Sesame Street.
Blowback. Corporate jingoism meaning resistance.
Man cave. Men no longer have home offices, dens, or workshops. Instead, they now have “man caves,” a phrase many petitioners say was popularized by home design and home-buying TV shows.
The new normal: Normal wasn’t good enough. It had to be freshened up by the word “new.” Marketing trends experts and self-help gurus popularized this phrase, which they use to define a new method or environment that is here to stay – until the new "new normal" shows up, that is.
Pet parent. Some animal lovers shun suggestions that people "own" dogs or cats. This phrase evolved to describe a gauzier relationship with domesticated animals, which has the possibility of irking actual human offspring.
Win the future. President Obama and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich overuse this phrase, among other politicians. It means to galvanize supporters, but many petitioners say it is ultimately meaningless jingoism.
Trickeration. This isn’t even a real word, but it is often used by football play-by-play broadcasters to put trick plays in the context of science.
Ginormous. Another fake word used to describe something larger than large and bigger than big.
Thank you in advance. The closing line of many job applicants' cover letters, which many petitioners said sounds condescending and almost a dare.
The university doesn’t expect any of the banned words or phrases to disappear anytime soon. After all, “24/7” (2000), “mute point” (1990), and “ball park figure” (1980) are past winners and remain widely used today. The hope is that people think about what they say and the words they choose to say it.
“If people are passionate about language, that’s a good thing,” Shibley says.
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