Home » Life & Society » Some words deserve death. Here are 13

Some words deserve death. Here are 13

Lamat R Hasan | Updated on: 14 February 2017, 5:11 IST

We may have no scars to prove it. But words hurt.

And no one knows it better than Lake Superior State University (LSSU), which has been banishing words for their "misuse, overuse and general uselessness" for over 40 years.

The first impromptu list was prepared at a New Year's Eve party in 1975 by LSSU public relations director Bill Rabe. Ever since this Michigan-based university has been banishing words.

Also read - Words have officially failed us: Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year is an emoji

So, if the wordsmiths at LSSU had their way we will no longer be able to use the word "So". The word has been banished for its uselessness.

Here's a peek into the 13 other offenders that find a mention in the 2016 list:


The word received the maximum nominations for banishment this year.

"So" had been banished once before in 1999 - though in a different context. Nominators then wanted usages such as: "I am SO down with this list" and "So(oo) my dad was in a classical music club..." put to sleep.

"So it's getting really annoying. So can we please put a stop to this?"

So, we have.


Online publications invite us to "join the conversation," which is usually more of a scream-fest, reads the nomination for the 41st edition of the banished word list.

Over the past five years or so, this word has been increasingly used by talking heads on radio, television and in political circles to describe every form of verbal communication known to mankind.

It has replaced "discussion, debate, chat, discourse, argument, lecture, talk" - all of which can provide some context to the nature of the communication.


This word has become "a trendy replacement for 'that is a problem'."

Anything that the speaker finds vaguely inconvenient or undesirable. Such as an opposing political belief or bad traffic.

This problematic word has been banished.


A word that has expanded from describing someone who may actually have a stake in a situation or problem.

The word is now being employed as a business term to describe customers and others.

"LSSU, please engage your stakeholders by adding this pretentious jargon to your list," wrote Gwendolyn Barlow, nominating the word for banishment.

Price point

Is replacing the word "price" or "cost".

"It may be standard business-speak, but must it contaminate everyday speech?" wrote Kevin Carney, who nominated the word.

Death to price point.

Secret sauce

Usually used in a sentence explaining the "secret" in excruciating public detail.

"Is this a metaphor for business success based on the fast food industry?" asked John Beckett, who is tired of seeing the word used.

LSSU has banished it from its vocabulary.

Break the internet

A phrase that is annoying online word-watchers around the world. A word that indicates Internet traffic that will break the internet.

If Sunny Leone couldn't do it, who will?

Walk it back

Retract a statement, mostly political.

Why does every politician have to "walk it back" after making a statement?

"The statement no longer has any validity or meaning once it has been 'walked back,'" wrote Max Hill.


The shortened form of "press release" and "press conference".

"This industry buzzword has slipped into usage in news reporting and now that they have started, they can't seem to stop using it," wrote Richard W Varney, who listed the word with LSSU.

Can't kill the pressers. But the word - yes.


A word that is familiar to those in bigger cities, where seats on the bus or the metro are difficult to find.

If the word is disgusting-sounding, imagine being part of an anti-manspreading campaign demanding more space for men on public transport.


Vape and vaping are used to describe the act of 'smoking' e-cigarettes since the products emit vapour instead of smoke.

David Ervin who nominated the word for misuse wrote: "Hope the word goes up in smoke".

We do to.

Giving me life

The phrase refers to anything that may excite a person. Or something that causes one to laugh.

"I suggest banishing this hyperbole for over-use," wrote Ana Robbins.

That's life after death.


Overused by every sports broadcaster and writer.

"Every time I hear them say it, I change the channel," posted Brenda Ruffing, to the LSSU website.

Now that the list is out, there's obviously no walking back. So, celebrate this boon - you stakeholders of Queen's English.

More in Catch - Manspreading & butt-dial: Oxford dictionary's new words are awesomesauce

First published: 7 January 2016, 12:18 IST
Lamat R Hasan @LamatAyub

Bats for the four-legged, can't stand most on two. Forced to venture into the world of homo sapiens to manage uninterrupted companionship of 16 cats, 2 dogs and counting... Can read books and paint pots and pay bills by being journalist.