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2022 Banished Words List

09:57, 19-01-2022

'No worries,' 'you're on mute' and 'circle back' should be banished, annual list says

They and several others make up Lake Superior State University's Banished Words List, an annual list amassed from submissions around the world, which highlights phrases or words that are becoming overused to the point of uselessness.

This year, nominations came from most major U.S. cities and many U.S. states, on top of Norway, Belgium, England, Scotland, Australia, and numerous provinces in Canada. Here are the list of the banished words and terms for 2022 and the reasons for their banishment:

1. Wait, what?

Most frequently found in text or on social media, this ubiquitous imperative question is a failed “response to a statement to express astonishment, misunderstanding, or disbelief,” explained a wordsmith. “I hate it,” added another, because the command query is an inexact method to convey the utterer’s uncertainty or surprise. “I don’t want to wait,” either, continued the second impassioned nominator. Misuse and overuse.

2. No worries

Nominated by writers nationwide for misuse and overuse, this phrase incorrectly substitutes for “You’re welcome” when someone says “Thank you.” A further bungling relates to insensitivity. “If I’m not worried, I don’t want anyone telling me not to worry,” a contributor explicated. “If I am upset, I want to discuss being upset.”

3. At the end of the day

This phrase made its first appearance on the Banished list in 1999, but at the end of the day, people still love to use it. Critics say "day" is an imprecise measurement and "things don't end at the end of the day."

4. That being said

People call the phrase a useless word filler and redundant justification. Other words such as "however," "but" or "that said" are better alternatives, according to the responses.

5. Asking for a friend

Many use this phrase to avoid being identified. Social media posts with the phrase hint at someone else, but we all know who you're asking for. Submitters cite misuse and overuse.

6. Circle back

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. Opined a grammarian, “The most overused phrase in business, government, or other organization since ‘synergy’”—which we banished in 2002 as evasive blanket terminology and smarty-pants puffery.

7. Deep dive

“The only time to dive into something is when entering a body of water, not going more in-depth into a particular subject or book,” admonished a petitioner. Another stipulated that people who float the phrase aren’t near pool, lake, ocean, or sea; thus, rather than dive deeply, they flounder shallowly. An editing whiz wondered, “Do we need ‘deep’? I mean, does anyone dive into the shallow end?”

2022 Banished Words and Terms Deriving from COVID-19 Matters:

8. New normal

The overuse of this phrase stems from how the pandemic affected humankind, but one person says, "After a couple of years, is any of this really ‘new’?”

9. You’re on mute

The COVID-19 pandemic caused many businesses and organizations to move to virtual meetings. And we've all been here. Let's hope we all can locate the unmute button in 2022.

10. Supply chain

Headlines were flooded with this term toward the end of the year citing the numerous issues we've seen with consumer goods shortages. One response said the phrase is simply a buzzword and scapegoat for any item that doesn't arrive on time.

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