This is a time of year I always look forward to. Via The Star: Banned words list for 2011 includes ‘viral,’ ‘epic,’ a dozen others. Of course I don't endorse the idea of "banning" words, but this list at least makes us think about terms we may use unthinkingly. Excerpt:
It’s official: Viral went viral, and now it’s been virtually vaporized.
Michigan’s Lake Superior State University features the term linked to popular online video clips in its annual List of Words to Be Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness.
The 2011 list, compiled by the university from nominations submitted from across North America throughout the year, was released Friday.
Nominators did more than vanquish “viral.” They also repudiated Sarah Palin’s “refudiate,” flunked “fail” and weren’t at all wowed by “wow factor.”
In all, 14 words or phrases made the cut to be, well, cut from conversation.
The call to banish viral was vociferous, garnering more nominations than any other. “This linguistic disease of a term must be quarantined,” Kuahmel Allah of Los Angeles wrote in his submission. “If one more thing goes viral, I’m buying a Hazmat suit and moving into a clean-room.”
Other entries showed people’s apparent aversion to simple language, hence the call to “live life to the fullest” when they could just live, promoting every foible or stumble to “fail,” or super-sizing every reasonably good time to an “epic” event.
“Standards for using ‘epic’ are so low, even ‘awesome’ is embarrassed.” said Mike of Kettering, Ohio, whose submission came with no last name.
Appropriately, Lake Superior State spokesman Tom Pink stopped short of describing this year’s batch of submissions as “epic.” Rather, he viewed it as solid and typical — based on more than 1,000 nominations, once he and his colleagues sorted out phrases previously banned in the list’s 36-year history.