'Banned' Expressions For 2022?

Are you guilty of saying “wait, what?” when you hear something surprising?

What about jumping on the trend of “asking for friend” when everyone, including yourself, knows it’s for you?

If a US university had its way, those words would be banned in 2022.

Lake Superior State University in Michigan has compiled an annual banished words list since 1976 to “uphold, protect, and support excellence in language”.

While last year most of the words were Covid-related, this time around it was colloquial language that was most criticised. Not great news for us Aussies!

The nominations of what words to ban came from within the US, but also Norway, Belgium, England, Scotland, Canada and Australia. Most were shunned for overuse.

“Most people speak through informal discourse. Most people shouldn’t misspeak through informal discourse. That’s the distinction nominators far and wide made, and our judges agreed with them,” the university’s executive director of marketing and communications Peter Szatmary said.

LSSU president Dr Rodney Hanley said every year submitters suggested what words and terms to banish by paying close attention to what humanity utters and writes.

“Taking a deep dive at the end of the day and then circling back make perfect sense. Wait, what?” he joked.

Here is the list of banished words.

1. Wait, what?

This ubiquitous imperative question is a failed “response to a statement to express astonishment, misunderstanding, or disbelief,” one nominator said.

“I don’t want to wait,” said another.

2. No worries

This phrase was nominated for misuse and overuse, for being an incorrect substitute for “you’re welcome”.

“If I’m not worried, I don’t want anyone telling me not to worry,” a contributor said.

LSSU notes that despite its “meaninglessness”, the term is recommended to emailers by Google Assistant.

3. At the end of the day

Twenty-plus years after original banishment of this phrase in 1999, the day still isn’t over for this misused, overused, and useless expression, LSSU said.

“Many times things don’t end at the end of the day — or even the ramifications of whatever is happening,” one person said.

Others considered “day” an imprecise measure. Today? Present times?

4. That being said

Nominators claimed this phrase was a verbal filler, redundant justification, and pompous posturing.

“Go ahead and say what you want already!” one entrant said.

5. Asking for a friend

This funny saying was banned for misuse and overuse through deceit — because the friend is a ruse.

This cutesy phrase, often deployed in social media posts in a coy attempt to deter self-identification, isn’t fooling anyone, LSSU said.

6. Circle back

Let’s circle back about why to banish this jargon. It’s a conversation, not the Winter Olympics, LSSU said.

A grammarian said it was “the most overused phrase in business, government, or other organisation since synergy”.

The university banished the word synergy in 2002 as evasive blanket terminology and smartypants 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,” a nominator said.

Another asked if the word deep was necessary. “I mean, does anyone dive into the shallow end?” they said.

8. New normal

It wasn’t as if Covid-related words didn’t get any mention this year.

“Those clamouring for the days of old, circa 2019, use this to signal unintentionally that they haven’t come to terms with what ‘normal’ means,” one person said.

“After a couple of years, is any of this really new?” said another.

9. You’re on mute

Ah we’ve all been through this one. You’d think it would have banished on its own, but the need still pops up from time to time.

LSSU banished it for overuse and uselessness, then, due to ineptitude.

“We’re two years into remote working and visiting. It’s time for everyone to figure out where the mute button is,” a nominator said.

10. Supply chain

Word-watchers noticed the frequent, unfortunate appearance of this phrase toward the end of this year as the coronavirus persisted, LSSU said.

“Supply chain issues have become the scapegoat of everything that doesn’t happen or arrive on time and of every shortage,” said a nominator.

Being Australian, of course I use the expression 'No Worries'... to not do so is, frankly, un-Australian. Use of alternatives like 'You're welcome', or 'Think nothing of it' get you earmarked as being 'Posh', or more eloquently 'Up yourself'...

Any others, while we're at it?!?!?


To the memory of Vladislav Illich-Svitych.

This is just to bring attention to something very ‘Nostratic’ (far beyond ‘Indo-European’ languages — which as a term itself is very outdated):

udi̮ni̮ (Udmurt), udni̮ (Komi) - to give to drink;
utta (Vepssian) - squeeze out;
udar, gen. udara (Est.), udār (ливон.), uhar (Votic), uar (Izhora), utare, udar (Fin.), udareh (Karelian), udare (Ludic), udar (Veps.) - udder, feeding breast;
odar (Erzia., Moksha), βoδar, vodar (Mari) - udder, feeding breast;
udder (archaic Eng.), uder (archaic Frisian), uyder (archaic Dutch), uijer (Dutch), utar (archaic Ger.), Euter (Ger.) - udder, feeding breast;
[outhar] (Greek), uber (Latin) - udder, feeding breast;
[udhar] (Sanskrit) - udder, feeding breast.

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Finnish Sampo and Vedic Stambha (स्तम्भ )

sammas, gen. samba, also Sampo (Fin., Est.) - in Finnic mythology: space pillar, pillar that supports the sky; a magic mill, the roof of which symbolizes the star-studded celestial dome revolving around the central axis - the pillar on which the whole World rests; according to Graham Hancock, the Sampo mill represents the precession of the Earth's axis of rotation, the full cycle of which is about 25,765 years: http://kladina.narod.ru/hancock/chast5.htm ; См. https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Прецессия ).

स्तम्भ [stambha, skambha; стамбха, скамбха] (Sanskrit) - in the Indian Vedas, the column connecting the Heavens (svarga) and the Earth (prithivi); also a monumental stone pillar in Indian architecture topped with a lotus-shaped capital.

жамба [zhamba] (Ingush language, Caucasus) - a column from the middle and above.

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Three one-hundredths of a second

(Somewhat prompted by watching the Olympics.)

Why is that silly redundancy there in "three one-hundredths of a second"? Nobody says "two one-thirds of a second", or "four one-tenths of a second"; what so special in 100 as the denominator?

As a L2 English speaker, I cannot tell how unnatural to a L1 eye/ear would "three hundredths of a second" look/sound. I have little doubt that it will be understood; but how much of a mistake would it be?

EUROPA, etymology

"... Agenor, king of the Phoenician city of Sidon, had a beautiful daughter Europa, literally (in Greek) the "wide-eyed". In fact, of course, not Europe is named after some daughter of Agenor, but, vice versa. There is an opinion that this word comes from the ancient Semitic "erebus" "west", "evening", "country of sunset", and the Greek meaning is just a result of people's rethinking."
prof. L.S.Klein, Time of the Centaurs (Время Кентавров), St. Petersburg, Eurasia, 2010, p. 13.

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Word 'Climax'. A note for aspiring etymologists.

The English word climax has two seemingly incompatible meanings of "climax" and "orgasm". Yet, we should not forget that the word has not only a specific meaning, but also a more general, broader meaning, not of a 'specialized' term.

Let's illustrate this via an example: a person may have a profession of a lawyer - yet, within this profession there are many specialties: a judge, an arbitrator, a prosecutor, a notary...

The general meaning for the word climax is 'the highest point, the culmination.' But there are several applied, special, narrower meanings. Climax is the culmination of adulthood - yet, climax as 'orgasm' is the culmination of pleasure.

The etymologist is obliged to grasp a common semantic core, which allows different meanings to co-exist under one 'sound roof'.

I was once amazed that the Arabic word شراء [SHARA] means both “buy” and “sell” at the same time. And now I look at this calmly: both narrow, special meanings go back to the broader, general meaning: "to engage in trade."

Valeriy D. Osipov