Thursday, August 23, 2012

Banished Words

Writers try to find the perfect words to express thoughts or situations in fresh ways, giving a new twist on old ideas. But sometimes I fall into the cliche' trap, using worn out words and over-used phrases. Somewhere in my travels (okay, is that cliche' too?) I read that the word uber was banished.  I'm relieved. I'm uber tired of that one. But I began to wonder if I am guilty of using other words placed on the chopping block.

Here's the 2012 list of banished words, according to Lake Superior State University:
  • Amazing.  (I'm amazingly guilty of overusing that word.)
  • Baby bump.
  • Shared sacrifice.
  • Occupy.
  • Blowback.
  • Man cave.
  • The new normal.
  • Pet Parent.
  • Win the future.
  • Trickeration.
  • Ginormous.
  • Thank you in advance.
I did pretty good with the above list, since I've rarely, if ever, used most of them.  But, I'm behind the times (cliche', I know), so I thought I'd better check on the 2011 banished words:
  • Viral.
  • Epic.
  • Fail.
  • Wow factor.
  • A-ha moment.
  • Back story.
  • BFF
  • Man up.
  • Refudiate.
  • Mama grizzlies.
  • The American people.
  • I'm just sayin'.
  • Facebook/Google used as verbs
  • Live life to the fullest.
O-oh.  About 50% of that list have crossed my lips, dare I dig any deeper? I checked one more year (2010) and cringed. Seems I catch onto words when they are already well past their prime. 

So, just to make sure I was good and paranoid about my vocabulary, I read the Writer's Digest list of 12 Cliches All Writers Should Avoid :
  1. Avoid it like the plague
  2. Dead as a doornail
  3. Take the tiger by the tail
  4. Low hanging fruit
  5. If only walls could talk
  6. The pot calling the kettle black
  7. Think outside the box
  8. Thick as thieves
  9. But at the end of the day
  10. Plenty of fish in the sea
  11. Every dog has its day
  12. Like a kid in the candy store
Ouch. I realized most of those phrases are as old as the hills yet I would have to sheepishly raise my hand nine times if questioned, "Do you use these?" Tired old phrases are my downfall.

Reading these lists (and more) opened my eyes, but also challenged my brain. How many other worn out phrases have I mindlessly rattled off? Seems I can't stop thinking about them.

And when listening to conversations, I catch myself thinking smugly, "That is soooo cliche'." How can I judge when I am guilty of the same crime? Is that considered an epic fail? Am I in a rut? Maybe ignorance truly was bliss.

Oh well, it is what it is. No use getting my panties in a wad over it, after all, it's not like my goose is cooked.   

Help! I've fallen in the cliche' trap and I can't get up!

1 comment:

  1. Good grief, I didn't even know such a list existed. I wonder if "good grief" is further back on the list? Haha!