(MoneyWatch) For the past 38 years Lake Superior State University has compiled a list of words and expressions that should be banished from the English language. Submissions to the list are taken all year and this tiny college of just 3,000 students receives thousands of submissions from all over the country.
This year, the expression Americans would most like banished is, predictably "the fiscal cliff." Not only is "fiscal" awkward jargon, the phrase has been used so much lately, it could almost be confused for a place. One submitter said the whole fiscal cliff made him wallow in the "river of debt" and consider visiting the "mountain of despair." If only there were a "fiscal plank" that we could have members of Congress walk, if they're unable to reach a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff. (Just a thought....)
Other top submissions of words and expressions needing banishment:
Kick the can down the road: A child's game has turned into the way legislators express their inability to do their jobs. Rassmussen reports that just 5 percent of Americans think Congress is doing an excellent job. Perhaps it's time voters kicked these do-nothings to the curb.
Double-down: Oh stop it.
Job creators/creation: This gives the impression that any company that hires a new worker has supernatural powers and may be able to walk on water or levitate. Let's call them successful business people, shall we?
Passion/passionate: Passion can be a great thing in the appropriate setting, but when every movie star is "passionate" about 65 different causes; pharmaceutical companies are "passionate" about solving disease one costly drug at a time; and "seared tuna will taste like dust swept from a station platform, until it is cooked passionately," we know we have mistaken passion for mild interest or skill and should move on.
YOLO: This expression, which stands for "you only live once," is used by every knucklehead in the country to explain why they narrowly missed being on this year's listing of Darwin award winners. At least the expression "it seemed like a good idea at the time" intimates you won't be doing a similarly stupid action again soon. In this case, the YOLO set appear unrepentant and unwilling to learn.
Spoiler alert: Expression used to ridicule the one member of the YOLO set who has the functioning brain cells to say: "Uh, not a good idea...."
Bucket List: Five-year-old movie about the things two cancer patients wanted to do before they died. See YOLO and get over it already.
Trending: Trend, turned into a verb, is ever so much more annoying than when "Googling," which was a made-up name, became a verb. Hopefully, like pet rocks, this fad of talking up what's trending will fade.
Superfood: This refers to anything that hasn't been triple-processed; hydrogenated; dried; or placed into a plastic wrapper that will keep it fresh for 25 years. People used to call this food.
Boneless wings: No bones, no wings. How much do you know about flight? These are chicken parts. You don't need to buy into the food processing company's marketing.
Guru: Unless you're in an ashram, you are probably referring to an expert.