DETROIT - 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.
For all the words coming in for a "shellacking," he was surprised President Barack Obama's endlessly dissected term to describe his party's performance in November's mid-term elections didn't merit one vote.
Still, Washington-speak made an appearance. Several American people vetoed the phrase "The American People."
But those who just want to keep on saying the words or phrases that made the annual list can take heart. Although it does bring attention to the school in Sault St. Marie - the last stop before Michigan's northernmost border crossing with Canada - it doesn't really change the way people talk. After all, "tweet" and "sexting" made last year's list. And other previously banished items have included "carbon footprint" (2008), "LOL" (2004) and "state of the art" (1993).
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