January 8, 2013

Top 12 Annoying Words And Phrases Of 2012

As we have moved into 2012, the media in all its forms has begun their lists of best of and worst of 2012. One such list includes words. In an article on CNN, author Thom Patterson reports about Lake Superior State University’s list of useless, overused, or misused terms from 2012. redOrbit discussed a few, but let’s delve into all 12 choices for 2012.

1) Yolo

I had never heard this acronym before reading this article. Yolo, or you only live once, grew in popularity specifically through Twitter, which is why I had never heard it. I do not tweet, so I do not really know much about that social network’s world. Apparently, though, tweeters worldwide would use yolo as a philosophical phrase much in the way people use carpe diem. Now, though, tweeters are swearing off using it because “wannabe Twitter philosophers who think they’ve uncovered a deep secret of life” are the ones who ruined this clever little acronym.

2) Fiscal cliff

Man, I could not agree more with this. In the days and weeks prior to the financial deal reached late January 1, 2012, this phrase dominated news shows, sites, and cycles. I am actually interested in politics to an extent but I grew wary of the discussion. Media often uses buzz words and jargon to grab the attention of viewers, readers, and listeners. I do not like it. Buzz words and jargon often misrepresent or manipulate. I just wish media would use accurate descriptions like financial crisis. Thanks to this CNN article for pointing that simple descriptor out.

3) Kick the can down the road

Here is another example of political jargon used in discussions and debates. This cliché is seriously overused by pundits, politicians, and reporters. Why can’t they just say short-term fix?

4) Job creator or job creators

This phrase insights almost immediate disdain. It is class warfare at its finest, and politicians on both sides use it to manipulate voters. Gross.

5) Passion or passionate

I’m going to use exact language from the CNN article here because I couldn’t say it better myself.

“The popularity of this word results from the ‘bloating of the language of corporate life,’ Nunberg [a linguist from University of California at Berkley] says. ‘People are expected to manifest a kind of emotional attachment and investment in their jobs that wasn’t required back when jobs were a lot more secure.’”

I do love my jobs (both as a prof and a freelance writer), and I happen to be passionate about them. But sometimes a job is just a job…and that should be okay.

6) Superfood

If people weren’t so addicted to junk food, we would call these “superfoods” just food.

7) Boneless wings

Gosh, I did not know that these even existed, and I do not really understand how they can be wings without bones. What an interesting marketing plan. Interesting—is that the word I mean?

8) Trending

Isn’t it a little trendy to use trending in discussions? Here we have another example of an overused word that could pack a punch if used appropriately. Passion and trending should both hold power; instead, people misuse or overuse them. For these two words, that takes the power away from them.

9) Bucket list

I have to say I have never really liked this phrase because it implies that people are not doing what they want to do regularly thus they have to create a list to keep them focused on their desires. This seems a bit like unwitting surrender to the mundane. Instead of a bucket list, people should just do. Instead of just hypothetically discussing jumping out of an airplane, just do it.

10) Spoiler alert

In an attempt to warn others from finding out what happens, many people, tv shows, websites, and even radio programs have started to say this. It’s succinct, but it is also annoying.

11) Guru

It seems everyone is a guru of something these days. A guru is a spiritual teacher who imparts wisdom. It is not an easy role to achieve or fill. To say that one is a financial guru implies more than just someone who is good at finances. It implies a religious intent. It also lessens the importance of true gurus.

12) Double down

Too much poker. That’s all I have to say about that.

I’d like to add one word: literally. This word is so overused and misused that I can’t take it anymore. I’m literally losing my mind.

Okay, so here’s what I like about this list: it’s fun and lighthearted, and it brings these useless, overused, or misused words to our attention. I do not believe they should be stricken from the language because I do not believe in censorship of any kind. I do believe that we should use our words carefully and correctly. Lake Superior State University’s list of words shows us those that we don’t use correctly. My hope is we will start to use them more appropriately.

Image Credit: Photos.com

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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