A Word, Please?


Eliminating a few dozen words from the lexicon will make for a better 2013
WORDSIt’s the New Year, time for all those obligatory and oh-so-hilarious “Best” and “Worst” lists for the previous year along with predictions for the coming year.

I’m taking a different approach. Since nothing good happened in 2012, I’m off the hook for a “Best” list. And a “Worst” list would be a depressing way to start the New Year.

I’ve decided to take a more proactive approach and create a few lists that will, for me at least, assure that 2013 is a better year than 2012. In the spirit of creeping nanny-statism, I’m going to start by banning things.

Since I work in the world of words, I’ve decided to declare a “War on Words,” or at least words that I deem to be of no further use.

Without delay, I present the List of Words and Terms Banned in 2013: “fiscal,” “cliff,” “millionaires and billionaires,” “hammered,” “middle class” and “level playing field.”

I further declare a ban on the use of “literally,” “virtually,” “totally” and “seriously?”

I am also efforting to prioritize a ban on the words “efforting” and “prioritize.”

“Bodega” “bodacious” and “bromance” are hereby barred. And “bistro” makes four.

Had enough yet? I’m just getting warmed up. I decree that the following words and terms may not be spoken or written in 2013: “trending,” “polling,” “branding,” “outlier,” “margin of error” and “expert opinion.”

And for good measure, throw out “tipping point, “PowerPoint” and “point being.”

And I won’t abide any word bearing the prefix “Franken-” or the suffix “–mageddon.” Examples: “Frankenstorm” and “snowmageddon.”

Am I finished? Not even close. “Shared sacrifice,” “fair share,” “proportionality” and any word paired with “comprehensive” are hereby proscribed.

As are anything “green” “smart” “alternative” or “renewable.”

I will also ban “military style,” “Gangnam Style” and “style points.”

“Thanks in advance,” “don’t ask,” “must-have,” “oh snap” and “quality time” are hereafter off limits.

“Man up,” “marry up” and “uptick” are forbidden in 2013.

And spare me “awesome,” “stoked,” “psyched” and “sweet!”

I’m also opting out of locavore, “co-op” and “opt out.”

In addition, I’m barring “bipartisan,” “binders” and “big oil” from the lexicon.

And, last, but far from least, let me not hear the word “stakeholder” in 2013 – or ever.

That’s only the beginning. There are over a million words in the English language, and it’s estimated that a new word is added every 98 minutes. This pace is unsustainable. We must start cutting if we are to avoid the Verbal Cliff.

Besides, you all talk way too much anyway.

[This column originally appeared in the January 3, 2013 Wakefield Daily Item.]

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