October 17, 2021

Lake Superior State University Releases 41st Annual List of Banned Words

From Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan:

So, if the wordsmiths at Lake Superior State University get their way, this is the last time a story lead like this will ever make it into print or broadcast.

Answering a question by beginning with the word “so” is just one of about a dozen forms of wordplay that made it onto LSSU’s 41st annual List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness. The tradition created by the late W. T. Rabe, former public relations director at Lake Superior State University, is now in its fifth decade. Compilers hope this year’s list will be so popular that it will break the Internet.

“Overused words and phrases are ‘problematic’ for thousands of Queen’s English ‘stakeholders,’” said an LSSU spokesperson while ‘vaping’ an e-cigarette during a ‘presser.’ “Once something is banished, there’s no ‘walking it back;’ that’s our ‘secret sauce, and there’s no ‘price point’ for that.’”

Rabe and fellow LSSU faculty and staff came up with the first list of words and phrases that people love to hate at a New Year’s Eve party in 1975, publishing it on Jan. 1, 1976. Though he and his friends created the first list from their own pet peeves about language, Rabe said he knew from the volume of mail he received in the following weeks that the group would have no shortage of words and phrases from which to choose for 1977. Since then, the list has consisted entirely of nominations received from around the world throughout the year.

2016 List

  • So
  • Conversation
  • Problematic
  • Stakeholder
  • Price Point
  • Secret Sauce
  • Break The Internet
  • Walk It Back
  • Presser
  • Manspreading
  • Vape
  • Giving Me Life
  • Physicality

Direct to List of Banned Words Website/Complete Entries For 2016 List

Direct to Previous Lists (by Year) and Complete List (Alphabetical)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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