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Top ten words/phrases that should be banished in 2024

By Randy Thoms Jan 3, 2024 | 4:45 AM

Courtesy Lake Superior State University

It is time to find a new catchphrase.

Lake Superior State University has revealed its top ten Banished Words.

The annual list highlights words and phrases that have become misused or overused over the past year.

The university received more than two thousand submissions from around the world.

“The Banished Words List remains one of the most iconic, humorous, and quirky traditions in the region,” states Sheridan Worth, Director of Marketing at Lake Superior State University. “The tradition provides a lighthearted opportunity to pause and reflect on the past year—our experiences, communication styles, and the phrases we commonly use.”

‘Hack,’ ‘impact’ and ‘at the end of the day’ head this year’s list.

They also appeared in previous lists issued.

Here is the complete list and reasons for banishment;

1. Hack

The term ‘hack’ has increasingly become a popular buzzword, frequently utilized to impart an aura of innovation or sophistication to various subjects. Its widespread adoption in multiple contexts, extending beyond its initial technological context, has the potential to lessen its inherent significance. Using it everywhere, even beyond its tech roots, could make it lose its magic. Also made the list in 2015.

2. Impact

Especially as a verb, why use this word when we have a perfectly good word that makes more sense: “affect”? Overusing it not only takes away its pizzazz but also robs other words of their spotlight. Also made the 1990 list.

3. At the end of the day

Sometimes a word needs to be re-banished, and this is one of them. Many comments note that it is overused and meaningless, often employed as a rhetorical device that attempts to encapsulate the complexities of a situation summarily, lacking nuance and depth. The phrase was also among the top ten in 1999 and 2022.

4. Rizz

Rizz, derived as a shortened form for charisma, gained prominence as Oxford’s word of the year and has become a familiar presence in the realm of social media discourse. The ubiquity of this term prompts contemplation on whether it retains its relevance. With language doing the cha-cha of change, we are wondering if this word still rocks the charisma scene or if it is time for a language remix.

5. Slay

While perfectly acceptable in specific contexts, ‘slay’ has transcended its original meaning and infiltrated situations where its usage no longer aligns with its intended significance. Its transition from a specialized term denoting exceptional accomplishment to a commonplace expression for any achievement prompts scrutiny into its misapplication, particularly in the characterization of routine or mundane actions. Now, it is sprinkled everywhere—from wearing a stylish outfit to tackling the art of parallel parking.

6. Iconic

This one appeared on the list in 2009, so perhaps it is time for another attempt to point out its overuse and lack of meaning in most situations. Despite its initial recognition as a word worthy of distinction, its repeated application in contexts that do not merit such acclaim challenges its genuine iconic status. It is like that one-hit wonder playing on a loop.

7. Cringe-worthy

From the comments: “The use of this term is cringe-worthy.” The irony is served hot, as the very term ‘cringe-worthy’ finds itself under the spotlight. It is like a word caught in its own cringe-worthy moment. Now, as we usher in the new year, it is time to decide if this linguistic drama deserves an encore or if we should bid ‘cringe-worthy’ adieu to make room for fresh, less cringe-inducing expressions in 2024.

8. Obsessed

The use of this word for things that are not truly being obsessed over makes it a good candidate for rethinking how we use the word. The casual use of ‘obsessed’ to describe routine interests or preferences underscores a potential misappropriation of the term, prompting a reconsideration of its application. Should one be obsessed with a new kitchen gadget or a new shade of paint? This year’s contributors think not.

9. Side hustle

The term ‘side hustle’ has gained widespread use, prompting considerations about its impact on how we perceive economic challenges. It may be worth reflecting on whether its prevalence inadvertently downplays the genuine reality of the situation. While ‘side hustle’ adds flair to our language, our contributors feel that the only hustle is the one needed to get to their second job.

10. Wait for it

If we are watching the video, then we are already waiting for it, right? While ‘wait for it’ is trying to be the hype master, let us question if it is adding extra sparkle or just stating the obvious.

For more about LSSU’s Banished Words Lists and to nominate a word or term for banishment for 2025, visit www.lssu.edu/traditions/banishedwords/.