They are overused, abused, and are now unofficially banished from the English language.
The self-proclaimed "wordsmiths" at Lake Superior State University have released their 43rd annual List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness.
“We've drilled down and unpacked tons of pre-owned words and phrases deemed impactful by hundreds of nominators during 2017,” said an LSSU spokesperson. “Let that sink in.”
LSSU's word banishment tradition is now in its fifth decade, and was started by the late W. T. Rabe, a public relations director at Lake Superior State University.. He and other faculty and staff members came up with the first list of words and phrases people love to hate at a New Year's Eve party in 1975, then published it on New Years Day, 1976.
Here is the list for 2018, in no particular order.
Unpack – Misused word for analyze, consider, assess. Concepts or positions are not packed, so they don't need to be unpacked.
Tons – Refers to an exaggerated quantity, as in tons of sunshine or tons of work. 'Lots' would surely suffice.
Dish – As in to dish out the latest rumor on someone. Let's go back to 'talks about' and leave dishes in the cupboard.
Pre-owned – What is so disgraceful about owning a used car now and then?
Onboarding / Offboarding – Creature from the HR Lagoon. We used to have hiring, training and orientation. Now we need to have an “onboarding” process. Firings, quitting, and retirements are streamlined into “offboarding.”
Nothingburger – Says nothing that 'nothing' doesn't already. I'll take a quarter-pound of something in mine.
Let that sink in – One could say shocking, profound, or important. Let that sink in.
Let me ask you this – Wholly unnecessary statement. Just ask the question already.
Impactful – A frivolous word groping for something 'effective' or 'influential.'
Covfefe – An impulsive typo, born into a 140-character universe, somehow missed by the autocorrect feature.
Drill Down – Instead of expanding on a statement, we “drill down on it.”
Fake News – Once upon a time stories could be empirically disproved. Now 'fake news' is any story you disagree with.
Hot Water Heater – Hot water does not need to be heated. 'Water heater' or 'hot water maker' will keep us out of hot water.
Gig Economy – Gigs are for musicians and stand-up comedians. Now expanded to imply a sense of freedom and a lifestyle that rejects tradition in a changing economic culture. Runs a risk of sharecropping.