back to article US word czars unfriend shovel-ready toxic assets

Michigan's Lake Superior State University has issued its 2010 manifest of 15 words and phrases consigned to the lexicographical dustbin in the 35th "List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness". Or rather, "word 'czars' at Lake Superior State University 'unfriended' 15 words …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Ban the phrase "Lake Superior State University"

    It's 3rd rate anyway.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Please add:

    texted (he texted me)

    worser (it's worser than that, he's dead Jim).

    And all permutations of this shite: C U L8R M8.

    That is all.

  3. Chika

    Hmm... Merkans making rules about the "Queen's English"?

    Perhaps if they learned to speak (or indeed write) it properly, we might take notice. Quite a few of the words in their list aren't actually correct in their usage any way, so their banishment means little.

    1. Mike Flugennock

      The Queen's English? So I've heard... (;^>

      Hey, watchit, pal. Many of us speak and write just fine. At least we know how to spell "furor" over here. (;^> Besides, it seems many of those words and phrases have been banished _because_ of their poor and incorrect usage, especially the use of nouns as verbs ("He texted me").

      Actually, I just realized that they've forgotten another one: "step up". I'm not a violent guy by nature, but every time I hear some government or business drone talking about how people need to "step up" for whatever they want people to "step up" for, I just want to beat the shit (shite) out of them.

      Still, while we're on the subject, I saw a reference in an El Reg science report to scientists (boffins) being "chuffed as ninepence" over the positive confirmation of a body of liquid on Titan via the sun glint in a photograph. Now, "chuffed" I've figured out a while back by reading it in context, but "chuffed as ninepence"? Is this value adjusted for inflation? Is this expression pre- or post-British currency "decimalization"?

      The closest we have to that over here is one that's an old favorite (favourite) of my Dad's and mine, "drunker than seven hundred dollars".

      1. R Callan

        Dear sir,

        You may be able to spell the word "furor" but I fail to see why you are making such a furore over it. You do, of course, realise that the terminal "e" in furore is pronounced, or do you?

        I do however agree that the expression "step up" with or without the addition of "to the plate" should be banned forthwith. All English speakers know that the expression should be "walk to the middle" or "take guard" (please note the "u").

        Also to be banned:

        All references to American field wrestling with a ball somewhere as "football".

        The naming of the ultimate letter of the alphabet as 'zeee". It is of course "zed". There are already too many letters ?ee without adding more and creating greater confusion.

        p.s. can this funny looking device be exchanged for a classic Mills 36 grenade, this is of course an English site.

      2. Chika

        The Queen's English? That's a topic for debate!

        But that's something else. Perhaps we could ask BRMB to host such a debate!

        "Chuffed as ninepence" isn't a phrase that I've heard of, though "chuffed" is a word I have used in the past (as in "I'm chuffed" being used for "I'm pleased"). The difficulty is that "chuff" means something else entirely, so I suppose it has dropped out of use in the former example. For example, somebody acting in a miserly fashion could be describe as being "as tight as a gnat's chuff" (as opposed to a gnat's arse - not exactly something you would used in mixed company!)

        Hmm... wonder if this could be used as a topic for our own version of Qi?

        1. Mike Flugennock

          Furor over "Furore"

          1. Actually, I _didn't_ know that. I'd assumed it was a "silent E", as English (The Queen's, as well as American) is full of them. Thanks for the tip.

          2. "Field wrestling" is putting it kindly. It reminds me more of Rollerball, especially since about the mid-1980s. As long as we're on the subject of "stepping up", though, I'd be even happier with the banishment of sports-related expressions used by non-athletes. Before freelancing, I spent nearly twenty years working in corporate in-house design shops and had to listen to fat, balding, pasty middle mangers -- who'd never participated in any sport in their lives -- using (American-rules) football metaphors in meetings. "U" duly noted; we were also still using that in "guard" last time we looked, but then, I don't get a lot of text messages on my "mobe".

          3. "Zed"? Huh. Sure, I can work with that. Of course, we'd have to come up with a new expression for napping, as "catching some zee's" would be out.

          4. Fair enough, but don't forget your neighbors/neighbours in the EU. The Germans aren't still using "potato mashers", are they? Of course, there's also your universally-recognizable, good old-fashioned dynamite stick.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Language Nazis

    In Germany we have some highly concerned linguists nominating the "Unwort des Jahres" every year.

    Good to know that somebody polices that critical part of humanity. Horrible things could happen if those words were not wholly condemned forever !!!!

    Public funding for those lazy social engineers should be cut off and they should be made doing some real work at McDonald's.

    1. Mike Flugennock

      But, seriously...

      Don't you get tired of lame-assed newspaper columnists and TV pundits forever spewing out tired crap like "teachable moment", "in harm's way", "breaking the cycle", "step up", or "outside the box"?

  5. /\/\j17

    Can they stop the BBC stroking themselves all the time?

    Can they ban the BBC from insisting on pronoucing URLs on-air as "A dot B stroke C" and join the rest of the planet in using "A dot B slash C"?

    1. Jonathan Richards 1


      Bee Bee Sea Dot Co do You Kay Virgule Pedantry

      Virgule doesn't have any of the unpleasant slang meanings associated with "stroke" or "slash". What's not to like?

      1. Player_16

        WWW = 9 syllables

        How about those 3 letters which is actually 9 syllables. You hear web sites being described many times on the radio or the telly; Double-U Double-U Double-U Dot the register Dot Co Dot You Kay.

        One day, I heard a site being described one time like this and it stuck:

        Dub Dub Dub Dot...

        That was more efficient -like a bit of morris code.

      2. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

        But that would ruin some jokes

        OJ Simpson's email address is

        / / \ / [ESC]

    2. Chika


      Can't say that I've heard that one, but then I do tend to get annoyed when some folk insist on using "forward-slash". A slash is a slash, IMHO!

      1. Hugh_Pym

        In the print...

        ... many years ago it was often called a shilling stroke. Also a dot was a full point.

    3. William Towle

      Re: Can they stop the BBC stroking themselves all the time?

      Speaking of which, has there been an explanation for the disinction made between "dot-com" and "bbc-dot co-dot uk" yet?

      Nothing like consistency...

  6. Mike Flugennock
    Thumb Up

    Hoorah! At last!

    Finally, somebody's put their foot down on this bullshit.

    I'm especially pleased to hear about the banishment of "teachable moment", although I'm a bit disappointed to hear they haven't banished the phrase "post-9/11 world"... or, the use of the phrase "I/we have a (insert concept) gene", as in Hillary Clinton's infamous excuse for our remaining mired in Iraq: "We have a responsibility gene."

    The only downside I can see here is that along with the classic "in harm's way", "teachable moment" is one of my key phrases for determining whether or not a newspaper op-ed columnist or TV pundit has ever had an original thought in their lives and is worth the time reading or listening to (these days, my choice defaults to "no").

    Also, while it's technically not a word or phrase but a concept, I've also self-trained to disregard the blathering of any columnist or pundit who uses in their commentary any references to Osama Bin Laden living in a cave.

  7. Ian Ferguson

    Word banishment

    Oh, I'm soooo sick of the phrase 'word banishment', it's everywhere!

    Only kidding. But I'd quite like to see the back of 'at the end of the day' (football) and 'for sure' (motorsport).

  8. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Another one for the can?

    has to be that awful americanism

    "My Bad"

    That's it I'm done for the year and off down the boozer for a pint (before it goes up 20p cos of the VAT increase, 7.5p for El Gordo, the rest to the Brewery)

    1. shrubber

      Re: "My Bad"

      Oh, sorry, I invented that one. Mea culpa.

    2. Mike Flugennock

      My most sincere apologies...

      ...on behalf of any articulate fellow Americans who might remain, for failing to stem the tide of people saying "my bad". I've been trying to do my part to steer people away from it by saying "my goof" instead, but it's pretty tough going.


      I'm no expert on things over there, but how can it be added value when you don't get more beer?

  9. Eddy Ito


    While they are at it, can they toss in Obama's favorite... unprecedented. Yeah, we get it Mr. Pres., everything is new to you and therefore unprecedented. Can we talk about how the rest of us lived with it the last few times it has happened?

  10. Neal 5

    @mike fluggenock

    1 question only.

    Where does OBL live then, if not in a cave?

    1 statement.

    It is impossible to self train, one self educates if you must know.

    1 muse.

    If you know that OBL doesn't live in a cave, then you must be in possession of higher quality information than the entire worlds intelligence forces, and that's not saying much for either party,and therefore, why haven't you single handedly caught OBL for the $20mill reward, that is after all what the American dream is about, is it not, $$$$$$$$$$$.

  11. Johnny Canuck

    I nominate

    "the new normal"

  12. Matt Black

    Toujour La Change...

    Can I nominate 'New Labour' since the term 'Old Labour' or simply 'Labour' seems to cover the ground admirably?

  13. Daemon ZOGG

    Lake 'Stuperior' State University...

    Ah. Yes. I believe some of their members used to work for the Ministry Of Silly Walks.


  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    BBC stroking themselves

    I heard R4 announce that they would use "A dot B stroke C" because it sounds more friendly than "A dot B slash C"?.

    They may have a point.

  15. DJ

    It's official...

    "The use of the word 'official' and permutations of such is officially prohibited", the officious officer Harry "Snapper" Organs, of Q division announced today.

    Further details are superfluous.

  16. Frank Haney

    Moby and Lappy

    Please tell me that "moby" and "lappy" are still double plus ungood unwords.

    And txt spk, of course. LOL

  17. CADmonkey

    Verbalising nouns...yawn





  18. Spanners Silver badge

    How about an entire type?

    I would like to nominate all nouns that are misused as verbs. This would include: Friend/Unfriend and Leverage.

  19. hillhairyhouse

    Redacted. Grrr.

    I'd like to add 'redacted'. Why on earth the Goverment couldn't have used the correct term for censoring when the expenses scandal broke was spineless and deliberately confusing. Whoever used the term 'redacted' before the expenses scandal ? It was as if redacted was less serious than censored, so they weren't really being as dishonest. It makes me angry. Grrrr. No. Angrier than that. Grrrrrrrrrr.

  20. J 3


    I thought the British were known by their sense of humour, but there seems to be preciously little of it on display here in these hallowed, commentard-infested pages... Maybe means Ukraine?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Don't forget Gotten!

  22. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    A few more

    First off, I don't see a problem with "tweets" or "tweeting" -- what would YOU call a message on twitter? Admittedly twitter is overhyped but this is a nice short term for a message via twitter.

    "Too big to fail", I don't object to the actual term, I just object to the concept. These guys that f'ed up should absolutely have been allowed to fail -- I can't invest in the stock market, and buy junk loans, lose my money, and expect the feds to give ME money. Some of the cash could have just been pumped into FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) so people with a bank account with these jokers wouldn't lose their money, the banks and investment firms absolutely should have been allowed to fold.

    My words that can go -- "Post-9/11". Enough said. "Strike a balance between privacy and security" (this is fascist terminology for "no privacy at all" so they should at least admit it). "Windows 7" -- I'm sick of hearing about it already, Microsoft will never get me back as a customer. "IPhone" -- I'm sick of hearing about it, I've seen one and it's not that great. In fact coverage of every Apple product should be only on Apple-fan sites. I could think of a few more but that'll do for now.

    1. Mike Flugennock

      a message on Twitter...

      "First off, I don't see a problem with 'tweets' or 'tweeting' -- what would YOU call a message on twitter?"

      Uhhmm... a Tourette's outburst?

    2. Jack 4

      A Twit is a Twit...

      "First off, I don't see a problem with "tweets" or "tweeting" -- what would YOU call a message on twitter? Admittedly twitter is overhyped but this is a nice short term for a message via twitter."

      That would be a "twit", named after the sender. You can't spell Twitter without "twit".

      1. lglethal Silver badge

        Actually i dont mind tweet either...

        Everytime i see the word in an article i immediately turn the page as quite obviously the entire article is full off utter bollocks. It means i can read through dozens of newspapers in under 10 minutes!

  23. Gumby 1

    One for the pot

    I'd like to see the term " Moving forward" added. The wankers that sprout this would be lucky to move anyware if it wasn't for the peons that accually do the moving. I have found it used a defence for " I don't want to know about the past , this is how we will do it now" . This normally precedes a period of pending FAIL!

    1. Mike Flugennock
      Thumb Up

      "Moving forward"

      You pretty much nailed that one, man. I don't know what kind of rhetoric is emitted these days by Used-To-Be-New-But-Now-Is-Just-Regular-Labour, but over here the Democrats are just full of that Moving Forward crap, especially when any progressives try to call bullshit on their record. Also, anyone from the Left who criticizes them for their miserably tepid record at attempting progressive reforms is mocked by the party leadership for "living in the past" (and I don't mean Jethro Tull, either).

      "Looking at the record" is how we referred to it once, and it was considered a sensible method of deciding whether or not to re-elect a Congressman, Senator, or President -- at least back before this entire country went collectively batshit*.


      (Now, watch; some jerk is going to want to banish the term "batshit".)

      1. Apocalypse Later

        There is a perfectly good alternative


        I don't think banning stuff works, but there is a lot of unattractive language that one needn't employ, merely for reasons of aesthetics.

  24. Adam White


    Never heard this one before but it's cute, I like it. No idea what the accepted usage is but I'm sure I could work it into a sentence or two.

    1. Swarthy


      I think it's Obamaniable! If only because it leds itself to that particular pun.

  25. Winkypop Silver badge

    and while we are at it... more GRUNTING or VOCALISING during tennis matches - OK?

  26. Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

    "Moving forward"

    and it's hideous cousin, "at this moment in time". Put them together with the rather bizarre use of the word "space" to denote a field of knowledge, expertise or competence and you wind up with me being asked in straight-faced seriousness whether I was, "moving forward into the virtualisation space at this moment in time". A small part of me died.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lessons Learned...

    ... almost invariably refers to a list of lessons that won't be.

  28. pctechxp

    Lets ban

    Chillax as it sounds like a laxative brand and really stupid to boot.

  29. TeeCee Gold badge

    Other news in the same vein.

    Quote (Toadygraph motoring section):

    Meanwhile, staff at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) have been told not to use the word "unfortunately" along with the phrases "I'm afraid ...", "not possible" and "I can't".


    Presumably they're just going to standardise on "fuck off" then.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hearts and minds

    That one bugs me.

    That is all

    1. Swarthy


      Hearts and Minds creep me out as well.

  31. Alphabet Soup 1

    ... and from the Reg's own discussion pages ...


    It still makes me shudder when I give the "thumbs up" to someone's post.

  32. HaplessPoet


    If I wasn't so pissed (correct usage) I'd be pissed off that pissed (incorrect usage) wasn't included!

  33. Anonymous Coward

    @hapless poet

    I can see you're English.

    'Piss' is a marvellous word of context-sensitive meanings.

    'Pissed' = angry (American), drunk (British)

    'Pissed off' = angry (British)

    'To piss off' (British) =(transitive) to annoy, (intransitive) to go away

    'Piss off!' means Go away (British and maybe American)

    Oh yeah, and 'piss' (noun, British) = beer of course.

    Have I got them all?

    (This is why the USA will never invade Britain. They can't master the language :)

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Ever heard of...

    Buzzword Bingo?

    You get a little Bingo card full of the latest bizbabble, with phrases like 'At the coalface', 'moving forward', 'real-time', 'at the end of the day', 'customer-driven', 'scalable', 'information superhighway', 'otherwise abled', 'upskilling', 'downsizing', 'added value', yadda yadda yadda, and take it to boring meetings and when you complete a line you yell 'Bingo' at the top of your voice.

    (I've never dared but I wish I had :)

    Paris because she probably doesn't know what they all mean either

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