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“Selfie”, “twerking” and “hashtag” top 2014 Lake Superior State University List of Banished Words.

LSSU collected suggestions from members of the public for its 39th annual list of words that should be banned.

It recommends the words be “banished from the Queen’s English” because of misuse, overuse or just being useless.

Last year it tried to ban expressions including “double down”, “bucket list” and “YOLO” (You Only Live Once).

For LSSU’s 2014 list, “selfie” received the most nominations.

Selfie, twerking and hashtag top 2014 Lake Superior State University List of Banished Words

Selfie, twerking and hashtag top 2014 Lake Superior State University List of Banished Words

The term, which refers to a self-portrait photo, was named word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries only last month.

“Twerk” (a dance move) similarly attracts LSSU’s opprobrium, even though it was also shortlisted by Oxford Dictionaries.

The college’s vocabulists also lamented the rise of “hashtag” and “Twittersphere”, terms from social media that have seeped into everyday speech.

Combination words using variations of -mageddon or -pocalypse, such as “snowpocalypse” or “budgetmageddon”, also ended up on the forbidden list.

It is not clear whether the LSSU’s roster will be a game-changer (an expression LSSU tried to ban in 2009).

Last year’s banned words remain stubbornly resilient in usage. And many of the terms banned in recent years, recorded on the complete list, such as “angst”, “24/7”, “no-brainer” and “spoiler alert”, continue to flourish.

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Michigan’s Lake Superior State University has released the 2012 List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness.

The 37th annual list, released Friday, was compiled by the university from nominations submitted from across the globe.

The 2012 list also includes “occupy”, “ginormous”, “man cave” and “the new normal”.

In all, a dozen words or phrases made the 37th end-of-the year list.

The list started as a publicity ploy by the school’s public relations department on New Year’s Day 1976, and has since generated tens of thousands of nominations.

“Amazing” received more than 1,500 nominations, the most of any on this year’s list.

Disdain for the superlative was apparently universal among English speakers, garnering disparaging dispatches from across the United States and even the United Kingdom and Israel.

While it lacked a single pop-culture culprit, such as the proliferating protest movement that occupied the word “occupy” or the collective ooh-ing and aah-ing that accompanied Beyonce’s “baby bump”, nominations to banish “amazing’ cite its overuse on reality television and by daytime talk show hosts.

Social media also spurred the call to surrender the word’s conversational credentials, notably through a Facebook page called “Overuse of the Word Amazing”.

“The word has been overused to describe things only slightly better than mundane,” Alyce-Mae Alexander of Maitland, Florida, wrote in her nomination. “I blame Martha Stewart because to her, EVERYTHING is amazing!”

University spokesman John Shibley said he and his colleagues were surprised that “amazing” hadn’t already graced the archive of about 900 banished words.

“The simple ones are always the ones that get through the cracks – until this year,” he said.

Other terms circulating for years that have finally raised enough ire to earn a spot on the list include “blowback”, “man cave”, “the new normal” and “thank you in advance”.

The last one particularly annoys Mike Cloran of Cincinnati, Ohio.

“This is a condescending and challenging way to say. Since I already thanked you, you have to do this,” Mike Cloran wrote in his submission.

Lake Superior State University, located in Sault St. Marie – the last stop before Michigan’s northernmost border-crossing with Canada – has seen its list survive despite many banished words stubbornly clinging to the language.

For evidence, look no further than last year’s “fail”, “viral” and “a-ha moment”. And then there is, well, blowback from critics who can’t take a little tongue-in-cheek critique.

John Shibley said some people have missed the point over the years and complained that the list is an effort to control the language. But most seem to receive it in good cheer, rather than with jeers.

“A lot of people can take this wrong. We don’t mean any malice when we publish it,” John Shibley said.

“If it makes you angry, it gets you thinking about language. If it gets you laughing, it gets you thinking about language. It’s done its job – to get you to think about how you express yourself.”


1. Amazing – overused

2. Baby Bump – overused

3. Shared Sacrifice – abused for escaping a burden

4. Occupy – overused

5. Blowback – overused

6. Man Cave – overused

7. The New Normal – misused for justifying “bad trends”

8. Pet Parent – misused as”’there is no equate”

9. Win The Future – useless as a contrary wouldn’t ever be applied

10. Trickeration – useless and “made up”

11. Ginormous – useless and “made up”

12. Thank You in Advance – abused for getting ones way while also condescending