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Selfie, Obamacare, and Others Top LSSU’s Annual Banished Words List

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Selfie, hashtag, and twerk have become part of our everyday vocabulary, but if the folks at Lake Superior State University in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula have anything to say about it, they’ll be stricken from the language from this day forward. Those are just a few highlights from the school’s ’2014 List of Banished Words’.

The practice of banning overused and nonsensical words dates back to New Year’s Eve of 1975 when LSSU issued its first list of banished words for the new year. The idea was conceived by the late W. T. Rabe, the school’s PR director, and his son James (with whom I’ve been friends for 20+ years) shared with me his insight on the origin of the tradition here. 

Selfie actually received more votes than of the other dozen nominations on this year’s list.

“People have taken pictures of themselves for almost as long as George Eastman’s company made film and cameras. Suddenly, with the advent of smartphones, snapping a ‘pic’ of one’s own image has acquired a vastly overused term that seems to pop up on almost every form of social media available to us….A self-snapped picture need not have a name all its own beyond ‘photograph,’” read one entry submitted by a group of people in Massachusetts.

Lisa from New York has had it up to her booty with ‘Twerk’.

“I twitch when I hear twerk, for to twerk proves one is a jerk — or is at least twitching like a jerk. Twerking has brought us to a new low in our lexicon.”

Ben from New Jersey voted to ban ‘Obamacare’.

“Because President Obama’s signature healthcare law is actually called the Affordable Care Act. The term has been clearly overused and overblown by the media and by members of Congress.”

‘________ on Steroids’ received a vote from Betsy in Los Angeles.

“Please, does the service at my favorite restaurant have to be ‘on steroids’ (even though the meat may be)?”

Here’s the rest of LSSU’s 2014 List of Banished Words:

  • Hashtag
  • Twittersphere
  • Mister Mom
  • T-Bone
  • -Agedon and -Pocalypse (used as suffixes)
  • Intellectually/Morally Bankrupt
  • Adversity (used in sports references)
  • Fan Base

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