silenceEach year, Lake Superior State University in Michigan compiles a list of words that have become so overused that they should be banned from the English language. The list began in 1976 and has included words and phrases like dialogue and meaningful in 1976 (which are still overused today) and YOLO and the fiscal cliff in 2013.

The 2014 list is heavy on Miley Cyrus-influenced words and phrases with selfie and twerking ranking first and second. Here is the full list of words to banish in 2014. You can follow the preceding link to get all of the details and read reasons why people voted for these words to be banned forever.

The LSSU List of Words to Ban in 2014

  • Selfie
  • Twerk/twerking
  • Hashtag
  • Twittersphere
  • Mister Mom
  • T-bone
  • __________ on Steroids
  • Suffering suffixes such as “-ageddon” or “-pocalypse”
  • Intellectually/morally bankrupt (as used in politics)
  • Obamacare
  • Adversity (as used in sports)
  • Fan base

The LSSU list isn’t the only compilation of words and phrases that should be banned in 2014. Others have also taken a stab at creating lists of words that should no longer be used. A list published by Mother Jones includes a few words that have appeared on previous years’ lists by LSSU, including YOLO and double-down. The 2014 list by Mother Jones also includes some of the same words that appear on the 2014 LSSU list such as selfie and hashtag. The Mother Jones list includes a total of 39 words that should be retired in 2014. You can check it out by following the preceding link. Some highlights are provided below.

The Mother Jones List of Words to Ban in 2014 (Partial)

  • Crowdsourced
  • Disrupt
  • Game-changer
  • Hipster
  • Impact (when used as a verb)
  • Listicle
  • Millenial
  • Thought leader

The Wall Street Journal also published a list of buzzwords to ban in 2014 as suggested by business executives. These are the words that corporate leaders don’t want to hear in the board room anymore, so as you’d expect, they’re all business-oriented. There are 16 words on the list and all are unique to the Wall Street Journal list (as opposed to the LSSU or Mother Jones lists) except for disrupt, which also appears on the list from Mother Jones. Below is the list of words business executives don’t want to hear anymore. Follow the preceding list for all of the details and to see which executives were credited with these contributions to the list.

The Wall Street Journal List of Words to Ban in 2014

  • Push the envelope
  • De-layering
  • Dynamic resilience
  • Passionate
  • Out-of-the-box thinking
  • Viral
  • Associates and team members
  • Big data
  • Going forward
  • Low-hanging fruit
  • Disrupt
  • Epic
  • Ideate
  • Incentivize
  • Learnings
  • Game change
  • Reach out

What words would you add to the list of words and phrases to be banned in 2014? I’d add funnel or any reference to the funnel in marketing and business (i.e., “We need to move consumers through the funnel.”). It’s just a trendy name for the customer lifecycle and is too often used to cover up a lack of theoretical, strategic, educational, and experiential knowledge (as is the case with so many buzzwords).

Image: Tory Byrne