Tweets, sexting "unfriended" in U.S. banned word list

KANSAS CITY Thu Dec 31, 2009 12:30pm EST

A Twitter page is displayed on an Apple iPhone in Los Angeles October 13, 2009. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

A Twitter page is displayed on an Apple iPhone in Los Angeles October 13, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni

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Obama at the bar

Obama shares drinks and shoots pool during a stopover in Denver.  Slideshow 

KANSAS CITY (Reuters) - If you recently tweeted about how you were chillaxin for the holiday, take note: Fifteen particularly over- or mis-used words and phrases have been declared "shovel-ready" to be "unfriended" by a U.S. university's annual list of terms that deserve to be banned.

After thousands of nominations of words and phrases commonly used in marketing, media, technology and elsewhere, wordsmiths at Lake Superior State University on Thursday issued their 35th annual list of words that they believe should be banned.

Tops on the Michigan university's list of useless phrases was "shovel-ready." The term refers to infrastructure projects that are ready to break ground and was popularly used to describe road, bridge and other construction projects fueled by stimulus funds from the Obama administration.

And speaking of stimulus, that word -- which was applied to government spending aimed at boosting the economy -- made the over-used category as well, along with an odd assortment of Obama-related constructions such as Obamacare and Obamanomics.

"We say Obamanough already," the LSSU committee said.

Also ripe for exile is "sexting," shorthand for sexy text messaging, a habit that has caused trouble this year for public figures from politicians to star athletes.

Similarly, list makers showed distaste for tweeting, retweeting and tweetaholics, lingo made popular by users of the popular Twitter networking website. And don't even get them started on the use of friend as a verb, as in: "He made me mad so I unfriended him on Facebook," an Internet social site.

Male acquaintances need to find another word than "bromance" for their friendships, and the combination of "chillin" and "relaxin'" into "chillaxin" was an easy pick for banishment.

VOTED OUT

Also making the list was "teachable moment."

"This phrase is used to describe everything from potty-training to politics. It's time to vote it out!" said one list contributor.

"Toxic assets," referring to financial instruments that have plunged in value, sickened list makers so much the phrase was added to the list, along with the tiresome and poorly defined "too big to fail" which has often been invoked to describe wobbly U.S. banks.

Similarly, "in these economic times" was deemed overdue for banishment due.

Also making the list -- "transparent/transparency," typically used, contributors said, when the situation is anything but transparent.

One list contributor wanted to know if there was an "app," short-hand for "application" popularized by the mobile iPhone's growing array of software tools, for making that annoying word go away.

And rounding out the list -- "czar" as in car czar, drug czar, housing czar or banished word czar.

"Purging our language of 'toxic assets' is a 'stimulus' effort that's 'too big to fail,'" said a university spokesman.

(Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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Comments (16)
drybeans wrote:
So the fact that the English language is lively and evolving is a bad thing? I’m glad that the people that claim to understand languages as a profession fail to grasp the fact these things come about to describe things in a compact way and hardly ‘damage’ the language.

Most languages have none of the liveliness of English. We should recognize that it is quite unique in that regard.

Dec 31, 2009 8:52am EST  --  Report as abuse
voomies wrote:
social networks are stealing eyeballs from tv

Dec 31, 2009 12:40pm EST  --  Report as abuse
crystalviolet wrote:
“Most languages have none of the liveliness of English”
Something tells me you don’t know much about any other languages…

Yes language changes and evolves, and no one is saying that’s bad. But this list is not of useful new words, just annoying throwaway ones. I certainly would not miss ’sexting’ if everyone suddenly stopped using it tomorrow, just because it’s a dumb thing to say

Dec 31, 2009 1:15pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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