LSSU Banishes Useless Words 45 Years Running

This year is a major milestone at Lake Superior State University. They just released their 45th annual List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-use, Over-use, and General Uselessness.

The tradition of Word Banishment was started in 1976 by W.T. Rabe, the former PR director at LSSU. It continues as they receive submissions of bannable words from around the world, from people who are irritated at certain words and phrases.

The Banished Words committee combs through the submissions from the world of news, education, technology, and politics, and they winnow down the stinkiest stinkers into the final list in December.

This is also my 15th consecutive year that I'm covering this list, which means I'm "living my best life." I guess that also makes me an "influencer." You're "literally" feeling "totes jelly," aren't you?

And right off the bat, I'm already in trouble.

That's because LSSU has ban-hammered "living my best life," "influencer," "literally," "totes," and "jelly.

Not jelly, the delicious fruit spread that creates wondrous sandwiches. Rather, they've banned the variant of the word "jealous."

As in, "Everyone at my 35-year high school reunion will be totes jelly that I still have most of my hair."

Because, yeah, people in their early 50s say things like "totes jelly."

"Jelly" is jettisoned, because the committee totes agreed that the word just sounds dumb, and that it's overused by minivan-driving suburbanites trying too hard to be hip and cool.

Actually, I'm paraphrasing a bit. What they said was that it's "better left for toast." But I know what they really meant.

"Totes" has also been carried away, another victim of unnecessary shortening from the word "totally." Although I have to admit I kind of like it because I like to say "Totes McGoats."

As in, "Do you want tater tots with your cheeseburger?"

"Oh, yeah, Totes McGoats on the tots. . . McGots."

"Influencer" is thankfully banned, because it has only come to mean people on Instagram who like to think they're famous but no one knows why or how.

Influencers are no longer people who actually, you know, have influence, like athletes and actors. Now it refers to self-indulgent, over-entitled people with social media degrees who think they should get free food for posting photos of themselves eating it.

This is what's known as "quid pro quo." If you do something for me, I will do something for you in exchange. Like, "if you give me a free steak dinner, I'll tell my 1,200 Instagram followers from all over the world that they should eat here, even though we both know they totes won't do it."

Also, we have to quit "quid pro quo."

There were submissions urging this ban from Michigan, Ohio, California, Texas, and even Ontario, Canada. There were also several submissions without a name that said, "No quid pro quo. No quid pro quo. Impeach Pelosi. She's mean to me, doesn't like me. It was a perfect phone call. Best phone call in history. No quid pro quo."

If you thought "quid pro quo's" drop was quick, "OK, Boomer" got banned even faster, probably because the Baby Boomers got tired of hearing it from a bunch of snot-nosed snotflakes. Especially when they were the ones who started the whole "don't trust anyone over 30" mindset 40 years ago.

It's been especially fun watching the whole "OK, Boomer" feud, because I'm Generation X, the "I just don't give a f---" generation. And we're all just sitting here, "living our best lives," watching the two biggest demographics screeching at each other about, well, everything.

LSSU may have banned "living my best life," but I think it needs to stick around for a while. Gen X is watching the two groups who complain the most whale away on each other like it's the Thrilla in Manila and we've got a giant tub of popcorn.

You can't live much better than that.

Lastly, and this couldn't have come soon enough for me, LSSU has banished the word "literally" for "pretentiousness or imprecision."

Long have I railed against the use of "literally" by most people. Long have I fought against the degradation of the word that has come to mean its polar opposite. Long have I avoided shouting at people who said, "I'm so hungry, I could literally eat a horse."

And finally, after 45 long years of waiting, pleading, and praying at the altar of Merriam-Webster, LSSU has banned the word.

If only people would actually stop using the word incorrectly because of this pronouncement, I can say I would literally be the happiest man in the world, Totes McGoats.

Photo credit: BronyFireman (Wikimedia Commons)

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