The 2014 Banished Words List, On Steroids

It's that time of year again -- time to check the Lake Superior State University's annual list of "banished words." Or, perhaps, a "back to twerk" column.

OK, I apologize for that one. But you just knew twerking would be on this year's list, didn't you? Indeed, it ranked second only to "selfie," another shoo-in for banishment this year. But while some of this year's list was pretty obvious, there are a few that I haven't noticed have become annoyingly overused. Perhaps I'm just talking to the wrong people or something. Or the right people, maybe?

Kidding aside, let's get on with the whole list of banished words and phrases for the upcoming year:


Twerk / Twerking



Mister Mom

T-Bone (for perpendicular car accident)

[...] On Steroids


[...] -ageddon

[...] -pocalypse


Intellectually / Morally Bankrupt




Fan Base

For the record, I got annoyed at "-mageddon / -pocalypse" way back in 2011, so I'm glad to finally find it on the official list. It's been annoying me for years, in fact.

As always, the people nominating the terms are often downright amusing in their annoyance. Here are a few of the better justifications for inclusion on the banished words list:

[Selfie] -- "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.' It may only be a matter of time before photos of one's self and a friend will become 'dualies.' LSSU has an almost self-imposed duty to carry out this banishment now."

"It's a lame word. It's all about me, me, me. Put the smartphone away. Nobody cares about you."

[Twerk] -- "Let's just keep with 'shake yer booty' -- no need to 'twerk' it!"

"Time to dance this one off the stage."

[Hashtag] -- "It's #obnoxious #ridiculous #annoying and I wish it would disappear."


[Mr. Mom] -- "Society is changing and no longer is it odd for a man to take care of his children. Even the Wall Street Journal has declared, 'Mr. Mom is dead' (Jan. 22, 2013). I think it is time to banish it."

[T-Bone] -- "As in 'crashed into another car perpendicularly.' Making a verb out of a cut of beef?"

[-Ageddon / -Pocalypse] -- "Every passing storm or event is tagged as ice-ageddon or snow-pocalypse. There's a limited supply of ...ageddons and ...pocalypses; I believe it's one, each. When running out of cashews becomes nut-ageddon, it's time to re-evaluate your metaphors."

[Intellectually / Morally Bankrupt] -- "Are there intellectual creditors?"

[Adversity] -- "Facing adversity is working 50 hours a week and still struggling to feed your kids. Facing third and fifteen without your best receiver with tens of millions in the bank, is not."

Some of these crossed the border into outright rage, as in: "I am a stay-at-home dad/parent. And if you call me 'Mr. Mom,' I will punch you in the throat." So, while I hadn't noticed this particular term creeping into everyday usage, I will certainly refrain from using it to describe anyone, just on the off chance of personal injury.

There were two terms I have to admit I was surprised weren't on the list. The first was kind of confined to the very early part of the year, right after the whole "fiscal cliff" fight ("fiscal cliff" was indeed on last year's list). But I guess I was the only one annoyed at the verbization of a movie title, so "Thelma-and-Louse-ing off the cliff" got overlooked. But what really surprises me is the omission of "photobombing," which is just downright annoying (both the action and the term, in fact -- a double dose of annoying). Oh, well, maybe next year.

So, to send off the banished words in our usual final-paragraph style:

One has to indeed wonder if taking a selfie while you're twerking is even physically possible (at least, without the use of mirrors). I mean, is there a hashtag for #gotwerkyourself yet, out there in the Twittersphere? Or a fan base, for that matter? Lest I be accused of being intellectually bankrupt, I also hasten to point out that twerking is really nothing more than a strip club lap dance on steroids. I mean, T-boning your butt on someone's crotch and wiggling it isn't some sort of twerkageddon (twerkpocalypse?). Ask any stripper what all those Mr. Moms out there pay good money for on a nightly basis, if you don't believe me. Miley Cyrus isn't exactly overcoming adversity or feeding millions, she is merely shaking her groove thang (to use a slightly older term for the same activity) in public. Even with the advent of Obamacare, I seriously doubt that doctor's offices across the land will be flooded with twerk-related injuries any time soon. And no matter what words you choose to use or abuse in 2014, I'd like to wish everyone a happy new year!


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