Tweets, sexting "unfriended" in U.S. banned word list
Thursday, Dec 31, 2009 5:30PM UTC
By Carey Gillam
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.
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)