Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
COVID-19 Dominates Annual List of Banished Words, Terms
gvw_ap_news
By Associated Press
Published 3 years ago on
January 1, 2021

Share

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. — Even as vaccines are being rolled out to battle the coronavirus, wordsmiths at Lake Superior State University in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula say they want to kick any trace of it from the English language.

“COVID-19” and “social distancing” are thrown in with “we’re all in this together,” “in an abundance of caution” and “in these uncertain times” on the school’s light-hearted list of banned words and phrases for 2021.

Out of more than 1,450 nominations sent to the school, about 250 words and terms suggested for banishment due to overuse, misuse or uselessness had something to do with the virus.

Seven of the 10 selected are connected to the virus, with “COVID-19” leading the way. “Unprecedented,” which was banished back in 2002, has been restored to the list.

“To be sure, COVID-19 is unprecedented in wreaking havoc and destroying lives,” Banished Words List committee members said Thursday in a release. “But so is the overreliance on ‘unprecedented’ to frame things, so it has to go, too.”

The school in Sault Ste. Marie has compiled the list each year since 1976 it says to “uphold, protect, and support excellence in language by encouraging avoidance of words and terms that are overworked, redundant, oxymoronic, clichéd, illogical, nonsensical — and otherwise ineffective, baffling, or irritating.”

So far, more than 1,000 words or phrases have made the list. Nominations come from across the U.S. and a number of other countries.

‘Absolutely,’ ‘BFF,’ ‘Covfefe,’ and ‘Yuh Know’

Joining past inductees such as “absolutely,” “BFF,” “covfefe,” and “yuh know” are:

— COVID-19 (COVID, coronavirus, Rona). “A large number of nominators are clearly resentful of the virus and how it has overtaken our vocabulary,” the committee wrote. “No matter how necessary or socially and medically useful these words are, the committee cannot help but wish we could banish them along with the virus itself.”

— Social distancing. “This phrase is useful, as wearing a mask and keeping your distance have a massive effect on preventing the spread of infection,” members said. “But we’d be lying if we said we weren’t ready for this phrase to become ‘useless.’”

— We’re all in this together.

— In an abundance of caution (various phrasings).

— In these uncertain times (various phrasings).

— Pivot. “Reporters, commentators, talking heads, and others from the media reference how everyone must adapt to the coronavirus through contactless delivery, virtual learning, curbside pickup, video conferencing, remote working, and other urgent readjustments,” the committee wrote. “That’s all true and vital. But basketball players pivot; let’s keep it that way.”

— Unprecedented.

— Karen. “What began as an anti-racist critique of the behavior of white women in response to Black and brown people has become a misogynist umbrella term for critiquing the perceived overemotional behavior of women,” the committee said.

— Sus, short for “suspicious.”

— I know, right?

“Real-world concerns preoccupied word watchdogs this year, first and foremost COVID-19, and that makes sense,” Lake Superior State President Rodney Hanley said in the release. “In a small way, maybe this list will help ‘flatten the curve,’ which also was under consideration for banishment. We trust that your ‘new normal’ — another contender among nominations — for next year won’t have to include that anymore.”

RELATED TOPICS:

DON'T MISS

Sacramento Gave Homeless Camp a Lease as an Experiment. Here’s What Happened.

DON'T MISS

Merced Supervisors Accused of ‘Triple Crown Race’ of Failures Amid Talk of Closing Fire Stations

DON'T MISS

Teacher Appreciation Week Surprises That Educators Will Love

DON'T MISS

A Mission of Mercy, Then a Fatal Strike: How an Aid Convoy in Gaza Became Israel’s Target

DON'T MISS

Walberg Era Begins With a Charge to ‘Revolutionize’ Bulldogs Basketball

DON'T MISS

California Man Sentenced to 40 Years to Life for Fatal Freeway Shooting of 6-Year-Old Boy

DON'T MISS

16 Clovis Students Rewarded With Scholarships for Their Resilience

DON'T MISS

Dr. Green Thumb’s Is Open. Sweet Flower Debuts Saturday in Fresno Cannabis Rollout.

DON'T MISS

Reacher Star Alan Ritchson Calls Donald Trump a ‘Rapist’

DON'T MISS

Community Leaders Call for Transparency in Fresno Superintendent Search

UP NEXT

US Intelligence Finding Shows China Surging Equipment Sales to Russia to Help War Effort in Ukraine

UP NEXT

Several Writers Decline Recognition From PEN America in Protest Over Its Israel-Hamas War Stance

UP NEXT

US Consumer Sentiment Falls Slightly as Outlook for Inflation Worsens

UP NEXT

Tennessee Lawmakers Send Bill to Ban First-Cousin Marriages to Governor

UP NEXT

Instagram Blurs Nude Messages to Protect Teens, Fight Sexual Extortion

UP NEXT

Harvard Again Requiring Standardized Test Scores for Those Seeking Admission

UP NEXT

Wife of Julian Assange Says Biden’s Comments Mean Case Could Be Moving in the Right Direction

UP NEXT

Salmon Fishing Is Banned off the California Coast for the Second Year in a Row

UP NEXT

Making Cement Is Very Damaging for the Climate. One Solution Is Opening in California

UP NEXT

Mom Who Threw 2 Kids Onto LA Freeway, Killing Her Infant, Appeared Agitated by Impending Eclipse

A Mission of Mercy, Then a Fatal Strike: How an Aid Convoy in Gaza Became Israel’s Target

14 hours ago

Walberg Era Begins With a Charge to ‘Revolutionize’ Bulldogs Basketball

1 day ago

California Man Sentenced to 40 Years to Life for Fatal Freeway Shooting of 6-Year-Old Boy

1 day ago

16 Clovis Students Rewarded With Scholarships for Their Resilience

1 day ago

Dr. Green Thumb’s Is Open. Sweet Flower Debuts Saturday in Fresno Cannabis Rollout.

1 day ago

Reacher Star Alan Ritchson Calls Donald Trump a ‘Rapist’

1 day ago

Community Leaders Call for Transparency in Fresno Superintendent Search

1 day ago

Israeli Settlers Rampage Through a West Bank Village, Killing 1 Palestinian and Wounding 25

1 day ago

US Intelligence Finding Shows China Surging Equipment Sales to Russia to Help War Effort in Ukraine

1 day ago

From Tragedy to Triumph: The Land Before Time Litter’s Journey

1 day ago

Sacramento Gave Homeless Camp a Lease as an Experiment. Here’s What Happened.

When Sacramento changed its plan to demolish a homeless encampment on a vacant lot on Colfax Street, instead offering the homeless occupants...

12 hours ago

12 hours ago

Sacramento Gave Homeless Camp a Lease as an Experiment. Here’s What Happened.

13 hours ago

Merced Supervisors Accused of ‘Triple Crown Race’ of Failures Amid Talk of Closing Fire Stations

14 hours ago

Teacher Appreciation Week Surprises That Educators Will Love

14 hours ago

A Mission of Mercy, Then a Fatal Strike: How an Aid Convoy in Gaza Became Israel’s Target

1 day ago

Walberg Era Begins With a Charge to ‘Revolutionize’ Bulldogs Basketball

1 day ago

California Man Sentenced to 40 Years to Life for Fatal Freeway Shooting of 6-Year-Old Boy

1 day ago

16 Clovis Students Rewarded With Scholarships for Their Resilience

1 day ago

Dr. Green Thumb’s Is Open. Sweet Flower Debuts Saturday in Fresno Cannabis Rollout.

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend