Word ‘Czars’ ‘Unfriend’ 15 Words

Fifteen overused, misused and generally  useless words were “unfriended” by the word “czars” at Lake Superior State University. The school welcomed the new year with its 35th annual “List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English.”

"The list this year is a 'teachable moment' conducted free of 'tweets,'" said a Word Banishment spokesman who was "chillaxin'" for the holidays. "'In these economic times', purging our language of 'toxic assets' is a 'stimulus' effort that's 'too big to fail.'"

Here’s the 2010 list, with comments from the listmakers and the folks who nominated these tired terms:

Shovel-ready

"Apparently, the generally accepted definition of this phrase is to imply that a project has been completely designed and all that is left to do is to implement it...however, when something dies, it, too, is shovel-ready for burial and so I get confused about the meaning. I would suggest that we just say the project is ready to implement.” – Jerry Redington, Keosauqua, Iowa.

Transparent/Transparency

"I can see clearly that this is the new buzzword for the year." -- Joann Eschenburg, Clinton Twp., Mich.

Czar

Long used by the media as a metaphor for positions of high authority, including “baseball czar” Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, appointed by team owners as commissioner-for-life in 1919. U.S. president Woodrow Wilson had an “industry czar” during World War I. Lesser-known “czar” roles in government during the last 100 years include: censorship, housing and oil czars in 1941; rubber czar in 1942; patronage czar (1945); clean-up (1952); missile (1954); inflation (1971); e-commerce (1998); bioethics, faith-based and reading czars (2001); bird flu (2004); democracy (2005); abstinence and birth control czars (2006); and weatherization czar (2008).

George W. Bush appointed 47 people to 35 “czar” jobs; Pres. Obama, eight appointments to 38 positions.

"First it was a 'drug czar' [banished in 1990]. This year gave us a 'car czar.' What's next? A 'banished words czar'?" -- Michael F. Raczko, Swanton, Ohio.

Tweet

And all of its variations…tweetaholic, retweet, twitterhea, twitterature, twittersphere…

Jay Brazier of Williamston, Mich. says she supposes that tweeters might be "twits."

App

"Must we b sbjct to yt another abrv? Why does the English language have to fit on a two-inch screen? I hate the sound of it. I think I'll listen to a symph on the rad." -- Edward R. Bolt, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Sexting

Sending sexually explicit pictures and text messages through the cell phone.

"Any dangerous new trend that also happens to have a clever mash-up of words, involves teens, and gets television talk show hosts interested must be banished." – Ishmael Daro, Saskatoon, Sask., Canada.

Friend as a verb

Came into popularity through social networking websites. You add someone to your network by "friending" them, or remove them by "unfriending" them.

"'Befriend' is much more pleasant to the human ear and a perfectly useful word in the dictionary." – Kevin K., Morris, Okla.

Teachable moment

What might otherwise be known as 'a lesson.'

"It's a condescending substitute for 'opportunity to make a point,'" says Eric Rosenquist of College Station, Tex.

In these economic times….

Nominations concerning the economy started rolling in as the 2009 list was being put together last year, i.e. "bailout." They kept coming this year, in these trouble economic times

"Overused and redundant. Aren't ALL times 'these economic times'?" -- Barb Stutesman, Three Rivers, Mich.

Stimulus

"Everything in the news is about the stimulus packages...it is no longer a grant, it's stimulus money, stimulus checks, etc. I think it is just being over-used." Teri Heikkila, Rudyard, Mich.

Toxic assets

"Whatever happened to simply 'bad stocks,' 'debts,' or 'loans'?" -- Monty Heidenreich, Homewood, Ill.

Too big to fail

"Does such a thing exist? We'll never know if a company is too big to fail, unless somehow it does fail, and then it will no longer be too big to fail. Make it stop!" – Holli, Raleigh, NC.

Bromance

"I am sick of combined words the media creates to make them sound catchier. Frenemies? Bromances? Blogorrhea? I'm going to scream!" – Kaylynn, Alberta, Canada.

Chillaxin'

Nominated for several years. We couldn't chill about it anymore.

"Heard everywhere from MTV to ESPN to CNN. A bothersome term that seeks to combine chillin' with relaxin' makes me want to be 'axin' this word." – Tammy, Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

Obama-prefix or roots?

The LSSU Word Banishment Committee held out hope that folks would want to Obama-ban Obama-structions, but were surprised that no one Obama-nominated any, such as these compiled by the Oxford Dictionary in 2009: Obamanomics, Obamanation, Obamafication, Obamacare, Obamalicious, Obamaland….We say Obamanough already.