The Banished Words List for 2022 Has Been Released

  • All Ages

If 'no worries' is your go-to phrase or you're a fan of 'asking for a friend', I'm afraid to report that 2022 will not be your year for using your words wisely. Wait, what?

Lake Superior State University (LSSU) in Michigan has released its list of banished words for 2022. Like in previous years, the top banished words list is compiled with the help of nominations from the US, Norway, Belgium, England, Scotland, Canada and Australia, which take aim at informal discourse and phrases that worry them the most in this increasingly colloquial world.

According to Peter Szatmary, executive director of marketing and communications at LSSU, "Most people speak through informal discourse. Most people shouldn’t misspeak through informal discourse. That’s the distinction nominators far and wide made, and our judges agreed with them."

Like last year's banished words list, COVID-related words are still bothering nominators, plus, some of Australia's favourite 'meaningless', 'cutesy', 'redundant', and 'overused' words and phrases have topped the list. No worries.

The Famous Banished Words List

Banished words 2022
LSSU's Banished Words List for 2022.

LSSU has compiled the annual Banished Words List since 1976 to "Uphold, protect, and support excellence in language by encouraging avoidance of words and terms that are overworked, redundant, oxymoronic, cliched, illogical, nonsensical - and otherwise ineffective, baffling, or irritating."

1,250 annoying and over-used words and terms were nominated this year so, without further ado, here are the top 10 offenders for 2022.

The Top 10 Banished Words for 2022

1. Wait, what? - The number one offender award goes to this "ubiquitous imperative question" that is most often found in social media realms. The biggest qualm nominators have with this phrase going into 2022 is that the "command query is an inexact method to convey the utterer’s uncertainty or surprise." Gotcha.

2. No worries - Apparently, one of Australia's most used phrases is now considered insensitive. Allow me to deep dive. Although most Aussies would argue that 'no worries' is an accommodating expression, LSSU argues that "If I’m not worried, I don’t want anyone telling me not to worry." Enough said. 

3. At the end of the day - The third phrase called into question for the 2022 Banished Words List was originally banished in 1999 but continues to reappear every few years. This imprecise measure of time doesn't sit well with the 2022 nominators who feel that "...things don’t end at the end of the day - or even the ramifications of whatever is happening." Righto.

4. That being said - This tongue-in-cheek phrase is guilty of being 'verbal filler' by the 2022 nominators. 'That being said' commits the language sin of redundant justification and pompous posturing, or to quote one nominator: "Go ahead and say what you want already!" Just give me a minute. 

5. Asking for a friend - Question, phrase, caption... whatever you call it, 'Asking for a friend' is on the Banned Words List for 2022 so it might be time to stop saying it. What irks nominators most about these three words is their deceitful guise. Asking for a friend is a coy attempt to deter self-identification because the friend is a ruse. They went deep with this one.

6. Circle back - If you regularly declare that you'll circle back in your conversations, you, according to LSSU, are guilty of treating colloquy like an ice skating rink. Conversations are meant to be progressive, so you shouldn't be going backwards! Ouch.

7. Deep dive - Deep divers are accused of "The only time to dive into something is when entering a body of water, not going more in-depth into a particular subject or book." Fair dinkum. 

8. New normal - The first entrant for COVID-related jargon on this year's list is often used to describe living in a COVID world as our 'new normal' and makes nominators uncomfortable as they feel you are not coming to terms with what normal really signifies - one nominator questions that "After a couple of years, is any of this really new?" Ease up.

9. You're on mute - If living in your new normal world includes working from home, you've likely come across this one on more than one Zoom call. If you're guilty of always being on mute then you're guilty of ineptitude, according to LSSU, who have now banished the word for overuse and uselessness. 

10. Supply chain - And finally, the tenth word rounding out the Top 10 Banished Words for 2022 is another COVID-related enemy to the people. The buzzword is purportedly being blamed for consumer goods shortages throughout the world - it's the scapegoat of everything that doesn’t happen or arrive on time. Look, we're all in this together. 

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