Get the Word Out: Add These to the Banished Word List!

A humorous list of so-called offending words, and a few cool foreign replacements.

Get The Word OutIllustrated by Mark Matcho


The best phrase in the English language is “never mind,” as in, “Honey, the cat’s stuck in the tree. Can you turn off the TV, get off the couch, grab a ladder … Oh, it jumped out. Never mind.” But not every phrase in our native tongue is as sonorous and lovely as that one. And recently, a slew of easily offended wordsmiths have proposed
highlighting the guilty parties and hitting Delete.

Lake Superior State University’s 2012 List of Banished Words came out earlier this year, with a few terms they swear we’ll never miss:

Shared Sacrifice: “Usually used by a politician who wants other
people to share in the sacrifice so he or she doesn’t have to.”

Ginormous: “No need to make a gigantic [idiot] out of yourself
by trying to find an enormous word for big.”

Thank You in Advance: “A condescending and challenging way to say, ‘Since I already thanked you, you have to do this.’”
Ron Rosenbaum of Slate has harsh words for crowdsourcing. “No matter how many sources you cite,” he writes, “you’re not going to convince me you get smarter by asking a lot of ignorant people questions. Did Einstein crowdsource the special theory of relativity?”

Gravitas is another one Rosenbaum wants tossed onto the pyre: “Isn’t it obvious that someone who’s using gravitas is mainly trying to confer it upon himself by implying he has the gravitas to recognize and bestow gravitas?”

By now you’re probably thinking, Hey, that’s some dent you’re putting in the dictionary. Not to worry. Mental Floss magazine has an idea—let’s replace the vanquished words with cool foreign ones! Like these:

Cotisuelto (Caribbean Spanish): One who wears his shirttail outside his trousers.

Bakku-shan (Japanese): The experience of seeing a woman who appears pretty from behind but not from the front.

Iktsuarpok (Inuit): That feeling of anticipation when you’re waiting for someone to show up at your house and you keep going outside to see if he’s there yet.

Kummerspeck (German): Excess weight gained from emotional overeating. Literally, grief bacon.

Tartle (Scottish): That moment of hesitation when you have to introduce someone whose name you can’t remember.

Pesamenteiro (Portuguese): Someone who joins a funeral party just for the refreshments.

Zeg (Georgian): The day after tomorrow.

No one’s going to miss crowdsourcing when you can say kummerspeck! If I were you, I’d learn these words soon, certainly by zeg.

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