Saturday 18 November 2017

Don't get your dandruff up over 2016's banned words

Last year's divisive US election clearly influenced nominations, and was reflected in the inclusion of
Last year's divisive US election clearly influenced nominations, and was reflected in the inclusion of "bigly" and "post-truth".

Jeff Karoub

You, sir (or ma'am): Focus, if you will, on a historic, on fleek listicle containing words nominated for bigly banishment. But don't convene a town hall meeting or get your dandruff up in the echo chamber over them.

Michigan's Lake Superior University yesterday released its annual 'List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness'.

The tongue-in-cheek, non- binding list comes from suggestions submitted by the public. It includes "you, sir", "focus", "town hall meeting", "historic", "echo chamber", "on fleek", "bigly", "listicle" and "get your dandruff up", an apparent substitute for "dander", its hair-and-skin kin.

The others were "Frankenfruit", "bete noire", "guesstimate", "ghost", "dadbod", "selfie drone", "manicured", "post-truth", "disruption" and "831" - a texting encryption of "I love you" (eight letters, three words, one meaning).

Last year's divisive US election clearly influenced nominations, and was reflected in the inclusion of "bigly" and "post-truth".

"Bigly" also made the 2016 Top 10 compiled by the lexicographers at the Merriam-Webster dictionary publilshers. US President-elect Donald Trump was fond last year of saying "big league" but making it sound like "bigly", an archaic adverb or adjective dating to around 1400.

"Post-truth", a term sometimes used to describe the current political climate, is Oxford Dictionaries' word of the year.

John Shibley, Lake Superior State spokesman and list-compiler in chief, said "lots of political vitriol" came in this year, with people wanting to ban "President Trump", "Crooked Hillary" and "Electoral College".

Shibley said he "made an editorial decision not to wade into that swamp" - drained or otherwise.

He said all words that made the final list garnered 200 to 300 votes apiece, and the top vote-getter was "echo chamber" with more than 500 submissions.

Overall, the university received submissions from about 8,000 people and maintains an archive of more than 850 words.

Another school takes the opposite approach: Detroit's Wayne State University attempts through its Word Warriors campaign to exhume worthy words that have fallen out of favour. The 2016 end-of-year list included "absquatulate" - which means to discreetly and abruptly leave a place, such as a gathering or party, without informing the host.

That's an old-school analogue to "ghost" on the banished words list. And not a lot of people know that.

©Associated Press

Sunday Independent

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editors Choice

Also in World News