Banished Words 2005

March 11, 2005

Every year, a group of journalists and writers get together and discuss what words in common usage in the English language ought to be eliminated, or at least put on permanent probationary status (yes, English really is a language; it really has its proponents and there are even one or two who can speak it accurately…none of them actually live in the USA, but we can hope to have one some day).

Here are some of my favorites from this year’s list.

PLACE STAMP HERE – Dennis K. McDermott of Oneida, New York, says, “It appears on 99% of the return envelopes provided by creditors with monthly billings. It’s especially annoying when enclosed in a rectangle drawn in the upper right corner. (What if you miss?) And then…they inform you that ‘The Post Office will not deliver without postage.’ Can we legitimately claim to be a superpower if we need to be reminded to put a stamp on an envelope?”

COMPANION ANIMALS – “They’re called PETS.” Nick Leach, Bloomington, Indiana.

EMBEDDED JOURNALIST – Nominations for this Iraq War II phrase came from throughout the U.S., Canada and overseas. “I’m a journalist and until the war started, I’d never heard this term. In the interest of objectivity, journalists probably shouldn’t be embedded with any organization they regularly cover.” Ken Marten, Hamtramck, Michigan.

“It seems to be a hip way of saying, ‘at the scene,'” said Tim Bednall, Tokyo.

“The next time I hear it used by the media, I’m going to embed my foot in the TV!” Ellen Brown, San Diego.

CAPTURED ALIVE – “The news keeps stating that Saddam Hussein was ‘captured alive.’ Well, what other way are you going to be captured? Maybe ‘found dead’ or ‘discovered dead’ never ‘captured dead.'” Bill Lodholz, Davis, California.

SHOTS RANG OUT – “I’m tired of hearing this phrase on the news. Shots don’t ‘ring’ unless you are standing too close to the muzzle, and in that case you don’t need the reporter telling you about it.” Michael Kinney, Rockville, Maryland.

SWEAT LIKE A PIG – Tim Croce of Torrington, Connecticut says “Pigs do not have sweat glands; that is why they roll in mud to cool themselves.” Nevertheless, Tim said he was sweating like a pig to get this nomination to us.

HAND-CRAFTED LATTE: We’re not sure where Orin Hargraves of Westminster, Maryland discovered this beauty, but we agreed with his assertion that “This compound is an insult to generations of skilled craftspeople who have mustered the effort and discipline to create something beautiful by hand. To apply ‘hand-crafted’ to the routine tasks of the modern-day equivalents of soda jerks cheapens the whole concept of handicraft.”

SANITARY LANDFILL – “Ever been to one?” asks Stan Slade of Long Beach, Mississippi. “Not the cleanest place in the world. What happened to the county or city dump?”

What would you add to this list of Banished words and phrases?


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