The self-appointed language police at Lake Superior State University in Michigan have declared war on “fake news.” That overused term is a notable entry on the university’s 43rd annual “List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness.” It’s obviously a tongue-in-cheek list, compiled using nominations from around the world. Other entries on the 2018 list include “nothingburger,” “gig economy,” and “covfefe,” the curious word President Donald Trump used in a tweet. This year’s list made us wonder: What was the fate of the aggravating words from the university’s past 42 lists? While some are still going strong years later, many mercifully faded into obscurity. Here are 10 of those latter words or phrases, and the year they made the LSSU list.
10. Y2K (1999)
Anyone younger than 30 would find it hard to believe that some experts worried that the world’s computer infrastructure would crash when the calendar turned from 1999 to 2000. That thankfully didn’t happen. By the way, before “Y2K” became synonymous with the issue, other terms IT professionals used were “CDC,” for Century Date Change and “Faddie” (Faulty Date Logic).
9. Git-R-Done! (2006)
The expression popularized by comedian Larry the Cable Guy had a brief but widespread run in pop culture.
8. Cra-Cra (2015)
It’s just crazy how the lifespan of this silly phrase could be measured in months.
7. Fiscal Cliff (2013)
In 2012 this word dominated news reports about the U.S. economy, describing the potential dire effects of pending increased taxes and lower spending. Thankfully, lawmakers averted the crisis and the term died overnight.
6. Yo (1990)
This was once a big thing, as in, “Yo dude, what’s happening?”
5. Shovel-Ready (2010)
This term got tossed about quite a bit in the media before the 2009 stimulus package passed. President Barack Obama used the word quite a bit to describe how many major infrastructure projects were “shovel-ready” and just needed funding to begin. A year later the president admitted that “shovel-ready wasn’t as shovel-ready as we expected.”
4. Chillaxin’ (2010)
This grisly portmanteau of “chill” and “relaxin’” still pops up sometimes in conversations, cluelessly used by people who don’t realize it’s so 2009ish.
3. Show Me the Money (1998)
The American Film Institute rated this line from the 1996 film Jerry MacGuire one of the greatest movie quotes of all time, but it quickly became aggravating when everyone started using it.
2. Make No Mistake About It (2003)
This sounds like the type of unwieldy phrase a high school freshman might use in trying to flesh out the word count in an essay.
1. Yuh Know (1978 and 1980)
This was once such an egregious expression it made the LSSU list twice. The list editor wrote “‘Yuh know’ is a chronic, probably terminal, disease of the English language.” While the phrase is still used, it doesn’t seem as prevalent now.