Iâ€™m a month behind in suggesting words to eliminate in 2012. Several stories surfaced in the waning days of 2011 about words that have grown tired and overused. I think the one that really hit home was â€œawesomeâ€ â€“ a great word to eliminate. Suggesting that some awesome footage of a car wreck appeared on YouTube doesnâ€™t make much sense.
I would like to add my own suggestions. Certainly, there are many more, but here are some that may be best reserved for baby babble with your toddler.
1. Gravitas. â€œThis presidential candidate sure has the â€˜gravitasâ€™ to win the election.â€ Here, the speaker means â€œgravity,â€ or enough weight to make it happen. Sadly, the word also means sobriety.
2. Critical Mass. â€œThe project has gained enough â€˜critical massâ€™ to move forward.â€ Really? While Iâ€™m not an expert in physics, I do know enough to suggest this term is best left to the reactor boys.
3. Low-hanging fruit. â€œWeâ€™d better buy that stock now; itâ€™s â€˜low-hanging fruit.â€™â€ Itâ€™s time to eliminate this term. Adam and Eve probably control the intellectual property rights to it anyway.
4. Like. Sorry, but I teach at Indiana University, and we know how students like this word. â€œLikeâ€ is like an infectious disease, spreading like wildfire and, like, itâ€™s really annoying, too.
5. Super. Itâ€™s not a bad word when you connect it with something. â€œSuperman,â€ â€œSuper Bowl.â€ But by itself, itâ€™s best left out of conversation. However, for nostalgic reasons, I still like â€œSuper Duper.â€
6. Equilibrium. Unfortunately, I really like this word. Itâ€™s almost as good as â€œosmosis.â€ Itâ€™s really impressive to throw around scientific terms that have been ascribed new meanings at the water cooler. But alas, â€œequilibriumâ€ must go.
So, this is just a start. I am sure you can add literally hundreds of words to this â€œmust-avoidâ€ list. But I first would want to ensure we have enough critical mass to add words that have the gravitas to be on the list. Sure, thereâ€™s some low-hanging fruit out there, and, like, itâ€™s super fun to do this, but we do need to establish some equilibrium within our listings. Awesome!