Begone! Annual list of words to be banished from the 'Queen's English'

What do the words "skill set," "hack," and "swag," have in common?

They all made the annual list of words that should be banished from the English language. The list is published by a small school in northern Michigan, Lake Superior State University, and has been a tradition since 1975.

WFMY News:

Northern Michigan's Lake Superior State University published its 40th "List of Words to be Banished from the Queen's English for Misuse, Overuse and Uselessness" on Wednesday.

According to the university's website, the words included this year are:

  • bae
  • polar vortex
  • hack
  • skill set
  • swag
  • foodie
  • curated
  • friend-raising
  • cra-cra
  • enhanced interrogation
  • takeaway
  • nation (when used as a suffix)

The list is based on submissions from the public received throughout 2014.

The university's website says the tradition was started by W. T. Rabe, former public relations director at Lake Superior State University, when he and his friends came up with a list at a New Year's Eve party in 1975 and published it the following day.

The list generated many reader suggestions for words to add, and since then the list has been composed entirely from nominations received throughout the year.

I obviously live a sheltered life. What the hell is "bae"?

"Meaning 'before anyone else.' How stupid! Stop calling your boyfriend 'bae'." -- Evie Dunagan, Manheim, Penn.

"It's overused. I heard someone refer to their ramen noodles as 'bae'! If I was putting someone 'before anything else,' I would respect them enough to use their name."  -- S. Thoms, Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

"The most annoying term of affection to show up in years. Also, the concept 'before anybody else,' developed AFTER the word became popular. Reason enough for it to be banned. – Blan Wright, Sugar Hill, Ga.

"A dumb, annoying word."  -- James Becker, Holly, Mich.

"I'd rather be called 'babe' than 'bae' any day." -- Alexsis Outwater, Bronson, Mich.

Yes, please. Deep six that one.

Ditto "cra-cra":

Early in 2014, Steve Kaufman of Houston, Tex., could be heard screaming, "I've only heard it twice and already know by the end of the year I'll want to scream." 

"Short-form for 'crazy' and sometimes just one 'cra.' I hear kids (including my 6 yr. old) saying it all the time, e.g. 'That snowstorm yesterday was 'cra-cra.'" – Esther Proulx, Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

"I'm sick of hearing myself say this! Must be banned!" – Roxanne Werly, Traverse City, Mich.

There are about 50,000 English language words considered to be in general usage. These few we can certainly do without.


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