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Bannination of the Year
December 31, 2006 1:13 PM   Subscribe

Truthiness Makes the Trifecta! As I predicted, the Classic Colbertism that won two Word of the Year awards has made it onto the 32nd L.S.S.U. List of Words and Phrases Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness.
Other linguistic losers for 2007: "Awesome", "Gitmo", "chipotle", "undocumented alien*", "pwn", "search**" (effectively replaced by Google), "gone missing", "gone bad" (applied to things already bad, i.e. 'drug deal gone bad'), "ask your doctor***", "now playing in theaters" (Dept. of Redundancy Dept.) and "healthy food" (healthful is healthier), as well as shorthand couple names like "TomKat" (Would Bogart and Bacall have been "BogCall"?), "i-anything" (lucky for Apple they didn't get that 'iPhone' trademark), men saying "we're pregnant" and "boasts", as in 'boasts amenities'. (Previously)
posted by wendell (65 comments total)

 
This is the first time I have had serious issues with items on the list:

*"undocumented alien": They call it too euphemistic, but the term it replaces, "illegal alien", is grammatically as mis-used as "healthy food" - "Officer, that person over there is a crime!".

**"search": Usually the word banishers go after the trendy, commercialized, overused, meaningless terms... like "Google" (the verb). Why banish the old word that really meant something?

***"ask your doctor": It may be kind of weasely, but it's better than "tell your doctor you gotta have this new pill!"

I guess even even the Banished Words list can "Jump the Shark" (Hey! How come "Jump the Shark" has never been on the list?)
posted by wendell at 1:14 PM on December 31, 2006 [1 favorite]


:)
posted by caddis at 1:17 PM on December 31, 2006


No, Bogart and Bacall would have been HumpBac.

(doesn't quite have the same ring to it though...)
posted by AV at 1:18 PM on December 31, 2006 [1 favorite]


One thing's for sure: prescriptivism never goes out of style.
posted by Arthur "Two Sheds" Jackson at 1:25 PM on December 31, 2006 [1 favorite]


I've never heard a man actually say "we're pregnant." I have several women say it, but it doesn't seem to be especially widespread.
posted by QuarterlyProphet at 1:28 PM on December 31, 2006


Awesome!
posted by QIbHom at 1:28 PM on December 31, 2006


This will... I mean... All arguments posted henceforth will resolve themselves amicably in a calm and reasoned manner. Not.
posted by hal9k at 1:31 PM on December 31, 2006


No, Bogart and Bacall would have been HumpBac.

What is "The Beast With Two HumpBacs"?

I'll continue with "over-extended euphemisms for whoopie" for $800, Alex.
posted by loquacious at 1:32 PM on December 31, 2006


"Now Playing" does not have to mean theaters. Now, more than ever.
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 1:34 PM on December 31, 2006 [1 favorite]


Nothing from here?
posted by BE ADEQUITE at 1:35 PM on December 31, 2006


"Awesome" is a perfectly fine word and it isn't as though it is overused now when compared to different times. I don't get it.
posted by I Foody at 1:37 PM on December 31, 2006



Uh oh, someone's going to be dead to Colbert next week.
posted by bukharin at 1:43 PM on December 31, 2006


Why is "chipotle" on this list? I'll grant that smoked jalapeños are this season's overused trendy ingredient, but it's not as though the word itself is being abused.

"Every restaurant I go to talks about 'potatoes' on the menu! We need to ban this stupid word!"
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:43 PM on December 31, 2006 [5 favorites]


Agreed, the list this year is ridiculous. I would use awful, but I imagine they have the same problem with it as with awesome.
posted by arcticwoman at 2:00 PM on December 31, 2006


Oh, QuarterlyProphet, I have known at least three men who used "we're pregnant". While I admire their excitement and openess in the face of a condition that used to (and sometimes still does) scare the bejeezus out of many men, it is rather like saying "we have the flu" when one partner is in the physical condition of having the flu. It is perfectly appropriate to say "we are having a baby", however.
posted by oflinkey at 2:02 PM on December 31, 2006


Chipotle? Overused? I'm sorry, since when does it refer to anything other than a smoked jalapeno, and what else are we supposed to call them?
posted by mek at 2:13 PM on December 31, 2006


Colbert got pwned!
posted by papakwanz at 2:18 PM on December 31, 2006


You forgot Wii being pronounced "wee", instead of the more appropriate "why". Talk about a marketing faux pas.
posted by wfc123 at 2:22 PM on December 31, 2006


Chipotle.
posted by hermitosis at 2:25 PM on December 31, 2006


Using the word "everyday" to mean "all of the time".

"Low prices everyday".
posted by wfc123 at 2:26 PM on December 31, 2006


*"undocumented alien": They call it too euphemistic, but the term it replaces, "illegal alien", is grammatically as mis-used as "healthy food" - "Officer, that person over there is a crime!".

Exactly, "illegal" is an adverb, it can't apply to a noun.
posted by delmoi at 2:29 PM on December 31, 2006


Search being replaced by Google eh?

That'd make certain news reports interesting. "A Google was on tonight for three climbers lost and feared dead on Mt. Hood tonight. Rescuers report that they will keep Googling as long as they can, but dropping temperatures and fierce winds mean they do not expect any results to be returned." or "Scientists at the university of Toronto report a major breakthrough in the Google for the cure for cancer" perhaps even "A massive Google is underway for a man police believe to be a serial child molester".

Can I banish improperly defining the scope of statments?
posted by Grimgrin at 2:29 PM on December 31, 2006


IM IN UR THEATR NOW PLAYING UR MOVEZE
posted by oneirodynia at 2:33 PM on December 31, 2006 [1 favorite]


Thanks, BE ADEQUITE. I've been using that phrase to console people all month, and it should definitely have made some kind of list.
posted by hermitosis at 2:34 PM on December 31, 2006


"Roasted Red Pepper" anyone?
posted by ageispolis at 2:44 PM on December 31, 2006


i disagree with delmoi; cocaine is an illegal drug, but it is not an undocumented drug. people who know their adverbs will assert that they snorted it unlawfully. bogie and bacall would have been "lahump". i want to see "in-store special" retired; when i hear it over the store p.a. i think, where the fuck else would it be, out in the parking lot?
posted by bruce at 2:48 PM on December 31, 2006


Chipotle? Overused? I'm sorry, since when does it refer to anything other than a smoked jalapeno, and what else are we supposed to call them?

A smoked jalapeno?
posted by markr at 2:53 PM on December 31, 2006


then there's "teh". i'm so non-hip, for about a year i was wondering why all these people can't type right.
posted by bruce at 2:56 PM on December 31, 2006


Yeah, I'm confused about objections to "illegal alien" based on grammar. Isn't illegal an adjective, as bruce points out--as in "illegal drug"? An act can be done legally or illegally, but a noun can also meaningfully be described as legal or illegal. And is the problem with "healthy food" grammar? That's just adjective + noun, too? Um, also I don't understand the problem with "healthy food" anyway.
posted by chinston at 3:11 PM on December 31, 2006


I just don't think dead food, vegetable or otherwise, can be healthy. It can, however, be healthful for someone else to eat...
posted by Samizdata at 3:17 PM on December 31, 2006


I smoked this Jalapeno unlawfully.
posted by delmoi at 3:17 PM on December 31, 2006


unlawful means against the law, but illegal is a sick bird.
posted by bruce at 3:31 PM on December 31, 2006


According to the article, "chipotle" is banned because of its overuse not as an ingredient or as meaning smoked jalapeño, but because it apparently means anything "smoked dry over medium heat". This strikes me as extremely odd; I've never used it to mean anything other than the smoked jalapeños (which are so yummy as a sauce over scrambled eggs).
posted by wanderingmind at 3:43 PM on December 31, 2006


Watch any inteview with a twenty-something actress it won't take long before you hear the words "literally" and "amazing."
posted by davebush at 3:45 PM on December 31, 2006


["we're pregnant"] it is rather like saying "we have the flu" when one partner is in the physical condition of having the flu.

In many primitive societies, both were perfectly valid, meaningful and oft-used constructions. Our language's discomfort with empathetic states is both a function of and a reinforcement for our culture's focus on individuality. In many other historical cultures, one could very much be sick with someone, or pregnant with someone, without bearing the physical symptoms of these conditions. These statements were reflections of the two subjects' emotional connectedness, in that as kin, friend or lover, if you're sick, I suffer with you, and if you're pregnant I share in the joys and challenges of it with you, and thus you're never alone with whatever it is you're facing.

Far from being dominated by it, the individual is reinforced by their place within the group, and if more people in our society could say with honesty "we're pregnant" or "we have the flu" this world would probably be a better place.
posted by kowalski at 4:11 PM on December 31, 2006 [3 favorites]


ARMED ROBBERY/DRUG DEAL GONE BAD -- From the news reports. What degree of "bad" don't we understand? Larry Lillehammer of Bonney Lake, Washington, asks, "After it stopped going well and good?"

I didn't get this one. Could someone please explain?

Also, RE chipotle - the most annoying thing about this word is how often people mis-pronounce it as chi-pol-tay. Chi-pol-tay. Sends a chill up my spine.
posted by Afroblanco at 4:12 PM on December 31, 2006


How do they feel about bannination?
posted by qvantamon at 4:41 PM on December 31, 2006


the most annoying thing about this word is how often people mis-pronounce it as chi-pol-tay. Chi-pol-tay. Sends a chill up my spine.

There's a carry-okie song in there somewhere
posted by kurumi at 4:42 PM on December 31, 2006


How do they feel about pant fish?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 5:07 PM on December 31, 2006


Kowalski: fantastic point.
posted by ageispolis at 5:22 PM on December 31, 2006


It's pronounced chi-POAT'l here. If you even hear the word. If any supermarket in a city of a million freaking people even carries the stuff, and you don't have to spend two hours on a bus going to the only specialty market in town that carries them.

I'm not bitter.
posted by watsondog at 5:24 PM on December 31, 2006


"then there's "teh". i'm so non-hip, for about a year i was wondering why all these people can't type right."

Well for those of us who are still unhip - could you clue us in?
posted by vronsky at 5:37 PM on December 31, 2006


I suspect that wendell and demoi are winding us up. "Illegal" is adjective, at least according to the two dictionaries I can access. "Unlawful" is a synonym from a different linguistic tradition. "Illegally" and "unlawfully" are also both good. (Damn English language can't decide if it's going to be Romance or Germanic.) Healthy not only means, "being in or having good health," it also means, "promoting good health." So, "healthy food" and "healthy body" are both grammatically correct.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:49 PM on December 31, 2006


Since when is "illegal" an adverb?

On preview: guess I'm late to the party.
posted by stewiethegreat at 7:27 PM on December 31, 2006


"Chipotle? Overused? I'm sorry, since when does it refer to anything other than a smoked jalapeno, and what else are we supposed to call them?

markr:A smoked jalapeno?
"

Fantastic! We should also discourage "guacamole" in favor of "avacado dip" and "mole" for "chili and chocolate sauce". Linguine and fettuccine will henceforth be known as "flat but narrow ribbons of pasta" and "flat but kind of wide ribbons of pasta", respectively. Lasagna is now called "layered, really wide and thin pieces of pasta baked with tomato sauce and other stuff". Hamburgers will preferable be called "ground beef patty sandwiches". Curry powder will of course be renamed "a combination of ground spices which likely contains, but is not limited to, a combination of some of the following ingredients: coriander, cumin, fenugreek, turmeric, ginger, garlic, fennel seed, clove, mustard seed, green cardamom, black cardamom, nutmeg, red pepper, cinnamon and black pepper". Problem solved.
posted by squarehead at 7:40 PM on December 31, 2006


The final word on healthy/healthful.

And to be even more pedantic, the debates over illegal/undocumented immigrant are not technically about grammar.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:44 PM on December 31, 2006


This is just a follow-up pointing out that I realize that markr was just giving the obvious answer to a stupid question.
posted by squarehead at 7:45 PM on December 31, 2006


I don't get the vehemence of the Chipotle defenders, or the tactic of comparing it to other foods and condiments. You don't see every other shitty dive restaurant advertising fettuccine, potatoes, or curry powder like it was the culinary second coming, as though some craptastic "sauce" engineered in a dingy Patterson factory ('Now with 0.0028% real whatever the hell makes chipotle chipotle!') confers some sort of cachet to their menus.

Also, no server has ever mispronounced "potato" and then been unable to satisfactorily explain what the hell it is.

I know, blame lackluster service standards, not the word, but goddam am I sick of chipotle.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:55 PM on December 31, 2006


No, Bogart and Bacall would have been HumpBac.

Nuh-Uh. TomKat is made from the first syllables of first names. Humphrey is pronounced Hum-phrey, not Hump-hrey. Humphrey and Lauren would shorten to HumLo.
posted by y2karl at 8:00 PM on December 31, 2006


Alvy Ampersand: "I don't get the vehemence of the Chipotle defenders, or the tactic of comparing it to other foods and condiments. You don't see every other shitty dive restaurant advertising fettuccine, potatoes, or curry powder like it was the culinary second coming"

I guess I don't frequent shitty dive restaurants enough to know this. And doesn't the Olive Garden consider fettuccine alfredo to be the culinary second coming? That doesn't make me like fettuccine alfredo, or the words that name it, any less.
posted by squarehead at 8:08 PM on December 31, 2006


I guess I still just don't get the vehemence of the Chipotle haters.
posted by squarehead at 8:11 PM on December 31, 2006


But since they were never commonly called by the first names, would that be BoBa?

(Now Tracy and Hepburn, that's a tough one.)
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:11 PM on December 31, 2006


Hepburn and Tracy would be KaSpa, of course. Since they are both dead, they would be KaSpa the Friendly Ghost.
posted by QIbHom at 9:19 PM on December 31, 2006


Ok, KaSpe the Friendly Ghost...same pronunciation.
posted by QIbHom at 9:19 PM on December 31, 2006


Don't even go for Tracy and Hepburn- it's a TrHep.
sorry.
posted by pointilist at 10:32 PM on December 31, 2006


"Prior to 2005 . . . a roasted jalapeno. Now we have a 'chipotle' burrito with 'chipotle' marinated meat, 'chipotle' peppers, sprinkled with a 'chipotle' seasoning and smothered in a 'chipotle' sauce. Time to give this word a rest." – Rob Zeiger, Bristol, Pennsylvania.


I guess I still just don't get the vehemence of the Chipotle haters.


Well, I think it's because they're incredibly ignorant. I'm sorry that the word only made it to Pennsylvania in 2005, Mr. Rob Zeiger, but we've been using it down here in the southwest for... hmmm.... ALL OF MY LIFE.
That list is teh dumbz0rz.
posted by eparchos at 10:50 PM on December 31, 2006


Yes, someone should go over there and tell them they jumped the shark, definitely, not the couch. Not enough zest.
posted by Listener at 11:10 PM on December 31, 2006


stop this anti-chipotle shit right now!
economy in speech = minimal syllables
chipotle is three syllables, smoked jalapeno is five syllables.
if you disavow the economy rule, you must articulate an alternative rule to justify your disdain/chipotlephobia.
the libertarian outlook is to accord freedom to others; you don't tell me how to denote a smoked jalapeno; i won't force you to drink chipotle sauce. i am a child of the southwest, relocated to oregon, and if you annoy me sufficiently and i get my hands on you, you're gonna have an up-close-and-personal experience with a whole bottle of chipotle sauce!
posted by bruce at 11:15 PM on December 31, 2006


Wasn't truthiness also the word of the year last year? It's a 2005 word (used in the first episode, which aired in Oct. 2005), so this is baffling to me.
posted by Eideteker at 11:29 PM on December 31, 2006


It's a 2005 word
I think we've already established that they're a bit behind the times up there....
posted by eparchos at 12:48 AM on January 1, 2007


OMG, like, there is no "like?" Are. You. Kidding. Me? What-Ever. I'm all, like...ugh.
posted by wallstreet1929 at 7:02 AM on January 1, 2007


Chipotles!? Chipotles?! You think this little skirmish over Chipotles is bad? Let me tell you, son, I survived the Battle of the Pestos and it wasn't pretty-- I can still taste the basil and pine nuts on rainy days.

But that was nothing to the Great War-- the War of the Sun Dried Tomato. My God. People were being bombarded on a daily basis. My best friend, Pete, was brought low by a sun dried tomato muffin, and I nearly lost it myself when I faced down a dish of sun dried tomato ice cream. You can't imagine the horror. For years I woke up in a cold sweat after dreaming about being presented with a box of hand-dipped, chocolate-covered sun dried tomatoes.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 9:32 AM on January 1, 2007


"The climbers have been missing for over five days. Google parties have so far found no trace of them."

"Her close brush with cancer spawned a year-long google for self-awareness"

"Out of my way! I'm googling for the truth about my brothers death and no one is going to stop me!"

[rumours of the death of the word search are greatly exaggerated]
posted by CynicalKnight at 10:18 AM on January 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


Actually, using today's "rules," it would obviously be SpenKat. (But that's not nearly as funny as the other suggestions.)
posted by jenii at 12:10 PM on January 1, 2007


Apparently Lake Superior State University only had 31 years worth of worthwhile commentary.

This list would still be terrible, even if served with tasty tasty chipotle sauce.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 1:35 PM on January 1, 2007


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