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Spoiler Alert: Banished Words List of 2013

Posted on Dec 31, 2012

It’s not just the fiscal cliff people are tired of hearing about—it’s the term as well. “Fiscal cliff” topped the 38th annual List of Words to Be Banished from the Queen’s English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness.

“As one might expect, this phrase received the most nominations this year,” according to Lake Superior State University, which releases its list of banished words every New Year’s Eve. “If Congress acts to keep the country from tumbling over the cliff, LSSU believes this banishment should get some of the credit.”

Here’s what some nominators had to say about the now-ejected phrase:

“(We’ve) lost sight of the metaphor and started to think it’s a real place, like with the headline, ‘Obama, Boehner meeting on fiscal cliff’.” Barry Cochran, Portland, Ore.

“Tends to be used however the speaker wishes to use it, as in falling off the fiscal cliff, climbing the fiscal cliff, challenged by the fiscal cliff, etc. Just once, I would like to hear it referred to as a financial crisis.” Barbara CLIFF, Johnstown, Penn.

“Continually referred to as ‘the so-called fiscal cliff,’ followed by a definition. How many times do we need to hear ‘fiscal cliff,’ let alone its definition? Please let this phrase fall off of a real cliff!” Randal Baker, Seabeck, Wash.

Besides “fiscal cliff,” the northern Michigan university also exiled “kick the can down the road,” “double down,” “job creators/creation,” “passion/passionate,” “YOLO,” “spoiler alert,” “bucket list,” “trending,” “superfood,” “boneless wings” and “guru.” Nominations came in mostly through the university’s website this year, according to a press release on its site.

Since the list began in 1975, the university has banished close to 1,000 phrases.

—Posted by Tracy Bloom.

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