I was playing Mr. Mom and I began feeling morally and intellectually bankrupt after I tried to navigate the failageddon that is the Obamacare website when I finally got through the adversity that was like a root canal on steroids. I was so happy I took a selfie of me twerking. I put a hashtag on the pic and blasted it out to my fan base in the twittersphere. That was when I was T-boned by a ton of reposts. It was like the Repostapocolyps.
At the end of every year there are a multitude of lists chronicling the previous 12 months. Top ten Duck Dynasty sayings, best photos of the year, best presidential quotes, on and on the list goes. It seems everything makes a list of some kind. We even do our own listing here in The Press. We publish a year in review, the year in memoriam and the year in pictures.
Every year the list I look forward to the most is The Banished Word List from Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, MI. Each year the college takes nominations and then publishes the list of words that need a break from everyday usage. Last year I challenged myself to write a paragraph using all of the words on the 2012 list and I thought it would be a fun exercise to repeat this year as well.
As you can see by the first few lines of this column it was quite a stretch to put some order to the random collection of words and terms that annoyed people in 2013.
Last year I added my own suggestion of committed. I argued the word committed was over used in the political world. It seemed everywhere I turned some politician was committed to something ridiculous. John Boehner was committed to saving pink bunnies. Nancy Pelosi was committed to reducing on-the-job paper cut accidents. Governor Otter was committed to defunding Power County. The word lost meaning as everyone became more committed to some minor thing.
Strangely there is not a single word that bothered me this year. I really don’t mind the words I used in the first paragraph. I did start to tire of the two “suffering suffixes” on the list, but not enough to send them packing. Much like everything in the Clinton administration became a something-gate, travelgate, medicalgate, Monicagate. This year everything became an apocalypse or an ageddon. The Beiberpocalyps turned into a Miley Cyrisageddon when their fans tried to get tickets for a concert. Easter suddenly became the Egg Huntageddon and Black Friday was called Shopocalypse.
Even the suffering suffixes did not raise my hackles this year as much as it did in those nominating words for the list. Many of the new words are attempts to describe new things coming our way. How do you describe the cyber-collective that is Twitter? Twittersphere is as good a choice as any other and better than some like Twitterland or Twittertown.
A lot of these words are the English speaking world’s attempt to liven things up. Most of the arguments for this year’s list of banished words were they are not traditional words.
I whole heartedly agree that some words are overused. A word needs to take a rest. Many of you will remember the overuse of the word psych in the 80s. Duh was beaten into the ground in the 90s, followed by the word much a decade later, as in “obsess much” made popular by the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
The one word that never makes the list, but I think should be included is “seen”. “Seen” is a very useful word, however the way it is used is maddening.
“Seen” is meant to convey possessive past tense as in, “I have seen that book before.” It is not intended as a substitute for the word saw. It is improper to say “I seen that book”. The proper construction of that sentence is “I saw that book”
The word “seen” is one of the few truly married words in our language. Seen is happily married to “have”. “I have seen that book.” “Have you seen the new Hunger Games movie?” “Seen” occasionally takes a break from “have” and goes out with its close friend “has” to be used as a past-tense third-person declaration. “He has seen the report.” On a rare occasion “seen” will go out with “had”, but that is a complicated relationship. “She had seen the puppy on Fourth Street, but can’t find it now.”
“seen” NEVER goes out alone.
I don’t know where the misappropriation of the word “seen” came from, but please make it stop!