It's become a New Year's tradition right along with champagne, party hats and Auld Lang Syne. The annual Lake Superior State University list of words and phrases that should be banished for "overuse, misuse or general uselessness." The list is now in its 44th year, and compiles thousands of nominations from across the country to arrive at the words and phrases that grate the most. Topping the 2019 list of 18 words/phrases is "collusion." Anyone who has remotely followed current events in the last two years has read or heard the "c" word used primarily in regard to President Donald Trump allegedly "colluding" with Russians during the 2016 election.
Other entrants on this year's list include "wheelhouse," "ghosting," "eschew," and "optics," along with phrases "wrap my head around," "legally drunk," and "most important election of our time."
Image and etiquette expert Valerie Sokolosky agrees with many of the choices for this year's banished words list. "Wheelhouse...I mean, unless you're a sailor that's really not in everybody's vocabulary," she tells KTRH. "Wrap my head around...that's been used and overused, and what does it really say?"
Sokolosky also has a suggestion of her own. "The word 'like'...well and like, you know, and like, and it's kind of like, and like, and like, and like...I feel like my head is going to hit the ceiling every time I hear that," she says.
Other words to make the list in recent years include foodie, selfie, ginormous, bromance and staycation.
While the list is clearly tongue-in-cheek, Sokolosky believes there is an important lesson behind it. "Conversation needs to make sense, and if you have to try to figure out what someone is saying, then it's not really good dialogue," she says. "Think about what you're going to say, and be a good conversationalist. Don't let slang, or these non-descriptive words, enter into our vocabulary."