Today’s post comes from Barbara in Robbinsdale
I was listening to “The Splendid Table” one recent Sunday morning and was appalled to hear Lynne Rossetto Kasper mention a kitchen “hack” for a desired outcome. Until then I had thought I could avoid hearing “hack” (used in place of the word “tip”), if I simply stayed off Facebook and Pinterest. It’s just one of those little new words that drives me a little batty, and apparently I’m not the only one. On New Years’ Day, I came upon this New York Times article about a Banished Words List, issued annually for the past 40 years by the Public Relations Department of Lake Superior State University (in Sault Ste. Marie, on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula).
This tongue-in-cheek listing began as a publicity strategy to help LSSU become known as more than a technological institution. “The first list was dreamed up by Bill (William T.) Rabe and… friends at a New Year’s Eve party in 1975. The following day, the “List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness” was released – the international reaction from news media and the public was unexpected… Although Rabe retired in 1987, the list has been continued by LSSU’s Public Relations people.
“People from around the world have nominated hundreds of words and phrases such as ‘you know,’ ‘user friendly,’ ‘at this point in time,’ and ‘have a nice day,’ to be purged from the language.” Some more recent offerings have been: “my bad” (1998), “forced relaxation” (1989), “free gift” (1988), “live audience” (1983, 1987, 1990). 2015’s list included “bae,” “polar vortex” and… “hack.”
It was in some odd way satisfying to find “hack” on the 2015 Banished Words List
“This word is totally over-used and mis-used. What they really mean is ‘tip’ or ‘short cut,’ but clearly it is not a ‘hack,’ as it involves no legal or ethical impropriety or breach of security.” – Peter P. Nieckarz Jr., Sylva, N.C.
What word or phrase would you submit to the 2016 Banished Word List?