I love words.
Everyone who is around me is painfully subject to that fact. Whenever learning a new word, I begin to use it repeatedly no matter how obscure it might be. But the fact of my all comes with a caveat. I love words that are old, long, difficult to say, and hold a robust meaning.
Something that I do not like are words that are swung about as clubs rather than implemented with precision. For example, the words “logophile” and “lexiphile” are often used as names for people who love words. However, the two words are not included in any official dictionary. They are slang terms attributed to a group of people who love real words. Interesting.
We enter into a new year with certain words and phrases whose time has come. My hope is usually that words can be redeemed, phrases can be reworked, and buzzwords can die a quick death.
Language is a beautiful gift and is rife with artistic value. Please choose your words carefully as they hold great power over those around you.
With that as the background, I submit to you my list of words and phrases that need to pass into the ether. Please feel free to argue with my list or submit your own lexical atrocities in the comments below.
Whatever – This word and all of its derivations (especially “whateves”) has become a one word statement for “I do not care about what you just said, what you think, or the consequences of my actions.” It is second only to the grunt as the laziest of any response in the history of the human race.
Fiscal Cliff – If this phrase had any meaning, the media has overused it to the point where it is my prime example of a phrase wielded as a club to gain a single reaction from the masses.
YOLO – An acronym for “you only live once” and popularized in modern culture.
Sheeple – Oh how clever! A contraction of “sheep” and “people” to describe the mindless masses we lead. Rather than insult those who need to be encouraged toward educating themselves, we should try something new: encourage them to educate themselves.
Value-add – A business term I hear, employ, and loathe in my own life. I hope to find a better way to say what I truly mean.
User-friendly – Is there some other goal in mind?
Ideate – It simply means that we are going to a meeting where we will work toward a strategy of accomplishing a goal. It sound wonderful for the first dozen or so times and then it becomes tiresome.
The new normal – The phrase is descriptive of the changes that arrive. My angst with the phrase is that it should only be used once to describe a shift in life and/or work. Otherwise, you must employ its use every day or every hour to describe the ever-changing world in which we live.
The Next Big Thing – If the thing you are doing is not next, then what is it? If it is not big, then why are we talking about it? Likely, in describing what we are doing as “the next big thing” is the most narcissistic statement possible.
Crowdfunding – To everyone who wants me to pay into your Kickstarter or other such online campaign so you can just sit around and think up cool ideas, I’d like to say, “Get a job.”
Gamification – As in, we’ve made every digital interface look like a game. Congrats, you have successfully tapped into the inner-teenager in every adult male.
Your turn. What are the words, buzzwords, and phrases you would like to see meet oblivion?