Language is a living thing, growing and evolving every day. But not all growth is good, even in nature. Invasive species move in, take root and soon disrupt and degrade the environment. Which brings us to this bit of editor advice for 2015: words that have sprung up like weeds and overrun the landscape of writing and social media. It’s time to get out the Weed-B-Gon and wipe out these invaders – here are some words that need to die:
Bye-bye BAE. Before anything else (or anybody else, or anyone else), dispatch this overused acronym of affection. “BAE” now gets used to describe everything from lovers to espresso bars to pizza and noodles. It’s a synonym for “babe” and a substitute for “cool.” Enough already. Ban BAE.
End the hack attack. “Hack” is a close second for most overused word. Rooted in computer jargon, it has expanded to mean “tip” in wide usage and it’s everywhere. We’re overrun with life hacks, car hacks, furniture hacks and even marriage hacks. “Hack” felt fresh and hip when it broke out, but now it feels stale and cliché. In fact, it’s downright hackneyed.
So long swag. It started out as shorthand for “free gifts” or “giveaways,” but it’s become so much more. And so much worse. “Swag” has morphed into all parts of speech and become a fill-in word to suit any occasion. It’s no longer swaggy to be swaggy, so swag us no more with “swag.”
Farewell, foodie. Born as a flip and fun way to describe people who have an ardent interest in foods, “foodie” had a certain cachet at the start. But over time, this once-flavorful word has been overcooked. Writers are using it to describe almost anyone who likes to eat. “Foodie” is so bland, it should be banned.
See ya, “Said no one ever.” We admit we laughed right out loud the first time we read this snarky bit of commentary. But like so many clever phrases, this one dies a little with each use. Unoriginal writers speed up its demise by adding it to snark up otherwise boring observations. R.I.P “said no one ever.”
We’d like to go on, and I’m sure you’d like us to (said no one ever). Instead we’ll just refer those who want more to the annual list of banished words compiled for the last 40 years by the folks at Lake Superior State University. In the meantime, improve your writing for 2015 by following these modest (and untrendy) tips:
- DO pay attention to word trends to keep abreast of new uses and coinages.
- DON’T feel compelled to use every new word or phrase that comes along, as some are too casual or out-there for business writing.
- DO consider the origin and tone of new words and whether they are appropriate for your audience.
Need help writing or editing for your website or blog? Call Kim Landry at 484-829-0021 or email [email protected].