Words We Used Too Much in 2012

Each year, a handful of words receive extra attention from us. They’re used and used and used some more — in interviews and articles and news reports — until they’re used one time too many. That’s when the latest buzzword goes from darling to pesky.

Sources say the following words have become rather threadbare during 2012. For this compilation, I looked to Philip Corbett — who reports these occurrences in his After Deadline blog at The New York Times – and Michigan’s Lake Superior State University’s annual List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness.

Check out these eight words that made the lists from Corbett and LSSU in 2012. A quick search here at CaPC tallied how often our writers used them, and a sample post is provided for each entry.

What do you think? Have these words turned pesky in 2012? What words have you heard too much in 2012?

1. Quotidian: An adjective meaning ordinary, mundane, or everyday; used once at CaPC.

2. Fail: A verb-turned-noun describing situations that are dumb or unsuccessful; as in, man fail, parenting fail, career fail, etc.; used once at CaPC.

3. Blowback: A noun referring to angered response or adverse reaction; used twice at CaPC.

4. Eschew: A verb describing the avoidance or abstention of something; used five times at CaPC.

5. Slated: A verb used to describe something that is expected or given; used six times at CaPC.

6. Signature: A noun referring to something that is characteristic of someone; used seven times at CaPC.

7. Arguably: An adverb used to qualify a statement or opinion; used eight times at CaPC.

8. Amazing: An adjective used to describe something great or used as a filler for conversation; used 36 times at CaPC.

  • Paul Ryan: The Man with a Plan: “In fact, it’s amazing how easy it is to sniff disdainfully at creators in all walks of life while lavishing praise on the critics.”

About Erin Straza

Erin Straza (Associate Editor) is a freelance writer, editor, and marketing communications consultant, helping organizations tell their stories in authentic and compelling ways. After a stint in corporate marketing while earning her MBA, Erin taught marketing communications at Illinois Wesleyan and Illinois State. She is crafting her first book, writing from the Illinois flatlands where she lives with her husband, Mike. Find more from Erin at her blog Filling My Patch of Sky and on Twitter @ErinStraza.
E-mail: erin [at] FillingMyPatchOfSky [dot] com
Blog: Filling My Patch of Sky
Twitter: @ErinStraza

  • http://nickrynerson.com Nick Rynerson

    This word-related post, an Erin Straza signature, is slated to be an amazing fail. Arguably, the blowback from this post will eschew CaPC’s reputation. BOOM!…. quotidian

  • http://FillingMyPatchOfSky.com Erin

    It’s true, Nick—this is sure to be CaPC’s most controversial article of 2012. I’m ready for the onslaught! (Word nerds are passionate, you know.)


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