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.
- The Moviegoer: “Once Upon a Time in Anatolia,” and Narration as the Longing for Innocence: “Ceylan invites us to look for and recognize the significant within the quotidian, and to then carefully consider this very act of attuned perceptual engagement.”
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.
- Is Church Discipline Cultish? A Response to the Mars Hill Drama: “We agonize because we personally know and care for every member, and we know that any time someone is rebuked there is the potential for congregational blowback.”
4. Eschew: A verb describing the avoidance or abstention of something; used five times at CaPC.
- The Televangelist: The New Girl and the Challenge of Maturity: “Some of us diligently pursue it, some of us move in and out of concern for the end goal, and others eschew the concept entirely, until some outside force causes them to take notice of what adult immaturity costs them.”
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.
- God and Country Music: The Decemberists as Americana’s Newest Coverts: “She has brought a stable, folky feel to the Decemberists’ live shows for the last year with her signature melodic voice and rootsy fiddle playing.”
7. Arguably: An adverb used to qualify a statement or opinion; used eight times at CaPC.
- The Citizenship Confusion’s Voters Guide to the Internets: “But arguably the noisiest, most offensive, tedious, irrational, significant, and affecting IRL (‘in real life’) are political posts.”
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.”