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31 Dec 2006 00:00
It would be “awesome” if “TomKat” and other combined nicknames for celebrity couples “went missing” in the New Year, a Michigan university said on Sunday in its annual list of clichés deserving banishment.
Lake Superior State University’s 32nd annual List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness featured such linguistic gems as “Gitmo” for the United States base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; euphemisms such as “undocumented alien;” and such internet-inflected synonyms as “pwn,” as in the phrase “I pwn [own] you.”
The Sault St Marie, Michigan, university’s public relations staff culled its list of 16 cliches from 4Â 500 submissions, many of which demanded that something be done to stop the onslaught of the word “awesome”.
“Overused and meaningless,” complained contributor Robert Bron, writing to the list-makers from Pattaya, Thailand. “‘My mother was hit by a car.’ Awesome.
‘I just got my college degree.’ Awesome.”
The list gave short shrift to media shorthand for celebrity duos such as “TomKat,” for the union of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, and “Brangelina,” for Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.
How would “Lardy” have sounded as a nickname for long-ago comedians Laurel and Hardy, or “BogCall” for Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, the list’s compilers asked.
Media bashers also welcomed banishment of the phrases “gone missing” or “went missing.”
“It makes ‘missing’ sound like a place you can visit, such as the Poconos,” wrote contributor Robin Dennis of Flower Mound, Texas.
The same goes for a robbery “gone bad,” which raises the question of whether a theft could go well and good, the list-makers said.
The list also decried the use in everyday speech of the internet typographical error “pwn,” as used when a game-player tells his defeated opponent “I pwn you,” instead of own you.
“Truthiness,” popularised by comedian Stephen Colbert as truth unencumbered by the facts may have been named one of the top US television buzzwords of the year in August by Global Language Monitor. But on this list, it has overstayed its welcome.
The list also suggested that the partners of pregnant women might save some embarrassment by avoiding, “We’re pregnant,” when only one of you is, the list said.
As for those enticing real estate advertisements that “boast” of amenities, contributor Morris Conklin, writing from Portugal, noted the ads never say “‘the bathroom apologises for cracked linoleum,’ or ‘kitchen laments pathetic placement of electrical outlets.’”
Finally, contributor Joy Wiltzius of Fort Collins, Colorado, wanted to correct the “sounds healthy” comment in reference to a nutritious lunch, such as a fish sandwich. “If my lunch were healthy, it would still be swimming somewhere. Grilled and nestled in salad greens, it’s ‘healthful.’” - Reuters
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