Which Words Should Be Saved?

With the dawn of 2013, a couple of university's turned their attention to their annual lists of which words should be "in" and which should be "out."

Lake Superior State University publishes an annual "list of Words to be Banished from the Queen's English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness."  The list consists of a dozen words or phrases compiled from more than 5,000 nominations received from around the globe.

What words would most people like to see banished this year?  "Fiscal cliff" topped the list with 652 votes.  This year's list of words and phrases people wish everyone would stop using includes the following:

  • Fiscal cliff
  • Kick the can down the road
  • Double down
  • Job creators/creation
  • Passion/passionate
  • YOLO (You only live once)
  • Spoiler alert
  • Bucket list
  • Trending
  • Superfood
  • Boneless wings
  • Guru

I still kind of like trending, spoiler alert and bucket list.  Do y'all disagree with any of these?  Do any deserve to be saved from the fate of banishment?

Rather than listing words to be "banished,"  Wayne State University compiles a list of words it wants saved from extinction.

We have a wonderfully rich resource at our disposal, the English language,” said Jerry Herron, dean of the Irvin D. Reid Honor's College at Wayne State University. “The more we use that language to its full capacity, the more we are able to discriminate and describe the world around us, the more interesting the world gets to be.”

Wayne State also accepts nominations online.  According to Herron, WSU looks for words "that describe a phenomenon in the world that is too little acknowledged or looked at and words that are fun to use."

This year's top 10 words to be saved list - and their meanings - are:

  • Buncombe – Rubbish; nonsense; empty or misleading talk.
  • Cerulean – The blue of the sky.
  • Chelonian ­– Like a turtle.
  • Dragoon – To compel by coercion; to force someone to do something they’d rather not.
  • Fantods – Extreme anxiety, distress, nervousness or irritability.
  • Mawkish – Excessively sentimental; sappy; hopelessly trite.
  • Natter – To talk aimlessly, often at great length; rarely, it means simply to converse.
  • Persiflage – Banter; frivolous talk.
  • Troglodyte – Literally, a cave-dweller. More frequently a backward, mentally sluggish person.
  • Winkle – To pry out or extract something; from the process of removing the snail from an edible periwinkle.

I like to natter about mawkish matters, which Mr. Duck considers so much buncombe or persiflage.  We all know a few troglodytes and don't we all spend a fair amount of time dragooning our children?

Frankly my dear, I adore both lists.  They're fun to look at, discuss and consider.  But I really don't think that any words or phrases deserve to be banished.  Let's enjoy all words instead.  If we didn't keep 'em around, we could never winkle the troglodytes from their caves and toss them off the fiscal cliff.  And if we eliminate the word trending, how will this blog post manage to do that very thing on Twitter?

YOLO, so I wish you a cerulean day, free of fantods and full of mawkish romance novels!