New normal, asking for a friend: 10 phrases people want banished in 2022

Phrases related to Covid-19 dominated the previous list, the latest line-up was more conversational

Image used for illustrative purpose. File
Image used for illustrative purpose. File

By Web Desk

Published: Mon 3 Jan 2022, 7:47 PM

Last updated: Mon 3 Jan 2022, 8:35 PM

The Lake Superior State University, Michigan has put commonplace phrases like 'Wait, what?', 'No worries', and 'You're on mute' on its annual list of banished words.

The 2022 list, which received submissions worldwide, highlights words and phrases for "misuse, overuse, and uselessness". The list has been traditionally published on December 31 every year since 1976.

Peter Szatmary, the executive director of marketing and communications at LSSU, explained: "Though phrases related to Covid-19 dominated the previous list, the latest line-up was more conversational, a potential side effect of the ways Western society has adapted to the ongoing pandemic. Also, seven of the 10 words and terms that LSSU banished last year reflected real-world concerns about Coivd-19, while three could be categorised as quotidian. This year, as the global pandemic persists along with adaptations to it, the inverse occurred. Seven of the 10 words and terms to be banished are more conversational-based, with the other three applying to the coronavirus."

"Say what you mean and mean what you say. Can't get any easier, or harder, than that," the LSSU President Rodney S. Hanley summed up.

Here are ten phrases that entered the list:

Wait, what?

Frequently found in social media comments, a wordsmith explained how the phrase misused the rules of imperative sentences/phrases.

"I hate it", a person explained, due to the phrase's inability to convey surprise.

"I don't want to wait," said another indignantly.

No worries

Nominated throughout America for misuse and overuse, the phrase used as a replacement for "Your welcome" was greatly disliked by nominators.

"If I'm not worried, I don't want anyone telling me not to worry…If I am upset, I want to discuss being upset," another nominator said.


At the end of the day

This phrase, banished by the list in 1999 due to its overuse among politicians, continues to haunt wordsmiths who have been contributing to the phrase's addition to the list for 21 years now.

"Many times things don't end at the end of the day — or even the ramifications of whatever is happening," one observed. Even if it did end at the end of the day, others felt that the word "day" itself, here, was ambiguous.

That being said

Apart from rejecting this phrase as a verbal filler and a pompous posture, contributors found many other words (like "however" or "but") that could easily replace the phrase in most contexts.

"Go ahead and say what you want already!" one demanded. Another philosophized: "At the end of the day if you will, it already has been."

Asking for a friend

This phrase, used primarily in social media, is a coyly deceitful attempt to deter self-identification; the phrase has been misused, but more importantly, overused.

A nominator explained: "Once used to avoid embarrassment, as in, 'Do you know a good proctologist? I'm asking for a friend.' Sometimes an occasional sitcom joke. Now an overused tag with absolutely no relationship to its antecedent."

Circle back

According to nominators this phrase treats conversation like an ice skating rink, as if we must circle back to our previous location to return to a prior subject.

"The most overused phrase in business, government, or other organization since 'synergy' [a phrase banished in 2002 due to its evasiveness]," a contributor added.


Deep dive

"The only time to dive into something is when entering a body of water, not going more in-depth into a particular subject or book," explained a contributor. Another one had a deeper question: "Do we need 'deep'? I mean, does anyone dive into the shallow end?"

Yet another one had an even deeper observation that trumped the others' questions--- the fact that the user of the phrase often had no water body near them, which made the phrase completely useless.

New normal

A phrase that gained special context due to the Covid-19 age, it has been used (and countlessly reused) to explain, to those stuck in a pre-2020 paradigm, how the pandemic had changed their lifestyle forever.

"After a couple of years, is any of this really 'new'?" one speculated.

You're on mute

People, schools, and offices around the world transitioned from in-person exchanges to virtual meetings, in order to follow the Covid-19 social distancing protocols of their respective countries. The phrase, used when either side of a video meeting is muted, by mistake, or, humorously enough, on purpose, has been overused to the point of ineptitude, as per the school.

"We're two years into remote working and visiting. It's time for everyone to figure out where the mute button is," an annoyed nominator said.

"Hello? Hello?", another joked.

Supply chain

Frequently in usage by the end of the year as an excuse for pandemic-induced shortages, the phrase was dismissed for being an excuse, used to the point of overuse.

"It's become automatically included in reporting of consumer goods shortages or perceived shortages. In other words, a buzzword," concluded an analyst.

"Supply chain issues have become the scapegoat of everything that doesn't happen or arrive on time and of every shortage," agreed another.

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