In a word 2020 was unprecedented. And that is the problem. That particular word was so overused that people want to ban it. Yes, ban it. Lake Superior State University thinks so too. In fact the University has it on its annual list of “Banished” words, again. You see in 2002 they banished the “word” then too. But, like a bad penny it reared its ugly head again last year. It turns out there are quite a number of other words that they think should be banished. Some of them are obvious, like Covid-19 and its variations like straight up Covid, or Coronavirus, or virus, or the nickname it was given by the non-believers “rona.”
Other things on the banished list are actually phrases like “in an abundance of caution” and its variations. Another is “in these uncertain times.” No doubt that Covid-19 has distrubed the world, Add to that in the United States, a recession, social unrest and a clear winner in the Presidential election that the current President will not accept. But, it is clear that “Uncertain times” has become more of the norm. A few more phrases you can put on the list are “social distancing”, “I know, right” and “we are all in this together.” Some even say “we are all in the same boat,” which is not true. The way many people view it is that we are not all in the same boat. But in the same storm, Some are in yachts, others in boats some are treading water and others are drowning. Same storm, different realities, not the same boat.
A couple more from the LSSU are “sus” which is meant to depict the word suspicious. It comes from the video game “Among US,” where you identify “sus” imposters so they can be “thrown into the lava.” But, really how much effort does it take to say the entire word. I suspect these next two “banished” words will likely be around for a while yet. The first is “pivot.” I like how LSSU explains it. Reporters, commentators, talking heads, and others from the media reference how everyone must adapt to the coronavirus through contactless delivery, virtual learning, curbside pickup, video conferencing, remote working, and other urgent readjustments. That’s all true and vital. But basketball players pivot; let’s keep it that way.
The last word on the LSSU list that I think will stick around is “Karen.” It all started as an anti-racist critique of the behavior of older white women who unjustly or in a completely made up way, verbally attached Black and Brown people. The word has become a misogynist umbrella term for critiquing the perceived overemotional behavior of white women. I wonder how many women named Karen are cautious when introducing themselves.
One word that was also definitely overused in 2020 was “shenanigans” which means something secret or dishonest going on. We all saw a lot of that last year. And as you can see, has continued into the current one. Another definition for shenanigans is silly or high-spirited behavior. You could say mischievous. A lot of people got away with a lot of shenanigans and maybe one reason why is the word itself. It is such a fun word to say, and maybe that is why some got away with so much last year.Share: