Let’s imagine the English language like a fashion show where a hot trend ten summers ago makes a comeback with a fresh look, maybe a new color scheme. But why did we stop seeing the outfit in the first place? In a sense, it went out of fashion.

Words do the same thing. Sometimes, what was so in at one point is now so out.

For example, my assistant, Catheryne, hates the phrase fiber of my being. “Where’s the fiber? Did we all have our shredded wheat this morning?” she might respond when someone recites that phrase. Is this phrase wrong? Of course not. But to her, the expression equals the sensory overload, accompanying nails screeching down a rough chalk board, a black mark on what could have otherwise been a masterful sentence.

And apparently, Catheryne’s not alone. We all have ears yearning to hear less of a specific word or phrase.

Lake Superior State University publishes a list of banished words each year. The tradition, which began forty years ago at a party, has since grown from a list of word pet peeves written by faculty members to nominations submitted from around the world.

What words or phrases drive you crazy? What is it about these that bother you so much?

I hope you enjoy reading this article about banished words as I did. Once you’ve read it, I encourage you to take some time and make a list of words you find yourself using a lot. Then, look up the meanings and identify other words that work even better for you.

After that exercise, I bet you’ll discover that you have expanded your vocabulary.

Just don’t tell Catheryne you liked this exercise with every fiber of your being.

photo credit: trekkyandy Hamster food via photopin (license)
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