“No worries”, “turn back” and “you’re muted” among the list of phrases that should be banned, according to the university

“No problem.” “New normal.” “Circle back.” “You are in mute mode. “

These are among the most overused, misused, and generally whining-causing phrases, according to the judges of a Michigan university’s annual “Banned Words List”.

The expression “wait, what? Topped Lake Superior State University’s playful list in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula of 10 recipients chosen from more than 1,250 nominations. “Wait what?” irritated proponents who felt that the expression intended to show astonishment or disbelief was overused.

“I hate it,” one wrote. Another added: “I don’t want to wait.”

The second slot went to another overused phrase: “No worries”. The proponents said it was dismissive.

“If I’m not worried I don’t want someone telling me not to worry,” said one contributor. “If I’m upset, I want to discuss being upset.”

The 10 “winners” were chosen from over 1,250 submissions to the judges of the cheeky annual exercise. The university began to compile an annual list in 1976. Past nods changed to “amazing”, “relaxing”, “surely”, “epic”, “classic”, “bromance”, “Ok, Boomer” and “COVID-19”.

“In the end,” “that being said” and “ask a friend” were ranked No. 4, 5 and 6 respectively on the new list. One proponent noted that “ask a friend” is “an occasional sitcom joke” and “now a hackneyed label unrelated to his background.”

“Circle back” comes in at # 6 on the list. “The most overused phrase in business, government or any other organization since ‘synergy’,” one of the proponents said. (The school notes that “synergy” was banned in 2002 as “evasive cover terminology and puff of smarty-pants.”)

There are only three entries associated with the pandemic this year after it topped last year’s list.

“One of the takeaways from all of this about the act, art and science of disclosing something is that the more things change, the more things stay the same,” said Peter Szatmary, Executive Director of Marketing and university communications. “At the very least, it’s complicated.

The “new normal” is ranked # 8, and nominators criticized its overuse and questioned the logic behind the phrase.

“After a few years is all of this really ‘new’?” we wrote.

“You’re on mute” and “supply chain” complete the list – a nod to our continued reliance on virtual meetings and widely reported shortages of consumer products ranging from computer chips to furniture.

“Supply chain issues have become the scapegoat for everything that doesn’t happen or doesn’t happen on time and every shortage,” said one proponent.



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