As 2014 winded to a close, we were confronted with what seemed like an endless procession of "Word of the Year" pronouncements. "Vape" was crowned Oxford Dictionaries word of the year, "culture" nabbed Webster-Merriam's top spot, while the Global Language Monitor went the unconventional route of selecting the heart emoji for its top word of 2014.
I guess this is all well and good, but what about the words that, thanks to overuse, misuse, or down right blahness, we'd like to see expire along with the year? What words should be banned from entering 2015?
Luckily, the folks at Michigan's Lake Superior State University are on it. For the past 40 years, the institution has compiled an annual list of words -- culled from nominations made through the university's website and ultimately finalized by a committee -- which should be "banished from the Queen's English for mis-use, over-use and general uselessness."
Some of the selections for 2014 stemmed from overall frustration and fatigue with cultural terms. "Bae" was one of the most nominated contenders and deemed "the most annoying term of affection to show up in years," while "foodie" was dismissed as "ridiculous." But the majority of the words on the list are business-speak at its worst.
"Skill set," "curate," and "takeaway" were all taken to task for, among other things, pretentiousness, over-use and general uselessness. As anyone who has a LinkedIn account or has attended any kind of corporate meeting can tell you, these works are everywhere (explore our site, and you'll find we're guilty of it here). The overarching reasoning behind their elimination is that they have become pointless, "jargon-y" fluff. "Skill set" just means skill ("A skill is a skill -- that is it," wrote Stephanie Hamm-Wieczkiewick from Litfield Park, Ariz. in support of getting rid of the word), "curate" is too often an unnecessarily pretentious way of saying "select" ("It used to have a special significance reserved mainly for fine art and museums. Now everything is curated," wrote Samantha McCormick from Kirkland, Wash.) and "takeaway" has been overused into meaninglessness ("I have heard Jon Stewart use it. I've heard Charlie Rose use it, as well as countless numbers of news talking heads, usually for all the wrong reason," wrote John Prokop from Oakland, Calif).
Are there more pressing business terms that need to be eliminated for good? If you have some suggestions for corporate jargon that needs to go, tell us in the comments below.