Michigan university releases 2022 Banished Words List

January 3, 2022
US children see increasing hospitalizations and COVID case numbers


Wait, what? The phrases “no worries,” “new normal,” and “circle back” should be left in 2021? 

Lake Superior State University released a list of the top 10 misused, overused or useless phrases submitted by users across the globe.

Phrases spurred by the global pandemic such as “new normal” and “supply chain” are a part of the phrase list people have grown tired of, according to the Michigan university’s annual “Banished Words List.”

Over the years, the school received thousands of considerations since the list’s inception in 1976. This year’s submissions garnered about 1,250 responses from users not only in the United States, but also Norway, Belgium, England, Scotland, Australia and Canada.

A group of judges, compromised of the school’s English department, narrows down the nominations to form the annual list which is released Dec. 31.

Here’s why people suggest leaving these 10 phrases behind:

Commonly used word:Merriam-Webster selects ‘vaccine’ as the 2021 word of the year

Slang words:Most like to use them, but not all may be ‘on point’ to their meaning

Wait, what?

Topping the list of frivolous phrases is “wait, what?’ which is commonly used in informal or social media language. The question is an inaccurate “response to a statement to express astonishment, misunderstanding, or disbelief,” said a response from a wordsmith.

No worries

This phrase is usually found as a substitute of “you’re welcome” and even in quick reply suggestions, but writers are tired of it. Responses reflect the phrase’s meaninglessness and overuse.

At the end of the day

This phrase made its first appearance on the Banished list in 1999, but at the end of the day, people still love to use it. Opposing users believe “day” is an imprecise measurement and “things don’t end at the end of the day.”

That being said

Users claim the phrase as a useless word filler and redundant justification. Other words such as “however,” “but” or “that said” are better alternatives, according to the responses.

Asking for a friend

Many use this phrase to avoid being identified. Social media posts with the phrase hint at someone else, but we all know who you’re asking for. Users cite misuse and overuse. 

Circle back

“It’s a conversation, not the Winter Olympics,” stated the university. They explained people use the phrase in conversation as if it’s a skating rink and people want to go back to their previous location.

Deep dive

“Do we need ‘deep’? I mean, does anyone dive into the shallow end,” someone wondered. Others reminded those that they aren’t near a body of water, so there’s no need to use the phrase.

New normal

The overuse of this phrase stems from how the pandemic affected humankind, but one user believes “after a couple of years, is any of this really ‘new’?”

You’re on mute

The COVID-19 pandemic caused many businesses and organizations to move to virtual meetings. And we’ve all been here. Let’s hope we all can locate the unmute button in 2022.

Supply chain

Headlines were flooded with this term toward the end of the year citing the numerous issues we’ve seen with consumer goods shortages. One response said the phrase is simply a buzzword and scapegoat for any item that doesn’t arrive on time.


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