On every New Years Day since 1976, Lake Superior State University has published its “List of Words to Be Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness.” The first list contained no technology-related words, and neither did the 1977 edition. In fact, it wasn’t until 1984 that the term “High Tech” was officially banished – and if you’ve been reading this publication, you know that expulsion didn’t really stick.
Over the years, the list has added a growing proportion of high-tech (sorry) words, with this year being no exception. Among the inductees this year, chosen from thousands of public submissions, were “-monkey” (the online tendency to make any word or name sound more interesting just by adding the word “monkey” to it) and “<3” (an emoticon resembling a heart that stands for the word “love.”).
Here, then, are the tech words added to the list since 2000 (if you use more than a few of these, a visit to Lake Superior State University is probably out of the question):2008: Webinar: A seminar on the web about any number of topics.
2007: Pwn or Pwned: Gamer defeats gamer, types in “I pwn you” rather than I OWN you; and i-Anything.
2005: Blog (and its variations, including blogger, blogged, blogging, blogosphere)
2004: LOL and other abbreviated “e-mail speak,” including the symbol “@” when used in advertising and elsewhere.
2002: Killer App (used to describe an outstanding computer program).
2000: ‘E’-Anything; cybarian (a web-surfing librarian).
Of course, the real challenge here is not avoiding these words, but trying to squeeze them all into one sentence or paragraph. The good folks at Lake Superior State give us some of this year’s inductees as an introductory example:“Lake Superior State University’s ‘maverick’ word-watchers, fresh from the holiday ‘staycation’ but without an economic ‘bailout’ even after a ‘desperate search,’ have issued their 34th annual List of Words to Be Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness. This year’s list may be more ‘green’ than any of the previous lists and includes words and phrases that people from ‘Wall Street to Main Street’ say they love ‘not so much’ and wish to have erased from their ‘carbon footprint.’
So, dear readers, we invite you to e-mail your best efforts at high-tech banished word usage to firstname.lastname@example.org. The best submission-monkeys will be printed in our next installment.