It’s Time to Drop These Words and Phrases

Perhaps since I’m a writer, I’m a bit overly sensitive, but there’s a growing list of words and phrases that I’m really tired of reading in print or online, and hearing on TV. (TV newspeople are the worst.) Here’s my latest candidates for obliterating from the language (or at least parking them for awhile.)  Read it over and let me know if you have any additions:

Killer app
Anything “mega”
Going forward
On steroids
Perfect storm
Conversation (As in “we just want our social media campaign to start a conversation.”)

What do you think? Any more for the list?


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  1. I nominate “amazing”. In my opinion THE MOST OVERUSED word on television. Just ask the amazing host of the most amazing show on tv- Ty Pennington. It’s an amazing show about amazing people who lead amazing lives who are helped by an amazing crew with an amazing house. Yech. What drivel. Here’s an interesting drinking game we came up with, take a shot of you beverage of choice-soda works at our house- every time you hear the word amazing. You’ll be amazed!

  2. Got a few.

    I’m not really a curmudgeon, but I do think losing these examples wouldn’t be a great loss.

    It’s too bad that words or phrases can become debased, say nothing at all (i.e. be essentially meaningless), or be used so often you think the people who are saying them aren’t thinking at all–they’re just on auto-pilot–headed to who know’s where–do they really care?

    Originality of thought, and expression, is such a rare commodity these days. And it’s often unsettling to hear how much public discourse sounds exactly the same, no matter who’s speaking…

    I’m grateful for twitter, Facebook and blogging. Social media’s wonderful in many ways. But I worry about our ever shortening attention span. We can’t be bothered, about so many things. But that’s just it: some things are worth taking time over.

    Thanks for asking, Phil. Deceptively important topic, and it conjures many kindred reflections…

    As ever,


    It is what it is

    Instances of Washington-speak:

    In this town
    fair share

  3. I forgot “reform.” Every speech, press conference, or conversation in Washington is about “reform.” But as with all these words, if you use it for everything, it doesn’t mean anything.

    1. Yes on “doing life together”. Going to church on Sunday, maybe having lunch afterwards and maybe even going to a small group during the week is not what I imagine “doing life together” means.

  4. i prefer ‘on crack’ to ‘on steroids’. it’s meatier. though
    lance armstrong may disagree. i would like to ban the word ‘awesome’ from church language, along with most superlatives.

  5. Let’s stop saying we’re doing things “ahead of ” other things…mostly, if I have to, I do things before other things…when I can anticipate things…even things I expect..even when there is a traffic light AHEAD.

  6. Once was hired by a prominent ministry to edit their audio teaching library. Part of my monthly duty was to record five minute ministry/opinion segments by the principals that would be released in the coming month. One of these fellows seemed (to my mind) to have the gift of stringing together five minutes of superlative-speak, and one recording sounded remarkably similar to all the others. Empty words become wearying even to the uneducated and easily-impressed.

  7. If I hear one more use of the term “deep-dive” to replace extensive research (as in, “let’s take a deep dive into the number of pecan salads we order for our working lunches.”) I’m going postal.

  8. “Epic” needs to find a quiet corner to lay down and die. Doubling down, optics, sustainable anything and “big” as a lead-in for any special interest all need to go away. Also, as a Christian, why did we ever start using “traditional marriage” in defense of marriage? Can we please stop?

  9. Please can we halt any further use of phrases that are prefaced “Newsflash”. Also “thinking outside the box” is particularly toe-curling…

  10. “We just want to…” as a preface to a prayer or word of praise, as in: “We just want to praise you Lord.” Why not just go ahead and praise the Lord? Are you just considering praising the Lord, but are undecided? “We just want to praise you… but can’t think of anything?”
    It’s not humble, it’s disingenuous.

  11. “Swagger” needs to go and should NEVER be spoken by anyone over the age of 30. I repeat, NEVER if you are over 30 should you say someone or something has “Swagger” or any other form thereof like “Swag,” “Swagalicious,” etc.

  12. If we all listened a little more and spoke a little less we might stop responding with these inane words and phrases. Is inane on anyone’s list? : D

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