2020 Banished Words List at Lake Superior State University

Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie is a school founded on rich traditions. This school is also known for its annual “Banished Words List”, a list of overused words that are dominating the American language and culture that given year.

This tradition started back in 1975 at a New Year’s Eve Party hosted by faculty and staff of the University and has evolved into what we see today– serving as a time capsule for vernacular.

Mary McNyne who serves on the Banished Words committee explains, “We get nominations from all over the country that has been getting on people’s nerves.”

Don’t let the name of the list fool you, there are no serious repercussions for using any of these words. Creative Writing student, Leah Mockridge says, “We don’t have like mini police on campus waiting for people to say these words and take them to campus jail. That just doesn’t happen!”

Instead, this project is unifying students and recording rich traditions year after year. “I think it contributes to the culture on campus. It’s something that keeps it light and keeps it fun and it’s something everyone can be involved in,” says Leah Mockridge.

On the list this year you can find words like: “literally”, “totes”, “jelly”, and the most nominated phrase, “Quid Pro Quo”.

Anyone from anywhere in the world can nominate words or phrases for the 2021 list, click here to nominate.

If you’d like to see this year’s full list click here. 

If you’d like to read lists from past years, click here. 

Categories: the four