The U.S. Capitol.
(Photo: J. Scott Applewhite, AP)
(USA TODAY) - Politicians have frequently expressed their distaste for "the fiscal cliff" -- and now linguists are weighing in as well.
"Fiscal cliff" heads the 38th annual "List of Words to Be Banished from the Queen's English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness" put out by Lake Superior State University in Michigan.
"You can't turn on the news without hearing this," said Christopher Loiselle, of Midland, Mich., in his nominating submission, reports the Associated Press. "I'm equally worried about the River of Debt and Mountain of Despair."
The list of terms proposed for banishment also includes another phrase heard during the fiscal cliff talks in Washington: "Kick the can down the road." Also on the list: "Job creators/creation."
Fiscal cliff is the term used for a series of across-the-board federal tax increases and spending cuts that kick in next year if Congress is unable to put together a new debt reduction agreement.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is credited -- or blamed -- for coining the term "fiscal cliff," using the phrase at a congressional hearing.
Of course, Lake Superior State's ability to ban phrases is limited; its past lists have included such still-used words as "viral," "amazing," ''LOL," and "man cave."
Also from the Associated Press:
"Other terms coming in for a literary lashing are 'superfood,' ''guru,' 'job creators' and 'double down.'
"University spokesman Tom Pink said that in nearly four decades, the Sault Ste. Marie school has 'banished' around 900 words or phrases, and somehow the whole idea has survived rapidly advancing technology and diminishing attention spans.
"Nominations used to come by mail, then fax and via the school's website, he said. Now most come through the university's Facebook page. That's fitting, since social media has helped accelerate the life cycle of certain words and phrases, such as this year's entry 'YOLO' - 'you only live once.' ...
"Rounding out the list are 'job creators/creation,' ''boneless wings' and 'passion/passionate.' Those who nominated the last one say they are tired of hearing about a company's 'passion' as a substitute for providing a service or product for money."