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Sick of popular or trendy words getting overused? This is the day for you! New Year’s Dishonor List Day offers the perfect opportunity to discredit annoying words and ask friends to say something else.

History of New Year’s Dishonor List Day

Getting its beginning at Lake Superior State University (LSSU), which is located in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, a city in the northern part of the Upper Peninsula of the state, very close to Canada, the tradition of the New Year’s Dishonor List Day started back in 1976 when W. T. Rabe, the public relations director of the university at the time, decided to create a list of words that should be banished.

The purpose of the list, and the day, was to “uphold, protect and support excellence in language” and it does this by making a list of English words that have begun to be misused or overused. After the first banished words list became so popular at LSSU, the university decided to make it an annual event.

Each year, a task force for the university compiles the list based on nominations made throughout the previous twelve months. The list usually ends up with a large majority of words that are colloquial in nature, often slang or words that have become trendy. The list is officially released on December 31 so that people can start the new year out right – by respecting the English language!

How to Celebrate New Year’s Dishonor List Day

Get a Copy of the Dishonor List

Of course, the most important order of business for Dishonor List Day is to secure a copy of the Banished Words List released by LSSU, and start taking it seriously! People can read the list and, being honest with themselves, figure out which ones they might be guilty of overusing or misusing, not only to the annoyance of those around them but also as an affront to the English language. 

Some past words on the list of banished words have included:

  • No Worries. Often used in response to thank you and in lieu of “you’re welcome”, and it’s simply overused and has become obnoxious.
  • Circle Back. One of the most overused terms in businesses and organizations, this one means to revisit a subject – but why can’t people just say that?
  • New Normal. Particularly criticized after the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns, this phrase became overused as a catchall for the ways humankind was affected.
  • Deep Dive. Also often used in organizational leadership, critics of this one say that it doesn’t make sense because, after all, who dives in the shallow end anyway?

Stop Using Banished Words!

It might be difficult when certain trendy words have become a habit, but New Year’s Dishonor List Day is the perfect time to start afresh. Expand that vocabulary by looking up new and creative words to use in lieu of those banished ones. Perhaps get out that dictionary or thesaurus and come up with more interesting words and phrases to widen the language experience for the world.

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