Wait, What? Lake Superior State University Takes a Deep Dive into Banished Words for 2022

That being said, this annual list circles back to some overused phrases. No worries if you’re on mute.

At the end of the day, there are words and phrases people use incorrectly or too often.

For example: “At the end of the day.”

That’s one of the entries on Lake Superior State University’s annual “banished words” list for 2022.

Since 1976, the school in Sault Ste. Marie has asked people to submit words and phrases that are misused, overused or generally useless. Today, the list has more than 1,000 entries.

Judges select the 10 most-nominated entries and publish them on Dec. 31 each year.

Leading the list this year is “wait, what?” The question often appears on social media as a reaction to something confusing or contradictory.

LSSU Marketing and Communications Executive Director Peter Szatmary says the phrase itself is contradictory.

“When you think about it, those are two different things,” he says. “And people use it when the actual recipient doesn’t want to wait, and the ‘what’ is a false surprise.”

Sometimes, the list will include terms that have been “banished” before. This year, that phrase is “new normal.” Szatmary says people who have used the term since the COVID-19 pandemic began have worn it out.

“It’s [been] two years,” he says. “And those people who keep using ‘the new normal’ are thinking about something that is in fact regular.”

The 2022 list contains fewer terms related to the pandemic than the previous year’s. “You’re on mute” made the cut. Szatmary says there’s no excuse for saying it anymore.

“As one of our submitters pointed out, we’re two years into remote working and visiting,” he says. “It’s time for everyone to figure out where the ‘mute’ button is.”

Here’s the rest of the list:

  • “No worries.”
  • “That being said.”
  • “Asking for a friend.”
  • “Circle back.” (also banished in 2002)
  • “Deep dive.”
  • “Supply chain.”

Szatmary says LSSU is already accepting nominations for 2023.

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  • Pat Batcheller
    Pat Batcheller is a host and Senior News Editor for 101.9 WDET, presenting local news, traffic and weather updates during Morning Edition. He is an amateur musician.