‘Wait, what?’ quip tops school’s annual banished words list


SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. (AP) — The judges of a Michigan university’s cheeky annual “Banished Words List” have a message for texting and tweeting Americans: Your “wait, what?” joke is lame.

The phrase topped Lake Superior State University in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula lighthearted list of 10 “winners” chosen from among more than 1,250 submissions of overused, misused and generally groan-inducing words or phrases.

“Wait, what?” irritated nominators who felt the phrase intended to show astonishment or disbelief is overused.

“I hate it,” one wrote. Another added: “I don’t want to wait.”

The second slot went to another misused and overused phrase: “No worries.”

Nominators said it’s dismissive.

“If I’m not worried, I don’t want anyone telling me not to worry,” one contributor said. “If I am upset, I want to discuss being upset.”

The 10 winners were chosen from among more than 1,250 submissions to the judges of the cheeky annual exercise.

The university began compiling an annual list in 1976. Past nods have gone to “détente,” “surely,” “classic,” “bromance,” and “COVID-19.”

There are only three entries associated with the pandemic this year after it dominated last year’s list.

“One possible takeaway from all this about the act and art and science of disclosing something is the more things change, the more things stay the same,” said Peter Szatmary, executive director of marketing and communications at the university. “At the very least, it’s complicated.”

“New normal” is ranked No. 8, and nominators criticized its overuse and questioned the logic behind the phrase.

“After a couple of years, is any of this really ‘new’?” one wrote.

“You’re on mute,” and “supply chain,” rounded out the list — a nod to our continued reliance on virtual meetings and widely reported shortages of consumer products ranging from computer chips to furniture.

“Supply chain issues have become the scapegoat of everything that doesn’t happen or arrive on time and of every shortage,” one nominator said.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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