Main menu


'GOAT', 'tipping point' and 'quiet quitting' should be banned, says annual list

featured image


For the love of all things holy, please stop saying “GOAT” – unless you’re yelling about a medium sized herd of animals.

At least, that’s how a team of judges at Michigan’s Lake Superior State University feel about the term — an acronym for “Greatest of All Time” — as it tops this year’s Banned Word List.

The university has released its annual list, compiled from submissions from around the world, which highlights phrases or words that its judges consider misused, overused – or just plain useless.

“GOAT,” along with “tipping point,” “quiet easy” and “gaslighting” appear on the list, which has been released annually since 1976.

The list serves “to defend, protect and support excellence in language by encouraging the avoidance of words and terms that are overloaded, redundant, paradoxical, clichéd, illogical, nonsensical – and ineffective, baffling or irritating,” according to the university, which is said to have received more than 1,500 nominations.

“The ‘greatest of all time’ singularity cannot happen, no way, no way,” said Peter Szatmary, Lake State’s executive director of marketing and communications, in a press release. “And rather than being selectively administered, it is readily checked. Remember Groucho Marx’s quote about not wanting to join a club that would accept you as a member?

“The nine additional words and terms banned for 2023 – from new ‘tipping point’ in the us at #2 and ‘gaslighting’ in #4 to repeat offenders ‘awesome’ in #6 and ‘It is what it is’ in #10 – it also falls somewhere on the spectrum between wishful thinking and jaded. They are empty or diluted by supersaturation. Be careful – be more careful – with buzzwords and jargon,” she added.

Here are the 10 that made this year’s list.

Nominees and judges took issue with the phrase, with one disgruntled contributor lamenting that the terminology is “applied to everything and everyone, from athletes to chicken wings.”

This, the judges say, is overused and misused, as a “mathematical term that has entered everyday language and lost its original meaning”.

Quiet quitting – which some say means doing the bare minimum at work – was hotly debated last year. The term, the judges pondered, is “modern but imprecise”.

In fact, the nominees said the real meaning behind it is simply “normal job performance” and “nothing more than companies complaining about workers who refuse to be exploited”.

Merriam-Webster’s 2022 word of the year, which the online dictionary defines as “the act or practice of grossly deceiving someone especially for one’s own advantage,” became the “favorite word for perceived deception.”

But appointees and judges in Michigan argue that the word is overused and misused, and “disconnects” the term from the sinister physiological manipulation with which it is associated.

Included for misuse, overuse and uselessness.

Already banned for misuse, overuse and uselessness in 2012, the word is back on the list. Some nominees argued that it should be reserved for the truly “awesome” and others simply thought it was a “worn-out adjective of people with little vocabulary”.

Not just misused, overused, and unhelpful, the judges went so far as to say the phrase is “needy, intriguing, and/or cynical.”

“Always make sense; don’t think aloud or play games,” the judges said sternly.

The Lake Superior judges say it’s not even a word — and “regardless” works too.

First making the list in 1996, the word is apparently often “said very loudly by annoying people who think they’re better than you,” said one observer, and “seems like it comes with a guarantee when that might not be the case.” ,” warned another.

Another repeat offender. First banned in 2008 for overuse, misuse and uselessness, the phrase’s re-entry provoked angry responses from the nominees.

“Of course it is what it is! what else could it be? It would be weird if it wasn’t what it isn’t,” joked one user.

Another said the phrase provides an “excuse for not dealing with reality or accepting responsibility.”