University singles out words it wants banned


Published: Thursday, January 1, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, December 31, 2003 at 11:39 p.m.
Calling all metrosexuals: Get rid of that bling-bling - or at least find another word for it.
In its annual compilation of language irritants, Lake Superior State University singled out 17 words and phrases that it says ought to be banned as overused, trite, euphemistic or just plain inaccurate. The 2004 losers were chosen by a university committee from more than 5,000 nominations from around the world.
"Metrosexual" topped the list. Coined in 1994 by British journalist Mark Simpson, the term refers to urban, usually heterosexual men with a keen interest in fashion, shopping and elaborate grooming.
But to Bob Forrest of Tempe, Ariz., one of many to nominate the term for banishment, it "sounds like someone who only has sex downtown or on the subway." Fred Bernardin of Arlington, Mass., asked, "Aren't there enough words to describe men who spend too much time in front of the mirror?"
As for "punked" - or "punk'd," as the MTV prank show spells it - the committee defined it as "bamboozled, duped, flimflammed, hornswoggled."
"Bling-bling," a term for flashy jewelry or other luxury goods, made its way into the mainstream from rap music. Said Todd Facklas of Chicago: "Yes, your mom might say it. Nothing could kill the mystique of a word faster."
The war in Iraq also produced a few entries on the list.
"I'm just waiting on 'Shock and Awe Laundry Soap' or maybe 'Shock and Awe Pool Cleaner,' " said Joe Reynolds of Conroe, Texas. Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.-based Lake Superior State has been compiling its "List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness" since 1976 to draw publicity to the small academic outpost.
Past lists have lamented such words as "chad" (2001), "paradigm" (1994), "baby boomers" (1989) and "detente" (1976).

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