What do "polar vortex," "skill set" and "swag" have in common? They should all be banned! So say the guardians of the English language, whose day jobs are at Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. This group annually takes on the role of word police by collecting a list of words and phrases that we have used so much they have become annoying. The solution? Ban them! Here are 10 of the banned words and phrases on the 2015 list that were winnowed down from hundreds of entries:
1. Bae
This annoying term of affection means "before anyone else." As in, your girlfriend is BAE. As one woman said, "I'd rather be called 'babe' than 'bae' any day."
2. Polar Vortex
What used to be called winter or a cold snap is now called the polar vortex. It was chided as both overused and meaningless.
3. Hack
What was once called a tip or a short-cut is now called a hack--even though it involves no legal or ethical impropriety or breach of security. For example, there are marriage hacks, home improvement hacks and painting hacks.
4. Skill Set
Is the word "skills" not enough? After all, a skill is a skill. Why use two words when one will do?
5. Swag
This is a free gift, typically given by a company to win your favor.
6. Foodie
Since people who love wine are not called "winies" and those who guzzle beer are not "beeries," why are people who enjoy food called "foodies"? And, anyway, isn't that all of us? Who doesn't enjoy food?
7. Curate/Curated
This is just a pretentious way of saying "selected." It typically refers to someone curating an Internet list of items (food, clothing, news) for your perusal.
8. Cra-Cra
It means "crazy." If you hear it enough or say it enough yourself, you will be crazy.
9. Enhanced Interrogation
Say what you mean: Torture.
10. -Nation
This is a sports suffix that refers to specific teams, such as Packer-Nation or Hokie-Nation.
The number one banned words from previous years:

  • 2014: Selfie
  • 2013: Fiscal Cliff
  • 2012: Amazing
  • 2011: Viral
  • 2010: Shovel-Ready
  • 2009: Green
  • 2008: Perfect Storm
  • 2007: GITMO
  • 2006: Surreal


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