Hey 2017, can we retire these horrible words and phrases already?

Every January 1st, Lake Superior State University breaks the Internet (banned in 2016) when it publishes a list of words or phrases they’d like to see scrubbed from the common vernacular. 

The list tends to generate a few solid headlines, and it’s almost always on fleek (banned in 2017).  The truth is, our common vernacular these days gets a little too cray-cray (banned in 2015), and we need an annual adjustment.

The Twittersphere (banned in 2014) only makes it worse.  One good gag, or hip, cool new phrase captures the 24-hour news cycle zeitgeist and the next thing you know, it’s managed 28 million mentions from 27.9 million users who have little or no idea what it really means. 

But whatever.  YOLO (banned in 2013).  

Back in the day (banned in 2008) we could wait until the end of the year for the University’s list, but 2017 hasn’t given us much of a break after a long, painful 2016, so I’m compelled to make a few suggestions as we approach the mid-year mark. 

And since I like to think I inhabit a few different bubbles (almost certain to be banned in 2018), I’ve got a couple suggestions from each of them.


“Hold my beer.”  As in: Tiger Woods: ‘I’m going to be the biggest train wreck on Twitter today.’  Kathy Griffin: ‘Hold my beer.’

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  We get it, random Twitter user.  Har.  You’re clever and hilarious and actually none of those things and I don’t want to hold your nasty warm booze.  I certainly don’t want to hold Kathy Griffin’s.

“You won’t believe what happens.”  As in: ‘They thought this cat was pregnant with kittens but then she went into labor.  You won’t believe what happens.’

You’re right.  Because I’m not clicking your stupid article.  I promise.  (Seriously, though, what happened to those cats?)


“Tirelessly.”  Ugh. 

I write a lot of press releases.  I read a lot of press releases.  I, Nick De Leeuw, hereby solemnly swear that I will never again use the word “tirelessly” to describe anything any public figure does, and I hope you will, too.

No, your boss / political candidate isn’t “fighting tirelessly” for Michigan whoevers, and no your client isn’t “tirelessly delivering” who knows what to who knows who.  Everybody gets tired, and, more importantly, nobody in real life says tirelessly.  So when you write that person or company X, Y or Z is doing something “tirelessly,” everyone who reads or hears that sentence knows your entire argument is probably full of bologna, because that sentence certainly was.

“Deep Dive.”  As in: “Let’s do a deep dive into the issue on next week’s call.” 

A favorite of conference call participants and client meetings, and almost never indicative of an actual mastery of an issue or data set.  Fella, I know this is Pure Michigan and all, but I grew up in the Garfield Park neighborhood in southeast Grand Rapids.  I don’t even know how to dive. 


“Patriarchy.”  As in: “PATRIARCHY!” 

You don’t know what the word means, Generic Talking Head.  Your viewers don’t know what it means.  The angry protester screaming it into the face of some random walking down the street hasn’t got a clue.  Still, somehow the insult / excuse du jour has infected everything from college campuses to backyard bar-b-ques. 

My candidate lost?!  PATRIARCHY!

I didn’t get a very good grade on that test.  PATRIARCHY!

You don’t have any turkey dogs?!  PATRIARCHY!

Sometimes things just don’t go your way.  Maybe you should have worked the phones a little harder for your candidate.  Or studied harder.  Or brought your own phony frankfurters.  We eat beef here, dangit.

“Snowflakes.”  As in: ”People with liberal opinions who disagree with me are snowflakes because they are intellectually and emotionally fragile.” 

Or, maybe they just disagree with you.  You’re not clever, and the word “snowflake” isn’t creative.  Stop name calling. 


I do the whole church thing.  I’m one of those Jesus people.  (A very, very imperfect one who is learning on the job, as it were.)

Nobody corners the market on miserable, overused words and jargon like the American evangelical community.  I’ve been there every Sunday my whole life.  Believe me, I know.

Rooting out all of the nonsense would have us digging for days, but let’s start with just these.

“Loving on.”  As in:  Pastor at the Pulpit: ‘We’re going to go out in our community and we’re going to be loving on our neighbors.’

Gross.  Go out into your community and show love to your neighbors.  Demonstrate love.  Love.  Don’t love on.  Nobody wants to be loved on. 

“Doing life.”  As in:  “We’re just a bunch of people doing life together. 

What exactly are you doing to life, and can you please stop? Or at least stop mangling the English language? 

I’m just sayin’ (banned in 2011).

-- Nick