Goat, gaslighting, and absolutely: the 'banned' words of 2023

Language is absolutely amazing – but university experts have revealed 10 “useless, misused, and overused” words “banned” from our 2023 vocabulary.
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Lake Superior State University, in Michigan, USA, has unveiled its annual list of 10 ‘banned’ words found to be “misused, useless, and overused” in the last 12 months.

Since 1976, a list of banned words for the year has been a tradition for the public college, as 10 words are voted on by the wider public.

More than 1,500 people voted for this year’s list including from England, Australia and France, as well as from most major US cities and states.

Lake Superior State University has unveiled their list of ten 'banned' words for the year.Lake Superior State University has unveiled their list of ten 'banned' words for the year.
Lake Superior State University has unveiled their list of ten 'banned' words for the year.

Often based on topical events and always causing quite the stir, the tradition aims to encourage avoidance of words and terms deemed redundant, nonsensical and overworked.

Peter Szatmary, Lake State executive director of marketing and communications, said: “Words and terms matter. Or at least they should. Especially those that stem from the casual or causal.

“That’s what nominators near and far noticed, and our contest judges from the LSSU School of Arts and Letters agreed.”

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Over the decades, tens of thousands of nominations have poured in with “Covid-19” making the top spot for 2021, along with “you’re on mute”, while “asking for a friend” made its mark in 2022.

Here are the winning, or losing, words that made this year’s list.

GOAT, the acronym for greatest of all time made the top spot, a word that keeps coming up in the Lionel Messi vs Christiano Ronaldo debate of the best football player of our generation.

The acronym was voted for being “applied to everyone and everything from athletes to chicken wings”, said one objector.

“How can anyone or anything be the GOAT, anyway? Records fall. Time continues”, said another.

Other words that made the top 10 list were:

Gaslighting;

Inflection point;

Moving forward;

Quiet quitting;

Amazing;

Does that make sense?;

Absolutely;

Irregardless;

It is what it is.

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