List of 2017’s most annoying words & phrases released

Marist College notes “Whatever” loses ground but still ranks

The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion recently released its annual list of most annoying words or phrases used in casual conversation.

In the opinion of SRAZ, 2017 was a bonus year in terms of inanities. A few of our favorite misuses of the English language and general dopey words and phrases are listed below. We invite our readers to add their personal (un)favorites to our list.  Make it a fun Saturday.  Oops, there we go. Fun is a noun not an adjective. Or is it?

Topping our list is the now ubiquitous, touchy-feely “reached out,“ replacing contacted, called or asked. It has become a staple in news reports written by ASU Cronkite Journalism School student reporters now toiling for the Arizona Republic as its staff continues to dwindle through more layoffs. Example: “The investigator reached out” to (the crime victim}. 

Speaking of crimes, how does one “go missing”? What happened to “disappeared”? Go or went missing sounds as if a missing person had a plan, compete with a map, when in fact they may have been kidnapped or otherwise a victim of criminal activity — all too often the case. Go missing falls into the same new English language learner category as, “Throw Mama from the train, a kiss.”

Another strange word usage is the word “so,” now frequently used in beginning a response to a question. As an example, “How did you meet you wife?” is answered with, “So, we were sitting across from each other in Starbucks.”  What was your first job might well be answered with, “So, I worked behind the counter at McDonalds.”

Another routine bungling of language is the misuse of the pronoun “myself” when the speaker intends to say me and isn’t sure whether the correct usage is “me” or “I.”  Myself is always reflective on the speaker, as in “I went to the store by myself.”  “Myself” didn’t go to the store.

“Contact Joe or myself,” is wrong. “Contact Joe or me” is correct.

Overly descriptive teen favorites “amazing” and “awesome,” now co-opted by their parents and grandparents head the dopey list. The response to, “I’ll see you at noon,” is “awesome!” Suddenly, most grandparents have “amazing” grandchildren. What the dimpled darlings do to amaze is up to dispute. Remember when kids were simply cute or said thedarndest things“?

Give us your best shot adding to the Marist list. This could be funner than you thought.


14 Responses to List of 2017’s most annoying words & phrases released

  1. Vince says:

    I always enjoy these lists. What I regard as a non-word that has gained traction is “functionality.” Apparently in enhances the meaning of the word function, which is no longer good enough.

  2. Observer says:

    Topping my list is the gentle word “dreamers” used to describe illegal aliens under 35 who all claim they were brought here as young children by their illegal invading parents, giving them special status. There is no way to verify their claims, but we’re supposed to give them all amnesty. There are nearly a million making this unverifiable declaration. American citizens are dreamers too, They dream not to be displaced in college admittance and jobs by this gigantic group of future Democrats. We should not be conned by soft language used to describe a nightmare.

  3. William Lucas says:

    I’m most disgusted with “give back!” In order to “give back” you had to have taken something. When I was a kid and took candy from a store, my mom made me give it back!
    I’ve worked and earned every thing I have. And when I give or donate (which I do), I do it because I want to and it makes me feel good not because I took anything. Don’t use “give back!”

    • Kent says:

      Excellent point. It makes the person saying it seem grand, as in “Look at me! I’ve attained so much while living here, that I’ll now be a benefactor.”
      It reminds me of Barack Obama saying “you didn’t build that,” referring to those who worked long hours and took the risks to start a business. In Obama’s world it was the 9 to 5 employees who built the business, not the guy with the loans to pay off and the sleepless nights wondering if it would be successful and how he would pay the rent and feed his family.

  4. Maggie says:

    Adults who speak like their kids is most annoying. I have neighbors who are parents of middle and high schoolers who say things are “crazy” or “insane” when they simply mean good. Parents are supposed to teach their children, not emulate them.

  5. Frankly Speaking says:

    I was taught in high school and college English classes that “entitled” meant privileged or having a claim to something and titled referred to the name of a book. When I see a book title referenced with the word “entitled” it sets my teeth on edge, but it seems to be commonly used that way more frequently. Ditto the word “done” meaning finished. I learned that work was finished and turkeys were done when it was time to remove them from the oven.

  6. Realist says:

    Unfortunately, the expressive English language is devolving. The unionist teachers teach recycling, global warming/cooling and revisionist history, detailing the injustices of living in America. They never explain that people are still dying to get here or that we have bent over backwards for minorities, even when our efforts, such as encouraging increased reliance on social benefits, which destroyed the family structure and increased fatherless homes, affirmative action and other preferential treatment ended up harming, instead of helping them. There was even a short-lived movement to teach using “Ebonics” (street slang) instead of English to Black students, causing them further harm

    Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams, both minority economists and noted intellectuals, have written extensively on the subject.

  7. Saguaro Sam says:

    Last week, there was an article in the which stated that students from several universities are making lists of words which they find offensive. (The parameters of “offensive” was not defined.) The students will then submit their lists and demand that the university libraries remove any book which contains even one of these words.

    Just another avenue that leads us to communism.
    And possibly Soros’ way to ultimately get religious books and The Bible out of circulation.

    if you want to see what is happening with the protests in Iran,
    the Twitter account for is posting a bunch of tweets, still photos and video. They want their country back.

    • Conservative Since Birth says:

      We were in NYC (near the dastardly U.N. building on the East River) in 2009 when scores of Iranian young people, handsome people, dressed beautifully, were protesting the takeover of their country by religious zealots. They wanted help from the UN and the U.S. Well, we saw how that went. Obama ignored their pleas – and as time went on, we saw him side with the Muslims everywhere ’til he was out of office, even giving Iran nuclear capability.

      It will be very interesting watching what happens with the Iranians who once knew freedom.

  8. Rick says:

    “Super” by itself or “Super Awesome” – or any word that is enhanced by the snowflake prefix of “super!” Ugh, it evokes nausea.

    Not on the list but equally nauseating, is when you see snowflakes of all ages posing for pics and shoving a horizontal “peace-sign” in the camera with one hand, while commandeering the pic with a stupid open-mouth expression. Doubly egregious is when they hold both hands in the same adolescent way. Older adults succumb to this behavior too.


  9. Conservative Since Birth says:

    I agree with SRAZ about “go missing.” Another one is “person of interest” – sounds like the softening of the word “suspect.” Wouldn’t want to be too hard on someone possibly accused of a crime. I emailed a local utility recently about my bill and got an email back saying they were glad that I was “reaching out” to them. I don’t like the words “cool!” and “awesome” coming from a parent or grandparent. One that really got me recently was witnessing a (white) mother telling her 4-5 year old son to “take a knee.” It hurt my ears – and breaks my heart. I hear this all the time: you say thank-you to a young person and the stock answer is “yeah – no problem.”

    This post by SRAZ will (hopefully) help me with the difference between e.g. and i.e. (Quick and Dirty, above) and who doesn’t love Art Linkletter and the innocent little kids’ comments.

  10. danno says:

    “Break it down for you” is the one that grates on my nerves… Especially when it’s regarding the weather: “How’s the upcoming week shaping up? We’ll break it down for you in 30 seconds!” Gaaaah!

  11. Enter “totally” and ‘completely” as my unfavorite verbal crutches; usually they add nothing—even subtract—from the power of the expression:

    “Attacked the column and totally destroyed it.”
    “Cleopatra had now succeeded in landlocking him completely.”
    “His claims were totally superseded.”
    “This downfall came as a complete surprise.”
    “Man Buys Old Yellow School Bus For $2,200, Then Completely Transforms It.”
    “Five of the worst meals to completely avoid.”
    “Revenues that are being brought in are completely non-profit.”
    “Nancy Pelosi’s Completely Incoherent Press Conference.”
    “President Trump Is Totally Clear.”
    “Trump-Russia Collusion Accusations Completely Bogus.”
    “Surgery would not help because the disc completely exploded.”
    “Which was completely ignored by the Senate”
    “NPR: 25 Million Votes For Clinton ‘Completely Fake.”
    “MSM completely ignores West Virginia governor’s switch.”
    “I’m totally indignant that you have.”
    “This makes absolutely no sense.”
    “This is totally untrue.”
    “What they did is totally illegal.”
    “Both parties have completely destroyed the Rule of Law.”
    And last, my pet peeve: “Completely slipped my mind,” used to as a lame excuse
    because, you see, it wasn’t my fault; I didn’t just forget it, it—on its own—
    it just slipped my mind!

    (Not for publication: “As an example, ‘How did you meet you wife?’ (Should be YOUR wife)(Caps for emphasis only).

  12. (SRAZ: can you edit out my “to” in “used to as a lame,” then close up the line below? Thanxx.)