More Words & Phrases I’d Like to See Dead

Back in January I did a post on Words and Phrases That Should be Buried.

I’m on Rant 2.

“Literally” is still the most overused word.  It is the Ramen of our vocabulary.

Here are more additions:

Wrap my head around it. I never got this phrase.  It conjurs up something you’d see  watching a Bugs Bunny cartoon.  I think this image came from an aging hippie suffering one too many acid trips.

Getting eyeballs is  overused in the worlds of advertising, marketing and the Web. It’s a disgusting image, conjuring up pictures of those bloody eyeballs you see on low budget horror films and Garbage Pail Kids trading cards.  “Getting eyeballs” still doesn’t address getting the mind behind the eyeballs to concentrate on the message.

Silos. I’ve just starting hearing this in office conversation and I’ve seen it a few times in writing.  It’s one of those words that creates an appropriate image.  (See yourself as dried corn nestled in your own comfortable silo not wanting to communicate with the corn in the other silos).  The image was used as early as 1989 in the context of “vertical silo syndrome.”   Now I hear it on campus as in “departments are silos,” not caring about other departments.  It’s going to wear itself out fast because it’s an easy concept for lazy speakers.

Butts in seats.  Kind of like “getting eyeballs.”  Butts in seats, of course, is filling seats with people.   So why can’t we say we want to “fill seats?”  We’ve broken humans into butts and eyeballs.  Not a pretty picture.

I don’t know wherecreepy edged into the national daily dialogue but it spread like The Blob in a microwave.    It probably evolved from “it creeps me out.”  I suppose it’s popular because it’s fun to say and is easily inserted into any kind of description of something somewhat distasteful.  I think it’s adolescent and no one over the age of 18 should be using it.

Unfortunately they do use it.  I heard a middle-aged secretary today relating a story of a couple accidents in which two friends in different parts of the country died about the same time.  “That’s creepy,” she told the other secretary.  “Don’t you think that’s creepy?  I just think that’s really creepy.”

I crept out, wrapping my head around a silo of sanity, keeping my eyeballs straight ahead and my butt far away from any nearby seats.


Please send in your candidates for instant death.


18 responses to “More Words & Phrases I’d Like to See Dead

  1. My top 3:
    Step it up a notch.
    Outside the box.

  2. “It’s in our DNA” – said of an organization.

  3. Agree with Andy on the “It’s in our DNA.” I was going to mention “best practices,” but I clicked back to your previous entry on this topic and saw you had that already covered. (Way to “think outside the box” on that one.)

    A lot of marketing words bother me — words like “collateral” and “deliverables.” As well as IT words, like “granular” and “iterative.” I hear these words in a lot of meetings. Another favorite in meetings: “Let’s discuss this offline.”

    Another one we hate collectively as a department is “experiential.” Every academic these days is talking about “experiential” learning. This came to a level of absurdity a few years ago when the academic administrators on our campus decided to rename our perfectly finely-named “Student Design Center” as the “Student Design and Experiential Learning Center.” Gag.

    If you like, we can discuss this more offline. But actually, that discussion would probably take place online. Oh, nevermind.

  4. I agree with Andrew: Despite the close relationship between Marketing and Communications, marketers often mangle the language most.

    My biggest peeve is when people turn nouns into verbs.

    I offer my apologies for duplicating Outside the Box from the previous post, too.

    (Working in Comms w/ a degree in Marketing).

  5. I agree completely with the previous comments – and another catchphrase I’d add as a pet peeve … “At the end of the day”.

  6. Going forward, I’d like to ban the phrase “Going forward.”

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  8. This is a very interesting question. Just saw some newspapers writting about it in

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  10. Would also ban surreal… its like so surreal.

  11. I agree. “Fill seats” is better than saying “Butts in seats”. It’s more appropriate. I would also like to omit the words “Just my two cents”. I’d rather use “In my opinion”.

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