Let me ask you this: Would a story that unpacks a list of tiresome words and phrases be impactful or a nothingburger? Worse, could it just be fake news? Northern Michigan's Lake Superior State University on Sunday released its 43rd annual List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Misuse, Overuse, and General Uselessness, reports the AP. The tongue-in-cheek, non-binding list of 14 words or phrases comes from thousands of suggestions. This year's list includes "let me ask you this," ''unpack," ''impactful," ''nothingburger," ''tons," ''dish," ''drill down," ''let that sink in," and the top vote-getter, "fake news." The others are "pre-owned," ''onboarding/offboarding," ''hot water heater," ''gig economy," and the Trumpian Twitter typo "covfefe."
While the list contains a little political flavor, Lake Superior State rep John Shibley said he had expected more given a year of deepening divisions in the US electorate. "It wasn't as focused on politics in a very dirty sense," he said, pointing to "fake news," which garnered between 500 and 600 votes. It was also found to be the second most annoying word or phrase used by Americans in an annual Marist College poll, behind "whatever." "I think a lot of people know fake news when they see it. It can be propaganda, it can be satire," Shibley said. "It's used deliberately to paint a certain story or notion as not being true." While some words are perennial nominees, others really speak to a particular time and may soon lose relevance. Shibley said "covfefe" became shorthand for a social media mistake. "It's the 'pet rock' of this year's list," Shibley said. (This guy is re-writing the dictionary—in limericks.)