LSSU Bans Words for 2015

Sophomore “Judgmental Julia” is thoroughly disgusted by the overuse of slang and grandiloquence. Saving the streets by oppressing the swagtastic peasants with her catch phrase, Julia wipes away grammatical sin one “Like, what even?” at a time.

Natalie Wilson

Sophomore “Judgmental Julia” is thoroughly disgusted by the overuse of slang and grandiloquence. Saving the streets by oppressing the swagtastic peasants with her catch phrase, Julia wipes away grammatical sin one “Like, what even?” at a time.

Natalie Wilson, Features Editor

For the 40th year in a row, a tradition stared by W. T. Rabe, former public relations director at Lake Superior State University, carries itself on with increasing popularity. In 1975, Rabe and a few friends created a list of over-used, grammatically incorrect and generally useless words and phrases that everyone loves to hate. Although his first list was simple and consisted of his own opinions, he knew by the amount of supportive feedback and suggestions for the next year’s list that this idea would soon become larger than himself.

Since 1976, LSSU’s Annual List of Banished Words has run solely on nominations received from around the world. Over the years, the school has racked up tens of thousands of submissions, compiling the list to be over 800 words long. “Grammar-Nazis” and “Word-Watchers” target errors from everyday conversation, broadcasts, technology, politics and more, running them through the final cut that occurs each December. As of 2015, ten words have joined the undesirables:

“Bae” (One of the top nominees.)

“Bae” has a self-explanatory annoying factor; it was traditionally slang for “babe,” but has now taken on the acronym “before anyone else”. Although originally created for our romantically-loved ones, “bae” has been exaggerated for any noun we particularly enjoy. If Ramen Noodles, your dog and Chipotle qualify as “bae,” how could one apply “bae” to their romantic partner with such low defining standards? Not only has it become degrading, but it compromises one’s ability to enunciate the letter “b.”

Polar Vortex”

Used to describe freezing weather conditions, people of generations before us are sitting around, scratching their heads as to why the initial phrase “cold snap” has now become inadequate. A literal “polar vortex” would translate to chills that freeze us from the inside out, not a week of typical January weather.


The term “life hacks” is now incorrectly describing shares of guidance that were originally deemed “tips” or even fell under the simple category of “advice.” To hack is usually associated with gaining illegal access to a computer, so how does one manage to hack into something so common and open as life? Your life is not locked, and you need not hack into it.

“Skill Set”

When looking at the grammar of “skill set,” it could be considered redundant due to the fact that “skill” is appropriate on its own. One should say they have the skill to work a job or finish a class with an A, leaving no need for the following emphasis of “set.”


It is not surprising that “swag” has been seen on many previous lists; as the swag-addicted users continue to expose themselves as illiterate skaters or pretentious wannabes, commoners continue to look down on those who refuse to update their vocabulary that is stuck in 2000. Disregarding the attempts to keep the word on the down-low, “swag” keeps coming back like an infectious disease. It seems as if there is constant battle as to who will back down first: those with swag and those without.


As social media skyrockets, so does the number of ridiculous posts. Every day we scroll past good-intentioned pictures of pets, clothes and other subjects we are trained to not care about, but one we simply cannot overlook is the “foodie”, the food version of a selfie. Whether it is simply a mere picture of what you ate for breakfast this morning or an artsy selfie of you and your pasta, we all like food and do not need to know that you do too- it is understood.

“Curate”                                                                                                       A word originally specified to show the strict selection of fine art and museums, “curate” is now being abused and stamped on virtually any product to express high-quality production. You can even buy curated dog treats.


Used as a spoof of the common phrase “fund-raising,” meaning to raise funds for an organization or event, “friend-raising” has become a term used most commonly when referring to people who create friendships just to borrow money or for the occasional free meal or housing. Friendship is a delicate bond, reliant on trust and honesty, and the exact opposite of friendship would be lying and deceiving, which would be in the manner of someone who “friend-raises,” thus making the term a contradiction. It cannot be considered friendship should it be built on bad moral and used only for self-benefit, leaving us with a sour taste in our mouth towards “friend-raising” for not only being a selfish act, but also for being defined incorrectly.

“Cra-Cra/ Cray-Cray”

At this point, using the term “cray-cray” is cray-cray. I doubt an explanation is needed as to how we went from “crazy” to “cray-cray,” but my vote is that we should make the switch back. Just because the word is shortened and said twice does not make it cute nor appealing.


Previously used to show dedication to one specific sports team (Packer-Nation, Brewers-Nation, etc.), the suffix is now being added on to groups having to do with anything and everything, hence our very own Raider Nation. The term is wildly over used, and who knows, maybe by 2020, we will be saying Raider Continent, Raider World or even Raider Universe.