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“Fiscal Cliff,” “Spoiler Alert” Make List Of Banned Words For 2013

Hugh Pinney, Getty Images

Spoiler alert? Trending? Fiscal cliff? That’s so 2012.

In Michigan, Lake Superior State University has just released their annual list of banned words for the new year. This year”s list includes the terms “spoiler alert,” “fiscal cliff,” and ten other ridiculously over-used words and phrases.

A dirty dozen have landed on the 38th annual List of Words to be Banished from the Queen’s English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness. The nonbinding, tongue-in-cheek decree released Monday by northern Michigan’s Lake Superior State University is based on nominations submitted from the United States, Canada and beyond.

“Spoiler alert,” the seemingly thoughtful way to warn readers or viewers about looming references to a key plot point in a film or TV show, nevertheless passed its use-by date for many, including Joseph Foly, of Fremont, Calif. He argued in his submission the phrase is “used as an obnoxious way to show one has trivial information and is about to use it, no matter what.”

At the risk of further offense, here’s another spoiler alert: The phrase receiving the most nominations this year is “fiscal cliff,” banished because of its overuse by media outlets when describing across-the-board federal tax increases and spending cuts that economists say could harm the economy in the new year without congressional action.

“You can’t turn on the news without hearing this,” said Christopher Loiselle, of Midland, Mich., in his submission. “I’m equally worried about the River of Debt and Mountain of Despair.”

Other words and phrases that have been banned in 2013 include “bucket list,” “guru” and “YOLO – you only live once.”

Of course, this list doesn’t have any real power behind it. It’s not like we can throw in jail anyone who utters the phrase “YOLO.” (though I really wish they could because that phrase is so dumb…) But I think it’s kind of fun to see which over-hyped phrases people are finally getting sick of each year. I can think of a few phrases I’m pretty tired of hearing myself…

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