This is not even close to a complete list but I didn’t want to go on too long. Plus it’s dinner time. I made this list being fully aware that I might have some annoying speech habits as well.
In no particular order… Idioms I am tired of:
- “So big it can be seen from space.” — This overused phrase has two reasons it should be dropped: The phrase was originally used as an illustration of how big the Great Wall of China is and now is used for almost anything as evidence of how gigantic that thing is. Yet, astronauts have stated that the wall can not be seen unaided from space. Even China’s own astronaut, Yang Liwei, said he couldn’t see the wall. Also, with good lenses almost anything can be seen from space. I can see my car right now on Google Maps. So on two fronts this stupid phrase is useless.
- “Threw me under the bus.” — When I can go a full week without hearing this at least twice, then maybe you can have this phrase back.
- “It is what it is.” — So meaningless I think I farted out some brain cells just trying to type this ridiculous phrase.
- “KEEP CALM and whatever, whatever…” — Can we please just stop it with this poster? It’s from WWII and reappeared in the early 2000’s risen back from the dead like a zombie and now wont die. Can we please let it go? Every conceivable variation has been reproduced. Now just ‘Keep Calm and F*** off!’
- “Think outside of the box.” — This one has sort of become it’s own antithesis.
- “It has been said…” — What the heck does that mean? Who said? This phrase and its other variants; “They say…,” or “It has been written…,” — so irritatingly meaningless while trying to sound authoritative and credible. “The Earth’s rotation is caused by hamsters running around inside the core!” There, now it has been written so it must be true, right? To go a step further, I just now said it out loud so now it has been said… Thanks, hamsters!
- “Mind Blown” — Minds seem to be really easy to blow these days judging by how often this phrase is used. I was torn about adding this to the list out of fear of being a total jerk. On the one hand, I never want to be critical of anyone who learns something new. Knowledge is good. It’s just that some of the ‘mind blown’ moments are about things we should know.
- “Stupid is as stupid does.” — … or says. – I know this one is a quite dated. The only reason I included it is that, oddly enough, I heard someone say this recently.
- “How’s that working out for you?” — The self righteous smugness of this question overshadows the fact that you don’t really even care about the answer. This has become very overused. It’s such a Dr. Phil statement; Doctor platitude extraordinaire.
And speaking of Dr. Phil…
- “Cash me outside howbow dah” — Yes I know. Idiots are kinda funny. Probably more people saw this than actually watch Dr. Phil’s show. I admit it… At first I was amused but this relatively recent meme is starting to wear on me. And now this girl finally went all ‘Cash me outside‘ on an airline passenger, ‘howbow dah?’ Her 15 minutes of fame are over about 10 minutes too late.
- “Well, tell me how you really feel.” — I think I just did.
- “When one door closes another one opens.” — Well, I’m certainly not going to wait for that to happen by itself.
- “Near miss” — Soooo… a hit, then?
- “In terms of…” — Ok, glad we could discuss terms before continuing your thought. This one was barely on my radar. I always just saw it as ‘dead wood,’ pointless linguistic window dressing. Then my friend G. started talking about how much it bothered him. Now I have to admit, it is very overused and bothersome.
Also, some words that should probably die, if people can’t learn what they mean:
- “Literally” — It’s used so meaninglessly today. If I hear this again I just might figuratively die.
- “Decimate” — This word is derived from the Roman Empire’s long ago practice of “Decimation” where Roman soldiers were punished for loosing a battle by being lined up while their leader went down the line and stabbed ever tenth person to death. It’s a word that once meant to kill or destroy 1-in-10; decim means ten… so, it means “removal of a tenth.” This word has now come to mean “to utterly and completely kill or destroy.”
I realize that language is alive and needs to evolve and change but words like this one and “literally” have done more than evolve. They have come to be used as the opposite of what they’ve always meant.
- “Random” — That’s sooo random! I’m talking to you… you know who you are. 🙂 This word does not mean bizarre or strange as it has come to mean. There is nothing bizarre or strange about me flipping a coin and it landing tails-up yet it is random.
- “Irregardless” — I had a boss who said this all the time. It took a lot of restraint not to say anything. Overly recursive word appendices, blah.
- “Ya know” or “Know what I’m saying?” — Yes, I know what you are talking about. You don’t need to check in with me after every sentence. If I am ever unclear, I will ask.
Words or phrases that are ridiculous but are somehow kind of cute enough that I might like them:
- “Cattywampus” — crooked or off kilter
- “Off like a herd of turtles.” — This one is descriptive and cute. I can’t remember where I heard this but I liked it.
- “Supper” — I usually say dinner but this is a cute word.
- “Clicker” — My grandma called the remote control a clicker. Her old TV (Zenith) was so old the remote actually did click. The first wireless remotes had a metal sound bar inside that was struck when you press the button. The TV was sonically controlled. I discovered a chair in the living room that would change the TV channels if I jumped on it. I drove my grandma crazy. I was 7 or 8, so of course I would bounce on the chair while she was watching a show and then giggle about it.
I’d like to add in a new phrase that I think should enter our vocabulary. I say this sort of tongue in cheek although I actually made up this phrase in a real conversation a couple of months ago.
- Future-truth — A statement that is false at the time it is spoken but eventually, and soon, becomes a true statement.