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Worn-Out Words & Phrases: 2017

Words and phrases are powerful tools when used correctly in the right places in a thought or idea. They can also add conversational glue among those tuned in to the buzz of a current milieu.

Yet not all words and phrases are meant to last forever. Many serve a fleeting purpose before they lose their relevance or simply become frayed from use. They’re just too du jour to outlive their trend.

In these events, we have to consider their mission accomplished and let them fade with their retirement checks in hand. If we pardon them soon enough, we can even help them depart with dignity.

We’ve all seen fashionable words and phrases cooperate in joining and then leaving our language. We’ve also witnessed ailing ones that refuse to let go. Some date from as far back as the late 1990s and early 2000s; as dried-up and tired hangers-on, they bog down what should be nimble expression.

We watch for words and phrases that look to be overstaying their welcome. By calling them out and issuing pink slips, we aim to uphold the vigor of vibrant communication.

We’ve identified the following as either no longer fit for or quickly losing their figure in fresh, lean, and clean composition. Some may still insist on loitering despite our best efforts at exclusion, but together we can help turn most of them back just by reducing their use until we no longer need them at all.

absolutely high-impact paradigm shift
alrighty then holistic pretty
(as modifier)
amazing honestly really
(as modifier)
at the end of the day it’s not rocket science so this happened
awesome just sayin’ synergy
by the same token literally think outside the box
cutting-edge low-key touch base
drop(ped) the ball on the same page under one roof

Weeding these from your writing and speech will help to keep it original and meaningful. Perhaps you know of yet other words and phrases that are ready for a phase-out. If so, please share them with us. We’ll review them for potential inclusion with our list of worn-out words and phrases for 2017.

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and Punctuation

by Jane Straus, Lester Kaufman, and Tom Stern

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