Words and Phrases to Avoid For 2008


As 2007 comes to end, let us also bury some more overused words and phrases.

Added: Since I’m on vacation, posting will be light, but I will take time to add to this list until January 1st. Help me compile a a good list of your favorite words and phrases you never want to see or hear again.

A Hard Stop – A project or a meeting either stops or continues. No corporate suit ever brings a meeting to a ‘soft stop’ because it’s impossible.

Don’t Put All Your Eggs In One Basket – That’s a lot of words to say ‘diversify’ or ‘spread the risk’. Do you know anyone that gathers eggs using a basket? Have you ever said, ‘don’t put all your eggs in one carton”? Are we supposed to stash eggs in various locations throughout the house?

Mission Critical – If it’s not critical to the project, why are people discussing it? Writing memos? Having meetings?

Open The Kimono – Please don’t. A bunch of guys standing around in suits clamoring for someone to ‘open their kimono” is just creepy.

Wipe The Slate Clean – Just start over. When’s the last time you wrote on a slate? Was it the last time you ‘chalked one up’?

The Whole Nine Yards – Just doesn’t work in our current sports fanatic world. Nine yards is short of the first down so it must be time to ‘drop back and punt’. Does anyone connect that to buying cloth? Or concrete? Or coal? I can’t even find a decent origin for that phrase.

Let’s Not Beat a Dead Horse – Don’t beat a live horse either! The horse might still be alive if all those damn people weren’t beating it.

Strike While The Iron Is Hot – Um yeah. Pretty sure there’s more to blacksmithing than just striking hot metal. Quenching, tempering, folding, but bugger all that eh?

Pick The Low Hanging Fruit – Yes, it might be the easiest fruit to snatch, but is it ripe? You just might end up with sour apples…

Incentivize – I’m pretty fed up with people adding ‘ize’ to perfectly good words so I might just create another list…

Viral – As Ryan Holiday so rightly pointed out, viral, when used to talk about the spread of a product, idea or video, needs to go. It’s not even used correctly. A video doesn’t spread all by itself, replicating and attaching itself to websites and hosts. It’s much more like biological warfare, where over-enthusiastic web militants ensure the spread of that 30 second clip they feel everyone on the planet must be infected with.

And since I have an hour or two, let me add a few more entries.

Pwn or Pwned – If you ever hear those spoken, smack the person responsible in the lips. If he’s surrounded by his friends, they will probably say, Snap! Smack them in the lips too. When they blubber, tell them to stop being R-tards or you will unplug their little plastic guitar and force them to go outside and toss a football until they can learn to throw a tight spiral. This will take months as their oversized thumbs make it difficult for them to lift their little girly arms.


  1. What about “viral?” As in “we’ve got to the blog component, we’ve got the social networking component and the viral video component.” If you actually say “viral” anything, you’ve never had anything go “viral.”

  2. DG

    Ryan, you’re absolutely correct. As I sit here waiting to get from Palermo to Ragusa I just had to take the time to add your suggestion to the list.

  3. As far as incentivize goes, that is a word that my partner would call a “thesorical” word. He came up with the phrase to mean any word that sounds like it is real, though it is not. So, as to cause you no further pericumbobulations (a thesorical word care of Blackadder), I shall sign off!

  4. DG

    I like ‘thesorical’. That one should be in the dictionary. Glad you came by to give away a word. ;)

  5. I stole your big, bloggy RSS button!


  6. Crystal

    I would like to never again hear the phrase “ramping up.” As in we are “ramping up” security at this big event. It sounds ridiculous and stupid. Like something a 5 year old would say when they couldn’t think of the word “increasing.” The use of this word makes a news story/source sound totally foolish.

  7. @Cindy:You are not the only one.I also stole it from him.Actually, my first visit to this blog was because I was looking for the big delicious RSS button.Since that day, I always come back.

    The word that I hate so much from 2007 is “referral”.Everyone who comes up with some online business concentrates on how you can gain more referrals and how much you will be paid.I think the emphasis should be on how much that business is going to offer the customer.

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