Eileen Gault Burmeister
3 min readApr 3, 2022


I don’t know about you, but in 2022, I hope I never have to hear the words “asking for a friend,” “supply chain,” or “you’re on mute” again. Apparently, I’m not alone. In fact, Lake Superior State University recently published its 2022 List of Banished Words and all three of these phrases make an appearance.

Yes, I’ll admit It’s a bit nerdy of me to look forward to a list of banned words each New Year instead of ringing in the New Year in more traditional ways. But how much fun is a New Year’s Eve party when you can rail against the overuse of the term “new normal?”

Thank goodness that the folks at Lake Superior State University have their finger on the pulse of all that is obnoxious in our spoken language. Here’s how they do it: They accept nominations for words (or phrases) that simply need to go away before someone starts screaming each time she hears it. Sorry, was that too autobiographical?

LSSU has asked for submissions for its annual Banished Words List since 1976 “to uphold, protect, and support excellence in language by encouraging avoidance of words and terms that are overworked, redundant, oxymoronic, clichéd, illogical, nonsensical — and otherwise ineffective, baffling, or irritating…The Banished Words List has become such a cultural phenomenon that comedian George Carlin submitted an entry that made the annals in 1994: ‘baddaboom, baddabing.’”

To that, I say “huzzah!” Keep up the good work, my word nerd friends.

So what made it on this year’s list, you ask? In addition to the ones I’ve already mentioned, I’ll round out the list here:

Wait, what? This phrase is intended to express astonishment, but I prefer the trendier, hipper version — Gadzooks!

No worries. We intend to use this to impart a breezy, devil-may-care approach to life, but too often it usually means the opposite, as in “No worries, I loved emailing you for the FOURTH time with the SAME REQUEST.” (Maybe it’s the ALL CAPS that tells the true story?)

At the end of the day. This one is my personal pet peeve. At the end of the day — what? It never adds value to whatever statement follows. Instead it screams, “I don’t know how to wrap up this thought, so I’m going to get all philosophical, TEDTalk-y and say, “At the end of the day, we’re all just doing our job.” (Slow clap from the back, leading to a standing ovation. Lives are changed.)

That being said. A close relative to “at the end of the day,” this phrase is totally redundant and repetitive. (See what I did there?)

Circle back. It’s like you’re trying to make the fact that you’re going to ask me to do something again fun. Like the game Twister, but for tasks.

Deep dive. So instead of telling me what you do as an electrical engineer in a single sentence so I can quickly change the subject, you’re going to do a deep dive into the design, development and testing of electrical equipment until I’m mentally creating my grocery list as you drone on. Excellent!

Of course there are other words and phrases that should be added to the list — I’m looking at you “I could care less” and “irregardless” — but I’ll circle back for a deep dive on them at another time.

Until then, anyone know where I can get a t-shirt that reads YOU’RE ON MUTE? Asking for a friend…



Eileen Gault Burmeister

Storyteller, writer, editor, photographer, fascinated by words, forever reading the room.