Let’s not ‘circle back’ on 2021: Michigan school releases annual list of banished words, phrases

Lake Superior State University really wants you to stop calling this our “new normal.”

Have you ever thought, “Hmm, I could go the rest of my life without hearing someone say, ‘you’re on mute’”?

If your answer is yes, you’re not alone. That phrase accompanies nine others on Lake Superior State University’s annual list of “banished” words and phrases, an annual tongue-in-cheek tradition dating back to 1976. The list comprises submissions from around the world.

According to a press release from the university, the Banished Words List began as a “promotional ploy” for the school. It’s gone on to become a popular yearly skewering of the year’s grammatical lowlights.

This year’s list includes several COVID-19-related terms, to no one’s surprise—but the number is down from the seven pandemic-adjacent terms that were included on last year’s list.

The 2022 hitlist homes in on loathsome corporate jargon—which comedians and internet users alike have been rightfully roasting lately. This TikTok clip produced by “Corporate Natalie” may or may not have motivated a few submissions:


When corporate lingo takes over your love life < #corporate #corporatetiktok #9to5 #fyp

♬ original sound – CorporateNatalie

Here are Lake Superior State University’s list of banished words and phrases for 2022:

  1. Wait, what?
  2. No worries
  3. At the end of the day
  4. That being said
  5. Asking for a friend
  6. Circle back
  7. Deep dive
  8. New normal
  9. You’re on mute
  10. Supply chain

Which words or phrases drill-down into your pain points? Share your pet peeves in the comments below, and submit your least favorite word or phrase for the 2023 Banished Words List here.


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