Words list bans ‘fake news’ and ‘covfefe’


Associated Press

DETROIT

Let me ask you this: Would a story that unpacks a list of tiresome words and phrases be impactful or a nothingburger? Worse, could it just be fake news?

Northern Michigan’s Lake Superior State University on Sunday released its 43rd annual List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness. The tongue-in-cheek, non-binding list of 14 words or phrases comes from thousands of suggestions to the Sault Ste. Marie school.

This year’s list includes “let me ask you this,” “unpack,” “impactful,” “nothingburger,” “tons,” “dish,” “drill down,” “let that sink in,” and the top vote-getter, “fake news.”

The others are “pre-owned,” “onboarding/offboarding,” “hot water heater,” “gig economy” and the Trumpian Twitter typo “covfefe.”

While the list contains a little political flavor, Lake Superior State spokesman John Shibley said he had expected more given the highly divisive 2016 election and a year of deepening divisions in government and the U.S. electorate.

“It wasn’t as focused on politics in a very dirty sense,” he said. “Most of the nominations were well thought through ... considering how the year was.”

As evidence, he points to “fake news,” which garnered between 500 and 600 votes. The phrase has been leveled against entirely fabricated reporting, stories that contain errors or inaccuracies, and those with a critical tone.

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