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‘Circle back’ and more: The 10 phrases that should be banished

·2-min read
Is it time to retire these phrases in 2022? (Source: Getty)
Is it time to retire these phrases in 2022? (Source: Getty)

What phrase are you sick of hearing?

According to the latest Banished Words List from Lake Superior State University (LSSU), it could be ‘wait, what?’ or ‘asking for a friend’.

And for people forced to work from home for two years, it’s likely ‘you’re on mute’.

The university has been compiling the list since 1976, and every year receives thousands of entries from fed-up conversationalists around the world.

These were the 10 most-hated phrases used in 2021:

  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

The list is designed to “support excellence in language” by calling out phrases that are overused, nonsensical, cliched and irritating.

Many of the phrases, including ‘circle back’ and ‘deep dive’, are commonly used in workplace settings.

But according to frustrated linguists, this isn’t a good thing.

“The most overused phrase in business, government, or other organisations since ‘synergy’ - which we banished in 2002 as evasive blanket terminology and smarty-pants puffery,” one person slammed ‘circle back’ as.

Another took aim at ‘deep dive’.

“The only time to dive into something is when entering a body of water, not going more in-depth into a particular subject or book,” they said.

Another added: “Do we need ‘deep’? I mean, does anyone dive into the shallow end?”

‘You’re on mute’, was also blasted.

“We’re two years into remote working and visiting. It’s time for everyone to figure out where the mute button is,” the submission read.

The 2021 list follows phrases like ‘I know, right?’ and ‘In an abundance of caution’, irritating people in 2020.

Additionally, ‘We’re all in this together’, ‘Pivot’, ‘Karen’, ‘Unprecedented’ and ‘social distancing’ were named and shamed.

“Say what you mean and mean what you say. Can’t get any easier, or harder, than that,” LSSU president Dr Rodney S. Hanley summarised.

“Every year, submitters play hard at suggesting what words and terms to banish by paying close attention to what humanity utters and writes. Taking a deep dive at the end of the day and then circling back make perfect sense. Wait, what?”

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