Saturday, June 23 , 2018, 2:19 am | Fog/Mist 60º


Peter Funt: At the End of the Day, Here Are Some Words to Avoid in 2017

Before year’s end, let’s have one sort of “Kumbaya” moment as we turn the page on words and expressions that have sort of worn out their welcomes in 2016.

We can start with “Kumbaya,” the 1920s folk song kept alive by Pete Seeger, Joan Baez and dozens of other musicians through the decades until politicians and pundits appropriated the term (loosely, “come by you”) to mock fake, usually progressive, group merriment.

Speaking of progressives-and we mean you, MSNBC pundits-find a linguistic crutch to replace “sort of.” If you had to drink a shot every time a cable guest said “sort of” you’d be blasted by the first commercial.

And speaking of cable folks, Bill O’Reilly should please stop referring to “the folks.” Rachel Maddow ought to refrain from adding the words “The great state of” before naming any of the 50 states.

Megyn Kelly, who has her own “great” fixation, needs a new send off for guests instead of “great to see you.” Chuck Todd, rescued by the end of the presidential campaign, will presumably stop ending every political interview by saying “Good luck on the trail.”

Brian Williams should no longer go to breaks by saying he must “fit in” a commercial. Erin Burnett ought to cease using the name of her show to begin every new thought: “John King is ‘Out Front’ tonight ...” And, Wolf Blitzer, we get it, you’re “In the ‘Situation Room.’”

Funny thing, no one did more talking in ’16 than Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, and yet neither candidate invoked any particularly sharp or memorable words. Clinton’s big gambit was to say “deplorable,” and she paid dearly for that. Trump operated mainly on the grade-school level, with terms such as “huge,” “beautiful,” “really beautiful” and “really huge.”

Trump and renegade progressive Bernie Sanders shared one overwhelmingly annoying linguistic trait. Each insisted on telling us things by first saying, “I will tell you.”

Turning to sports, it was a year in which basketball announcers decided it was necessary to repeatedly say, “score the basketball,” rather than just “score.” Baseball announcers concluded that a well executed hit could only be described as “a good piece of hitting.” Football announcers stopped using 2015’s favorite term, “happy feet,” in favor of “pocket presence.”

Midway in 2016 news media made a collective decision that it was OK to use the word “lie,” and overnight almost anything a politician said became one. This went hand-in-hand with Oxford Dictionaries “Word of the Year”: post-truth.

Indeed, we seem to be in a post-language era in which many things are deemed less important by preceding them with the word “post”-as in post-racial, post-national and post-good-choice-of-words.

Speaking of hyphenated terms, here’s hoping we never hear “alt-right” in 2017, although that’s only possible in an alternate universe.

In pop culture, it seems anything good is now “snatched,” as in your new outfit. And “boots,” is a new term of emphasis when you are, for instance, “Hungry boots.” Go figure.

At the end of the day there will be a raft of new terms and annoying expressions in the coming year and, regrettably, a few that we’ll never be rid of, such as “at the end of the day.”

Peter Funt is a writer, speaker and author of the book, Cautiously Optimistic. He is syndicated by Cagle Cartoons and can be contacted at Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >