The Banned List: The next 50

John Rentoul

lhf 207x300 The Banned List: The next 50A big and gratifying response to my Banned List top 100, of clichés, jargon and verbiage. Hundreds of pedants (it’s a compliment) have nominated bugbears (see previous post) in the comments on the Independent article, the blog, by Twitter (#bannedlist) and email. I literally cannot believe that I missed some of these first time round.

The Committee has approved the following (picture, right, shows number 116):

101. in terms of

102. in relation to

103. it comes with the territory

104. joined-up thinking

105. reach out

106. It is a cliché, but true

107. ‘Step forward’, as in, ‘How did the Banned List take over the world? Step forward, John Rentoul.’

108. pre-order

109. Referring to yourself in the third person

110. “We” to mean “people I look down on but am pretending to empathise with” (eg “we spend our nights watching reality TV”)

111. Must read, as a noun, or must-read, as an adjective

112. the longest time

113. sun-kissed

114. strife-torn

115. pockets of resistance

116. low-hanging fruit (see photograph)

117. touch base

118. problematic

119. wow factor, or any other factor, except in mathematics

120. back in the day

121. staycation

122. ahead of

123. as of this time

124. personal belongings

125. foreground, as a verb

126. swingeing cuts

127. complete standstill

Cannot thank everyone, but Philip Smith gets what the New Statesman competition called an hon mensh for these four:

128. close-knit community

129. Clients, used by government departments to refer to welfare beneficiaries.

130. Team leader, meaning clerk.

131. How’s your day going so far?

And Sean Farrell for these:

132. I tell you what (used by football types to start a sentence, especially Pat Nevin)

133. You might say that, I couldn’t possibly comment

134. Talent (for employees)

135. Deliver or delivery (when not carried out by Royal Mail or a van driver)

And Jasmine Metcalfe for these:

136. hit the ground running

137. ahead of the curve

138. living the dream

139. holed below the water line

140. presses all the right buttons

141. happening, adjective

Then we have:

142. footfall

143. the exception that proves the rule

144. by virtue of the fact that

145. aesthetically pleasing

146. medal or podium as a verb

147. glamping (no idea what it means; prohibited)

148. “they think it’s all over — it is now”

149. discontent, any season of

And finally:

150. Upcoming.

I really cannot believe that this was not on the list already. And I am grateful to Foster Winans for this story:

Bernard Kilgore, legendary editor and architect of the Wall Street Journal style and look (1940s through 1960s), was said to have hated that word so strongly that one day, after seeing it in a published story one time too many, sent a memo down to the staff on a lower floor warning, “The next time I see ‘upcoming’ in the paper I will be downcoming and someone will be outgoing.”

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  • Norm Stone

    moving forward, scenario, working hard

  • marqueemoons

    Number 110 is genius.

  • marqueemoons

    ‘Literally,’ even when utilised (another pet hate) correctly.

  • Guest


  • Les. Hayward


  • porkfright

    See Streeb-my sentiments entirely.

  • Guest

    curry house!

  • bobirving

    I’ve put in on the post for the first 100, but I’ll put it here as well: “governance”.

  • kate_francis

    His beloved (followed by name of football team)

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