Blogs

Banned List: the next 50

John Rentoul

796 dracula blood donation 225x300 Banned List: the next 50Since The Banned List book went to press, I have been compiling a Supplementary List of forbidden words and phrases. In addition to the 500 prohibitions in the book, the Supplementary List has now reached 50.

So here they are, never to be used again:

  1. “Absent” instead of “without”. (A rare British example here.) Nominated by David Randall.
  2. “—athon” except marathon. (Snoozathon, and so on.) Philip Painter.
  3. Capacity building.
  4. Clear and present danger. (Recently used by David Cameron.)
  5. Corporates, noun, plural. Philip Downer.
  6. Crystal clear.
  7. Don’t go there. Gregg F.
  8. “Like putting Dracula in charge of a blood bank.” (Right.)
  9. To duet, as a verb.
  10. Fast forward. Oliver Kamm.
  11. Feral.
  12. (To have a) flutter.
  13. Fog of war. Calum Leslie.
  14. (From the) get-go.
  15. To ‘give 110 per cent’. Or any figure larger than 100 per cent.
  16. Hapless. Omer Lev.
  17. Hard-headed. Martin Sheehan.
  18. Homage as a verb. Lisa Markwell.
  19. Hostage to fortune. Robert Kelly.
  20. If I were a betting man.
  21. In conjunction with. Peter Victor.
  22. In point of fact.
  23. “It is a truth universally acknowledged …”
  24. “It’s X, Jim, but not as we know it.” David Wilkins.
  25. “It was not meant to be like this.”
  26. Life chances.
  27. Lost generation.
  28. Methinks. Socrates.
  29. “(The most important x you’ve) never heard of.”
  30. The mother of all … Hopi Sen.
  31. “North of”, to mean “more than”. Max Atkinson. See south.
  32. Nothing will ever be the same again.
  33. Outside of. Annette Hardy.
  34. To produce the goods.
  35. Reality check.
  36. Rehome.
  37. Signage.
  38. Simples.
  39. South, as in “going south”.
  40. Substantive. Roddy Martindale.
  41. Takeaway, noun, meaning action point (also banned). James Lowman.
  42. Text abbreviations: including saying “lol” as a word.
  43. Toast, as in someone or something “is toast”. Denis MacShane.
  44. Too little, too late. Robbie Gibb.
  45. Transactional behaviour. What Liam Fox said in his statement to the Commons, 10 October 2011: “As for the pecuniary interests of Mr Werritty in those particular conferences, I am confident that he was not dependent on any transactional behaviour to maintain his income.” (He cannot be blamed for the phrase “pecuniary interests”, as that was put to him in a question by Ann Clwyd.)
  46. In any way, shape or form. Simon O’Hagan.
  47. “We need to talk about …” Sarah Taylor and Chris Williams.
  48. Webinar. Nevine Henein.
  49. Westminster bubble [in addition to village].
  50. Wreak havoc.

Questionable, but reprieved: amid. A simple piece of journalese, and a perfectly good English word, without which no newspaper would be able to function.

Thank you to all my fellow partisans in defence of original and interesting use of English. Keep them coming.

Tagged in:
  • marqueemoons

    Step (rather than set) foot. Cannot work out why this annoys me as much as it does.

  • sussexoracle

    ‘Size matters’.  ‘Nuff said.

  • Guest

    Every trade has it’s professional jargon. Asking everyone in their respective fields to stop using it is a big ask isn’t it? I would imagine you use quite a bit of media jargon?

  • Guest

    Sorry for using the term “a big ask”. Is that already on the list?

  • greghartleybrewer

    Rentoul is a warmonger- and is now behaving, with his silent censoring, like a crypto-fascist.


Property search
Browse by area

Latest from Independent journalists on Twitter