Where can you get a list of banned English words?


Quick Answer

You can find a list of "banned" words on Lake Superior State University's website. The school publishes the annual "List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Misuse, Overuse, and General Uselessness." The list is published in jest, as there is no official list of banned words in the United States.

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Full Answer

The list is compiled from hundreds of submissions collected through the year on the university's website. A public relations committee refines the list in December, and it is published every New Year's Day. People submit their pet peeves from everyday conversation, including common terms from news, overused jargon, and combinations of other words. 2015's list includes "bae," "swag," "foodie" and others.

The list was originally created by former public relations director Bill Rabe in 1977. To garner publicity for the newly independent university, Rabe started the Unicorn Hunters, a group responsible for interesting events, the school's first literary journal and this list of banned words. The list was first conceptualized at a New Year's Eve party and released the next day. It received national attention immediately.

The tradition continued even after Rabe retired in 1987. The school has since copyrighted the concept and inspired imitations. The list still receives national and international press.

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