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‘No worries,’ ‘you’re on mute’ and ‘circle back’ should be banished, annual list says

<i>Photo Illustration: Shutterstock / CNN</i><br/>
Photo Illustration: Shutterstock / CNN
"No worries

By Leah Asmelash, CNN

“No worries,” “at the end of the day,” “you’re on mute,” and the dreaded “supply chain”: These are the phrases thousands of English speakers have finally heard enough of.

They and several others make up Lake Superior State University’s Banished Words List, an annual list amassed from submissions around the world, which highlights phrases or words that are becoming overused to the point of uselessness.

Though phrases related to Covid-19 dominated the previous list, the latest lineup was more conversational, a potential side effect of the ways Western society has adapted to the ongoing pandemic, said Peter Szatmary, executive director of marketing and communications at LSSU, in a statement.

The school has released this list since 1976, receiving thousands of entries. In the past year, people submitted more than 1,250 words for consideration, with nominations coming not just from within the US but from Norway, Belgium, England, Scotland, Australia and Canada.

The school announces the results of the yearly collection on the last day of the year.

“Say what you mean and mean what you say. Can’t get any easier, or harder, than that,” said LSSU President Rodney S. Hanley in a statement. “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?”

With that, here are the 10 phrases that made 2021’s list.

Wait, what?

Meant to convey surprise or uncertainty, some found this phrase to be inexact, the school said. “I don’t want to wait,” one person complained.

No worries

Nominated for its ubiquity, “no worries” is used as a substitute for “you’re welcome.” But it’s truly meaningless, the school noted.

At the end of the day

This isn’t this phrase’s first foray on the Banished Words list — it first appeared way back in 1999. Nevertheless, to the chagrin of many, it persists.

That being said

This phrase is simply a redundant verbal filler, nominators argued. “Go ahead and say what you want already!” one demanded.

Asking for a friend

This phrase had a huge year, in part because of its use as a joke on social media (in which it was understood, obviously, that the user was really just asking for themselves). Though some may have found it funny, these nominators have had it, saying the phrase is overused.

Circle back

“It’s a conversation, not the Winter Olympics,” the school said bluntly.

Deep dive

Diving is for bodies of water, a nominator said, not subjects or materials. Another wondered: “Do we need ‘deep’? I mean, does anyone dive into the shallow end?” A good question.

New normal

Used as a catchall for the ways our world has changed with Covid-19, this phrase was actually banished (for different reasoning) back in 2012. Now, some argue the pandemic isn’t really “new” anymore. Also, if something is normal, can it be new?

You’re on mute

This is self-explanatory.

Supply chain

Issues relating to the supply chain have basically become a scapegoat for any kind of shortage, one person said, while others claim the phrase has become a meaningless buzzword. Though that may be valid, there really are serious supply chain issues, even if some might be tired of hearing about them.

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