The Number One: Banished Words List 2022: Time to retire ‘new normal,’ ‘supply chain’ and ‘you’re on mute’

Wait, what? At the end of the day, people are sick of hearing someone say “no worries” after telling a colleague “you’re on mute” during a Zoom call.

That being said, folks are also way past promising to “circle back” after taking a “deep dive” into that latest report about … groan … supply chain issues. And can we please get everyone to stop referring to life two years into the pandemic as the “new normal?” Asking for a friend.

If the previous two paragraphs made you roll your eyes more than once, you’re not alone. In fact, they’re packed with the 10 overused terms that top the “Banished Words List” for 2022. 

Lake Superior State University’s annual tongue-in-cheek report has been rounding up the most useless, misused or overused English phrases that people are sick of hearing year over year since 1976. 

And for 2022, the school received more than 1,250 nominations of words and terms from across the U.S., as well as England, Scotland, Australia, Norway, Belgium and Canada, that reached peak saturation in the past year.

So the No. 1 phrase that people want banished in the New Year is: “Wait, what?” The LSSU report says it commits the language sins of misuse and overuse, and describes the imperative question as “a failed response to a statement to express astonishment, misunderstanding, or disbelief.” 

“I hate it,” wrote in one voter. “I don’t want to wait,” noted another. 

People were also frustrated with the overuse of “No worries” as an incorrect substitute for “You’re welcome.” The report notes that even Alphabet’s GOOGL, -0.53% Google Assistant is guilty of including “No worries” in its suggested text for Gmail users at times. 

Several pandemic-related terms also top this year’s banished words list, including “new normal” — especially since, two years into life under COVID-19 “is any of this really ‘new?’” anymore, as one contributor mused. 

Related: Google’s 2021 Year in Search: AMC and GME stocks, Dogecoin, stimulus checks and shortages dominated queries

Also, now that many people are still working remotely or communicating with friends and family over videoconferencing two years into the pandemic — and many will continue to do so for the foreseeable future, thanks to the omicron surge — “It’s time for everyone to figure out where the mute button is,” another contributor noted. We should not still need to tell folks “you’re on mute.” 

Related: Why many people who make over $100,000 will likely continue to work from home

And while many shoppers and news reports expressed concern about product shortages due to increased demand and supply-chain issues last year, particularly in the run up to the December holidays, there was certainly no shortage of using the phrase “supply chain,” right? 

“Supply chain issues have become the scapegoat of everything that doesn’t happen or arrive on time and of every shortage,” wrote one analyst in the report. 

It should be noted that the supply chain struggle is real, however. In December, retailers were expecting revenue losses between 5% and 20% from the previous 18 months because of supply-chain issues, translating into billions of dollars in lost sales.

Read more: Supply-chain issues to bedevil retailers through 2022, according to survey

Here are the Top 10 familiar but problematic words and phrases that people want banished in 2022. 

Wait, what? 
No worries. 
At the end of the day…
That being said…
Asking for a friend…
Circle back
Deep dive 
New normal 
You’re on mute. 
Supply chain 

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