Rolling awful phrases thread

As prescient as George Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language” continues to be, he could not have foreseen how the language of commerce, sports, and talk radio would sully discourse.

I hear or read the following phrases and words more times a week than I can note. In most cases, the Latinates transform unwieldy nouns into verbs when an appropriate word already exists (e.g. “incentivize” for “encourage”), which, I suppose, is the point. Most of these lexical atrocities exist to confuse audiences; they cloak sentences in a fog of neutrality. Others merely coarsen. One construction I see often: “Not only did I buy a taco, but a burrito as well” instead of “I bought a taco and a burrito.”

The following is an incomplete list:

INTENSIFIERS

very
truly
super
absolutely
definitely

MISCELLANEOUS

hate on
going forward
Not only…but
as well
life experience
I find myself…
gift (Verb)
dialogue (verb)
impact (verb)
incentivize
network (verb)
transition (verb)
literally
quality time
life-changing
one of a kind
journey
deconstruct
The opportunity to
emigrate for immigrate and vice versa
Having said that/That being said
proactive
cutting edge/unique
internalize
roller coaster ride
doable
all things being equal
at the end of the day

UPDATES JANUARY 2020

beef up
crushing it
first and foremost
thought leaders
creatives
game changer
guess-estimate
reinvent the wheel
organic growth
raise the bar
touch base
innovate

OCTOBER 2018 UPDATE

in terms of/with respect to instead about
prior to instead of before
confusing previous and prior
concerning as a gerund, not a participle, as in, “Trump’s temper is concerning” – a bureaucrat’s way of avoiding “worrying.”
It is what it is
evolved
inflection point
begs the question
rest in power
bold
weaponize
operationalize
speak to
I was tired, so I went to bed/I ate because I was hungry/My feet hurt, so I sat down
The question is,
It was like any other day
pearl clutching
adult beverage

POLITICAL/SPORTS JARGON

balls in the air
fast track (verb)
green light (verb)
double down
walk back
home run

7 thoughts on “Rolling awful phrases thread

  1. Incentivize and encourage mean different things. It would be more accurate (though still wrong) to say that incentivize and reward are synonyms.

  2. The phrase “brand new” particularly irks me. The modifier, “brand,” adds nothing to the adjective, “new.” And don’t even get me started on “brand spanking new.”

    I’m familiar with the phrase’s likely etymology–that it refers to being “hot off the firebrand,” from a blacksmith or similar forger. The likelihood of encountering a thing so new that the description is apt, however, is infinitesimal.

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