DETROIT — Before passing comment on someone's "baby bump," take a pregnant pause. Likewise, give up promoting "shared sacrifice." And if you're tempted to proclaim your desire to "win the future," you've lost it here in the present.
Michigan's Lake Superior State University is featuring those phrases in its annual List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness. The 2012 list, released Friday, was compiled by the university from nominations submitted from across the globe.
What else do the syntactical Scrooges want to cast out with the good cheer in the new year? The list also includes "occupy," "ginormous," "man cave" and "the new normal."
In all, a dozen words or phrases made the 37th end-of-the year list. The list started as a publicity ploy by the school's public relations department on New Year's Day 1976, and has since generated tens of thousands of nominations.
"Amazing" received more than 1,500 nominations, the most of any on this year's list. Disdain for the superlative was apparently universal among English speakers, garnering disparaging dispatches from across the United States and even the United Kingdom and Israel.
While it lacked a single pop-culture culprit, such as the proliferating protest movement that occupied the word "occupy" or the collective ooh-ing and aah-ing that accompanied Beyonce's "baby bump," nominations to banish "amazing" cite its overuse on reality television and by daytime talk show hosts.
"The word has been overused to describe things only slightly better than mundane," Alyce-Mae Alexander of Maitland, Fla., wrote in her nomination. "I blame Martha Stewart because to her, EVERYTHING is amazing!"
University spokesman John Shibley said he and his colleagues were surprised that "amazing" hadn't already graced the archive of about 900 banished words.
"The simple ones are always the ones that get through the cracks — until this year," he said.