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Time’s up for ‘totes:’ New batch of banned words is out

December 31, 2019 GMT

DETROIT (AP) — Sorry, Latin teachers: Quid pro quo has got to go.

The centuries-old Latin phrase, which means an exchange of favors, leads a Michigan university’s 45th annual “List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness.”

Quid pro quo got new life during the impeachment of President Donald Trump. He repeatedly declared there was no “quid pro quo” with Ukraine over U.S. military aid to that country and an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden’s son.

“No quid pro quo was offered during the creation of this meticulously curated list of words,” said Rodney Hanley, president of Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie.

The school each year invites the public to nominate words and phrases that seem tired or annoying through everyday speech, news coverage and more. The latest list has more than a dozen, including “artisanal,” “influencer,” “living my best life” and “chirp.”

There’s “jelly,” short for jealous, and “totes,” a nod to totally. And in a baby boomer revolt, it’s apparently time to scratch “OK, boomer.”

“Boomers may remember, however, that generational tension is always present,” university wordsmiths said. “In fact, it was the boomers who gave us the declaration, ‘Don’t trust anyone over 30!’”

Finally, the list has “vibe/vibe check,” “mouthfeel,” “I mean,” “literally” and “curated.”

There now are more than 1,000 banned words or phrases in the Lake Superior archive. The late W.T. Rabe, who was public relations director, and faculty came up with the first list at a New Year’s Eve party in 1975.

“Since then, the list has consisted entirely of nominations received from around the world throughout the year,” the school said.

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