Wulfshead Banned Phrases List

Realization doesn't destroy the individual any more than the reflection of the moon breaks a drop of water. A drop of water can reflect the whole sky.


The very act of observing disturbs the system.

---Walter Heisenberg

God hated reality but realized it was still the only place to get a good steak.

---Woody Allen

'Whatever' tops list of annoying slang
CBC News

The popular term "whatever" topped a list of five most annoying phrases, easily beating "you know," according to a poll by New York.-based Marist College.

The survey found that 47 per cent of Americans were highly annoyed by the slacker term, followed by 25 per cent who were most peeved at "you know."

Other annoying contenders were "it is what it is," with 11 per cent and "anyway," with seven per cent.

If you're not familiar with the phrase "it is what it is," (except from American TV) then there's a good chance you're Canadian.

That's because the two nations do have different slang, even in an era of Tweeting, texting and Facebooking, according to David Stover, president of the Oxford University Press Canada.

Thanks to the internet and the rise of social media, the English language is in a time of terrific change, with texting terms making it into daily conversation, at least among the younger crowd, he said.

The term "emo", is an example, said Stover. Emo is short for emotional in the texting world, but more and more it's making its way into spoken conversation.

But who knows how long it will last. Like the old saying, the bigger they are the harder they fall, the faster a slang term rises the quicker it seems to die, said Stover.

"What lexicographers have found in regard to slang — because of Twitter and Facebook — is that slang tends to bubble up even more quickly, but they last like mayflies. They disappear even faster," said Stover.

So far, annoying terms like "whatever," "like," and even "bootylicious," seem to be here for the long term, said Stover.

"Bootylicious has been around for a while, since 1992. And it's not going away any time soon," he said.

"Human beings are very creative. We tend not to just speak a language, but also play with a language," said Stover.

And besides leaders in popular culture, who are the great producers of new slang?

"Teenaged girls are among the most creative users," said Stover.

Asked why that is, Stover, the father of a teen daughter, joked that a psychologist might better answer the question, but added in all seriousness that it's because teen girls do a lot of talking with each other.

Stover says slang can be annoying but as a language lover, he wouldn't have it any other way.

"Annoyance is in the ear of the beholder," he said. "Repetition can make a phrase annoying but it also makes for a liveliness in everyday life. And you always have the option — if it's annoying just ignore it."

The Marist College poll surveyed 938 U.S. adults.

The five choices of phrases were chosen by people at the poll discussing what popular words and phrases might be considered especially annoying, said college spokeswoman Mary Azzoli.

with files from The Associated Press


  1. "Twitter" is a marvelous word. Or at least it was until it was seized. And to reduce a message to a "tweet" debases all language. And communication.

    I recall Arthur Schlesinger bemoaning the use of "gay" by the homosexual community as "an act of piracy."

    It did change the sense of the word, stripping it of its historic beauty. But then on the other hand, gays have certain needs and rights. One word lost for a large need can be tolerated. But "tweet?" Have I exceeded my tweeting length with this? Are we reduced to electronic grunts and groans?

    I remember being in Spain some time ago and a couple of waiters, in an excellent Madrid restaurant, were quietly sneering at an American's use of the word "awsome." "Awsome, awsome," one contemptuously repeated with his thick Spanish accent.

    I could see where they were coming from. Use of the word "awsome" expresses a lack of a sense of reality's gravity, something Disneylike. It turns its object into a frivolity.

    Europeans have gargoyles. We have Disney. Though they sure like Hollywood and US TV over there in Europe. Much of their popular programming makes ours look like it came from the Smithsonian. I wonder if our daytime programming appears as stupid to them.

  2. I'm off to New York City, for a weeklong blast. Visiting old haunts. The places I knew as a kid.

    Now, gee, has anything changed?

    Hahahahaha. What a dumb question. I won't recognize the place. New York has passed through many historic changes, enjoying great booms in architecture, much of which, thank god, has been preserved. Though much hasn't, including the house I grew up in. The former Whitney townhouse on 8th Street. It has been eviscerated and decimated by greedy landlords putting profit first. When the 3rd Avenue El was torn down in the early sixties it revealed a majestic row of historic townhouses and stores to the sun for the first time in nearly a century. What character, what spirit the street could now reveal. Something no one could ever fake or replicate. A powerful mood combining age and a deep accumulated historic character. All torn down, for corporate skyscrapers. Glass boxes. Cheese boxes have more character. That's what the new buildings were often compared to.

    New York has gone through many changes, though. Including the period a century ago when Broadway and 14th Street flowered. Literature, jazz, art. When Manhattan may have vied for the center of the universe. So much went on then, and it may have only been during the mid century period of the past century that the doldrums took over, temporarily. Hopefully, I'll see.

    That's the way it goes.

  3. Will Spanish Harlem still be Spanish?

  4. The phrase "you know what I'm saying" repeated ad nauseum during a 5 minute conversation drives me up the wall. You know what I'm saying?

  5. A baroque variation on "you know," I would say, MadMike. Fortunately young people have graduated off "like" 2 or 3 times in every sentence. My daughter would say, "My boyfriend did something like so cool for me today." Then I'd ask, "So it wasn't actually cool, but it was like cool?" I eventually drove her so like nuts doing that, it finally broke her of the habit I think.

  6. The very act of observing disturbs the system.
    ---Walter Heisenberg

    Especially at a nude beach, I speak from experience.

  7. The equivalent of 'ya know' and 'you know what I'm saying' down here in New Orleans is 'ya hear me' or 'Ya feel me' neither works for me. We have a long history of colorfully mangling the language and deliberate improper use of words down here that is dying out quickly to be replaced by unintelligible, unimaginative thug-speak. I used to love the way Professor Longhair and other extremely intelligent but poorly educated men of his generation (both black and white) would substitute similar sounding words in their patter - C minus for C minor, Sympathy Orchestra for Symphony Orchestra and such - it will soon disappear will I

  8. I didn't get up to Spanish Harlem. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if parts have been gentrified by now. New York appears to have improved, greatly, since the last time I saw it. It is a wonderful city.

    Parts of the Village I never dared step into (due to the notorious Perry Street Gang, among others - like the spawn of the Mafia in their blue suits) as a kid are now so gentrified tourists calmly walk around with their cameras eagerly shooting whatever they see.

    The tourists appeared ravenous. Far more interested in getting impressive snapshots than in actually seeing anything. This can be annoying when attempting to study a large, beautiful sculpture in the park: Jose de Creeft’s Alice in Wonderland, up around 70th Street in Central Park. The tourists who arrived instantly recognized this bronze ensemble as a perfect backdrop. They simply ran up, climbed onto one of the mushrooms and posed either by Alice or the Mad Hatter. Though this is a very beautiful and rewarding monument for lovers of art. Pepe de Creeft used to come over to the house all the time when I was a kid. I kind of wish the tourists would at least look at it first, before posing for the photograph, tempting as that is.

    Who would ever have thought Spring Street would ever see such a tourist scene? These streets were once very mean. You simply didn't go down there unless you absolutely had to. Now French, German, Russian, Hebrew, Argentinean, you name it, can all be heard there. All well dressed. (The dollar is way down.)

  9. I had to laugh as I walked along, in search of a good Jewish bakery to get some corn rye bread to bring home for Ellen. Areas of downtown which were once either dead or too dangerous to walk in have all come to prosperous life, though some may regret the loss of the small industry which thrived there. In fact, a certain industrial patina is still present there, as well as traces of the slum. The buildings are filthy. The shiny, reassuring stamp of wealth is still lacking even if the numerous boutiques are quite fashionable. And expensive.

    There about two million Latinos (including Puerto Ricans) in New York today. They do nothing small there, in New York. In fact, they may even outdo the Vatican in scale, though the interior of Saint Pat's seems quite small compared to Saint Peter's. Though very beautiful, in a New York kind of way. Yes, I went there too, and was surprised by how magnificent the interior was. But down in the lower east side I found my Jewish delicatessen and all the counter men (about eight or ten) were young Latinos. Most of the customers were goy from distant parts. There may have been a Jew or two there. The place (Katz's) thrives on its reputation, though the food is still quite good. Numerous cameras flashed there too. And, alas, the Jewish humor seemed slightly forced. The place appears compelled to live up to its own reputation.

    There are many beautiful, nineteenth century buildings in Harlem. There was a close attention to beautiful detail in stone once which appears to be lost today. But poverty lays its squalor over everything like a sullen patina and you can breath it in the air. When gentrification comes along all that gradually disappears. Sometimes incongruously. But nothing stays the same. That’s a law of life, right?

    There are parts of Manhattan Island where you could easily forget poverty exists in any part of the world. You could go out onto the street and be reassured by the wealth and luxury you see there, by the well off and often complacent people. These are people who do not appear to care too much about the great poverty so near their homes, in neighborhoods they would never enter. And have no interest in entering. Poverty is depressing and dangerous, after all. You could get mugged.

    So how are the Puerto Ricans doing in Spanish Harlem? The closest I got was the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Fifth Avenue, which is 82nd Street. Things are pretty ritzy around there. I can’t really report on poverty in New York for I saw very little. But it’s there. You can surely believe that.

    As for that restaurant we went to, Jazzo, I doubt I could ever even find it. If it’s still there. Maybe young fashionable people search for tapas there now at night: quite chic. Invest now: one can never tell. Though I think some of us have other preoccupation's.