‘9-11’ Tops Banished Term List

By: Bree Fowler, Associated Press Writer

(AP) The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks should be referred to as just that and not “9-11” or “nine-eleven,” according to the annual list of banished words compiled by Lake Superior State University.

The authors of the “List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-Use, Over-Use, and General Uselessness” at the Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., school say they received numerous nominations for the abbreviations to be included in the 27th annual list.

Most people nominating “9-11” and “nine-eleven” said they were not trying to make light of the attacks, but asked if finding a “cute” abbreviation for the day makes them any easier to accept.

But others objected strongly.

“I can’t believe people are abbreviating the worst act of war this country has seen since Pearl Harbor,” wrote a nominator from Colorado Springs, Colo. “I’ve never heard anybody refer to the attack on Pearl Harbor as Twelve-Seven or 12-7.”

Lake Superior, the smallest public university in Michigan with just over 3,000 students, releases the list each Jan. 1 from submissions gathered around the world from academia, advertising, business, journalism, the military, politics, and sports.

The list was born out of a New Year’s Eve party in 1976 and sent out as a publicity ploy for the Upper Peninsula school. Then-public relations director W.T. (Bill) Rabe started the list, in part because he thought the school needed more name recognition.

Among the other words included on this year’s list: “friendly fire,” once popular during the Gulf War and revived by the recent military action in Afghanistan. Several other terrorism-related terms made the list, including “surgical strike” and “bring the evildoers to justice.”

“Practically every news reporter and our president has uttered these words,” wrote a nominator from Queens in New York City. “Now, hearing this phrase is almost comical, even under these most serious circumstances that profoundly affect my hometown.”

Among the other words and phrases on this year’s list: “in the wake of,” “synergy,” and “faith-based.”

“Reality TV” and “Reality-based TV” also made the list.

“Banish the words, banish the shows, banish the people who came up with the idea for the shows, because there is nothing real about this form of television,” wrote Mary Li of Toronto.

Banished words site: http://www.lssu.edu/banished.

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