January 1: Dishonor Day List of Banished Words for This Year

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On this day every year Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan publishes a list of overused words that, in their opinion, should be stricken from the English Language. This tradition was begun in 1977 and as far as I know, they have never missed a year.

Lake Superior State University releases their List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English every year on December 31st, ready for Dishonor Day so we can see all of the misused, over-used, and useless words that we should be trying to ditch in the next year.

Words on the list are those the media and general population have used to exhaustion within the last year. A new year is a time to move on, and put the past and its over-used words behind us.

As an example, here are the words banished in 2022:

  • Wait, what?
  • No worries
  • At the end of the day
  • That being said
  • Asking for a friend
  • Circle back
  • Deep dive
  • New normal
  • You’re on mute
  • Supply chain

To know why they chose these words, click the link. (To see the word lists all the way from 1977, go here. It’s fascinating.)

Want to help them with the 2023 list of banished words? Click the button and fill out the form.

History of Dishonor Day

Dishonor Day was started by the university’s 1977 Public Relations Director W.T. (Bill) Rabe at a holiday party with his friends. You can just picture it can’t you! Everyone huddled over a napkin while he writes the words they choose. It must have been a blast.

Being in public relations, Rabe knew January 1st was a slow news day so he chose that date to get as much publicity as possible for the university. And it worked. They were so overwhelmed by the response they decided to make it an annual event.

Today even CNN and major new publications talk about Dishonor Day’s banished words list.

Other things Rabe was famous for:

  • Unicorn Hunting License thru the university (yes, you can still get one)
  • LLSU Snowman Burning on March 19th
  • 1964 SOB campaign to Stamp Out the Beatles – on their US tour Paul McCartney said, “We’re here to stamp out Detroit.” 
  • Member of the Baker Street Irregulars with quite a collection of Sherlock Holmes memorabilia
  • Member of the Laurel and Hardy fan club, “The Sons of the Desert.”
  • 1969 founded the annual World Champion Stone Skipping Contest on the 4th of July on Mackinac Island, now covered by ESPN
W T Bill Rabe, inventor of dishonor day banished word list
W. T. (Bill) Rabe, Lake Superior State University
for further reading

Read the heart-warming article written by Bill Castanier at Lansing City Pulse who knew Rabe personally.

How to celebrate Dishonor Day.

university friends laughing when someone says a dishonor day banished word

Check this year’s word list.

Today is the last day to use those words so make a game of it. Try to use the words and phrases as many times as possible today with your family & friends. What reward system can you use? A Skittle or Smartie? How about a fun-size chocolate bar or Hershey kiss?

Tomorrow, you can’t say the word. Now that you’ve got your brain trained to say the words, try and stop! Think of a reward system where the first person who catches someone saying the banished words gets a reward from that person. Skittles are not enough!

Better get the thesaurus out to find replacement words or it could cost you.

thesaurus and dictionaries in library for dishonor day

Want more? See all of January 1 daily holidays.

Tell us what you think about Dishonor Day & banished word lists.

Do you think it’s a fun exercise with friends, and oh-so-cool to the see different words & phrases that define each year?

Or do you think banishing words is against everything a democracy stands for – even if it’s in jest?


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January 1: Dishonor Day List of Banished Words for This YearJanuary 1: Dishonor Day List of Banished Words for This YearJanuary 1: Dishonor Day List of Banished Words for This Year

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