These Are the Words We Never Want to Hear Again After 2013


It’s that time of year again: the good people at the Oxford Dictionary Online have put on their thinking caps and selected a word that captures the zeitgeist of the past 365 days. This year’s choice is “selfie,” narrowly beating out competitors like “binge-watch” and “bitcoin” to define 2013. The ODO notes that “selfie” increased in popularity by 17,000 percent over the past year, which isn’t surprising to anyone who’s seen an Instagram caption over the last 12 months. Now that it’s been duly recognized, “selfie” can hopefully inch its way towards retirement. And while we’re at it, we thought of a few other words pop culture could stand to back away from.


People have been taking self-indulgent photos/commissioning self-indulgent portraits of themselves from time immemorial. The front-facing smartphone camera and social media only streamlined the process. And now that the term’s had its time in the sun, we can stop pretending it’s a phenomenon unique enough to get its own OED-sanctified descriptor.


People can keep doing it; we just need to stop talking about it. Applies extra emphatically when used in the same sentence as Iggy Azalea, Lily Allen, and She of the PVC Underpants Who Must Not Be Named.


One trend piece too many turned a neutral term for an age group into a synonym for a miniscule group of white, wealthy, college-educated young’uns who spend too much time tweetbotting on their superphones and doing whatever “hooking up” is. Generation Y isn’t the most creative name in the world, but at least Joel Stein didn’t ruin it for everyone.


They were emoticons before they became iPhone-specific pictures of dancing girls and cat faces, and they will remain emoticons after. We’re beyond the simple “:)” — but we’re definitely not above it.


There doesn’t need to be a new name for talking shit just because it happens on the Internet.


It’s not Kim or Kanye’s fault that they’re the victims of the latest in a long line of couple portmanteaux. But the practice of melding two separate, fully realized human beings into one nonsensical jumble of sounds has needed to stop since Brangelina. Besides, the Kardashian-West union is a partnership, not a merger.


Great concept, terrible name. While we’re happy sites like Jezebel, The Hairpin, and The Frisky exist to post brilliant takedowns of crappy sex ed and white feminism, “ladyblog” sounds like a 75-year-old’s polite euphemism for a porn site. “Blog” should do just fine; “women’s site” if you wanna get specific.


Repeat after me: It. Is. Just. As. Racist. To. Use. This. Word. To. Describe. Anything. One. Thinks. Of. As. Tacky. As. It. Was. To. Call. The. Same. Stuff. “Ghetto.” Especially — especially! — if it’s supposedly ironic.


See above, except swap out “tacky” for “cute.” Plus, chances are if you’re not actually from Harajuku you’re using it wrong. Consign it to the same burn-it-and-throw-away-the-lighter pile as those photo booth pictures with the Photoshopped eyes and Hello Kitty decals you got at the mall.


A series of numbered items is a list, no matter how many words of explanation/justification it includes. (Disclaimer: earned a place on this list as more of a “note to self” than anything else.)