5 Words & Phrases That Should Have Stayed in 2016

By Molly K. Lichtner, 4/18/17

The English language is a beautiful, continuously changing and growing living thing; it does not stay stagnant.  The English language is also full of nonsense words whose meanings hold no greater discourse in the grand scheme of things.  All they do is bring down the collective creativeness of society through their lack of depth.  Anyway, here are five words or phrases that should have stayed in garbage 2016 where they belong.

  • Millennial
    • This is a term that started out as a simple moniker for a generation but turned into something much more demeaning. Newspaper and magazine headlines ask patronizing questions like, “Why aren’t Millennials buying homes?” or “Why are Millennials so self-obsessed?”  These may seem like exaggerations, and I wish they were, but they’re not.  Once, I made the mistake of mentioning that baby boomers ruined the economy in front of my businessman uncle.  He scowled and told me that “Millennials are lazy.”  Homie, I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of a single millennial I’m friends with that doesn’t go to class while at least holding down one job.  Millennial is no longer a neutral designation for a generation; it’s an insult.
  • Meme
    • If I have to hear one more person over the age of 35 mispronounce this word as “mee-mee” or “mem,” I might lose it. A few years ago I interned for an environmental action non-profit, and the lead organizer wanted some of the interns to “create memes to gain popularity on Facebook.”  I don’t think he understood that memes can’t be created, but instead they just happen.  Memes are trends in internet culture.  We don’t need a word for that.
  • FOMO – Fear of Missing Out
    • This is a term that use to resonate with me when I still lived with my parents; the Fear of Missing Out was a dangerous and potentially social life killing emotion. It wasn’t until I realized that staying home and relaxing was just as enjoyable (if not even more enjoyable) than going out to an event.  The Fear of Missing Out only happens if you let it happen; make your own fun and FOMO won’t be an issue.
  • Cyber-anything
    • In the new technological age, cyberspace reigns supreme. Newscasters jumped onto this trend when the internet came out and started dubbing anything and everything that had to do with it “cyber-blank.”  I’m talking about cybershopping, cyberbullying, cybercafés, cyberpunks, whatever.  Drop the cyber and the word still means the same thing.  We know what you mean.  Save yourself the syllables and drop the cyber.
  • Alt-Right
    • Let’s just call them what they are: Nazis. Shakespeare eloquently penned in Romeo and Juliet, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” and I agree, but when talking about Nazis, a better turn of phrase would be “you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig” (although equating pigs to Nazis is an insult to swine everywhere).  Richard Spencer is a Nazi.  Milo Yiannopoulos is a Nazi.  Steve Bannon is a Nazi.  A Nazi is a Nazi is a Nazi.

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