2009's banned words include a 'teachable moment'

DETROIT — Drawing nominations from English enthusiasts and those just plain tired of overused expressions, Lake Superior State University's Word Banishment Committee has issued its list of words and phrases it deems time to be "unfriended."

Among them: "teachable moment," "czar," "shovel-ready" and combinations of words such as "sexting," "bromance" and "chillaxin'."

"Someone will say something and then everybody picks up on it, and it snowballs," said Joellen Eschenburg, a retired government worker who said she went online earlier this year to nominate the phrase "come to the table."

The LSSU list began as a publicity stunt on New Year's Day 1976 and each year draws thousands of nominations from news, education, technology, advertising, politics, sports and everyday chit-chat.

Some words have been so "flat-out" (banned in 2000) annoying in "meaningful dialogue" (banned in 1976), they've appeared for several years on the list that is decided in late December "behind closed doors" (banned in 1994).

Last year's list included "maverick" and "staycation." And on this year's list: all versions of "tweets" —"tweetaholic," "retweet," "twitterhea," "twitterature" and "twittersphere."

For the full list of banned words, go to