Philip B. Corbet, a deputy editor and keeper of the The New York Times Style Manual, has collected a set of overused words. Very illuminating and a good guide for all communicators. Here’s an excerpt:
“Icon/Iconic: Times editors have waged a long battle of attrition against the trite overuse of these terms. We’re losing.
Hardscrabble: This description is overdone, along with its cousin “gritty.”
Schadenfreude: I lamented its explosion of popularity in a previous post. Foreign terms wear out quickly because they draw extra attention to each use.
Arguably: A sneaky way to say something without having to take full responsibility for it.
Famously: If it’s so famous, do we have to say so?
Jump-start: Colloquial. Often “start,” “restart” or “revive” would serve.
[Blank]gate: Troopergate was the latest. Yes, it’s overdone.
Preternaturally: It is surprising how often this appears.
Toxic: As in “toxic assets.” This has indeed become ubiquitous, but I’m not sure that’s our fault; it really has become the standard term to describe the troubled investments at the heart of the fiscal crisis.
Go Missing: Many readers have expressed strong aversion to this expression, but I’m not really sure why. It seems to be a Britishism originally, but has become common. Yes, “disappear” can also serve, but “go missing” seems unobjectionable to me.”
You can read more from Philip B. Corbett here at After Deadlline.
My friend and colleague, LeeAundra Keany, of Keany Communications (nee Temescu, the Contrary Public Speaker) is an award-winning executive communications coach. Her excellence lies not just in her experience training her clients in public speaking, but in her strategy helping them understand their goals, their next choices, and how to achieve them through positioning and presentation in public.