I guess I’m on board with that. If you’ve ever watched The Today Show you will know that overuse of the word has given it exactly the opposite meaning it once had. When you hear “amazing” on The Today Show, it is always being applied to something that is really quite ordinary:
“That’s an amazing little mole on your right cheek, Toby.”
“Thank you, Matt.”
“Would you care for another cup of this amazing lukewarm tap water?”
“No, I’m good.”
In the spirit full disclosure (there’s another phrase that should probably be banned), I’m sure I’ve often misused the word in the same way. Who hasn’t gotten the home tour from a friend and felt compelled to describe everything in it as “amazing”? It just seems polite. But it would probably behoove us all (damn it, there’s another one) to be more accurate in our choice of words. If everything’s amazing, then nothing is.
Other words on the list: “baby bump,” “occupy,” “blowback,” and “man cave.” Also “ginormous,” which is supposed to sound endearingly childlike when describing something of slightly-above-average girth. Hey, I’m sick of all those words too, and call for a symbolic word-burning ceremony at noon tomorrow.
But that probably isn’t in the cards. As fun as the list is, you can’t really call it influential. In the 30-some years it’s been in existence, I don’t think any of the banned phrases has fallen from general usage. (Except maybe “shock and awe.”) Most are still happily polluting sentences everywhere: “At the end of the day, “meaningful dialogue,” “utilize.” Stuff like that. The language of school boards and Rotary club meetings.
And I will now close by resisting the impulse to use any of them in this sentence. That would be a cliche.