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Swag Makes LSSU’s Banished Word List

January 6, 2015, Staff Industry News

This year, “swag” turned up among Lake Superior State University’s 40th annual List of Banished Words. Created by W.T. Rabe, former public relations director of the university, and first published January 1, 1976, the List of Banished Words from the Queen’s English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness is made up of nominations received over the past year.

Swag is one of 12 words on this year’s list. Criticisms of the word LSSU received include “The word ‘swag’ has become a shapeless, meaningless word used in various forms (such as ‘swaggy’) but with no real depth;” “Whether it’s a ‘free gift’ (banished in 1988) or droopy clothing, this word is neither useful nor fancy;” and “The word has become so overused that it is now ‘swag’ to not use the word ‘swag.’”

Other terms on the list include bae, polar vortex, hack, skill set, foodie, curate/curated, friend-raising, cra-cra, enhanced interrogation, takeaway and the sports suffix “–nation.“