Catchphrases of 2011!

Catchphrases of 2011! It’s that time of year when we review our use and misuse of the English language. How many of these did you use? Here’s what’s trending, or even gone viral .

Occupy tops the list of most abused joke phrases, ranging from the inane, “I’m going to occupy the couch” to the clever “Occupy language” in this NYT article http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/21/what-if-we-occupied-language/

Awesome is the new cool. I think it is an awesome word.

Crowdsourcing is all the rage these days and appears to be a combination of crowd and outsourcing. Google plussers in particular think it is awesome.

Gravitas instantly confers gravitas on the user, particularly if crowdsourced.

• # Add a hashtag to make your trite comment seem witty! Note that it can be combined with Occupy for greater effect as in, “I’m hungry #goingtooccupythefridge.”

Fail has graduated from the passe Epic Fail to #Fail

OCDing can make your trivial occupation more awesome, as in “I’m OCDing over my Google+ circles”. Adding ADD to your self-diagnosed persona gives instant gravitas. #OccupyMedicine!

Meh is when you’re just too cool for awesome. You probably made a Meh List for the holidays: http://6thfloor.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/14/the-meh-list/

Adapted (er, stolen) liberally from Slate: http://www.slate.com/articles/life/the_spectator/2011/12/occupy_jokes_bad_sex_jargon_and_the_worst_catchphrases_of_2011_.single.html

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19 Responses to Catchphrases of 2011!

  1. Paul Melrose says:


    Once taught a class on Meh to higher-level language students.

  2. Alice Haugen says:


    A language joke: Eminent professor declares authoritatively, “While it is a general feature of most languages that a double negative yields a positive, it is striking that we have no examples of a double positive yielding a negative.”


    From the back of the room, “Yeah, yeah…”

  3. Rajini Rao says:


    Alice Haugen , That’s a good one, I’ve also heard it as “Yeah, right!” 🙂


  4. When I was young people had “problems”, now people have “issues”.


    Example: a tiger is chewing my legs off and I’m having issues with this behavior. 🙂


  5. I cannot help it; the term “crowdsourcing” reminds me of the natural path of “sheeple”


    sorry about that.

  6. Kapil Ranade says:


    Occupational hazards all.


  7. Very funny. My neighbour would use Awesome every third word and quickly became nicknamed Awesome Rob by all our family.

  8. Rajini Rao says:


    Kevin Bourrillion , I am cognizant of the aforesaid existence of the facile in the elementary lexicon, nonetheless my penchant for the obscure and recondite is axiomatic in my literary penmanship. 🙂

  9. Alice Haugen says:


    It also gravels me to see “prior to” for “before” or “in order to” instead of “to.”


  10. Why does “out of the box thinking” not figure in the list?

  11. Rajini Rao says:


    Raja Swaminathan , because it #failedtooccupythebox?

  12. Tom Lee says:


    Aren’t we tired of these words being overused? Just listening to Mark Zuck for a while. Anything he said about FB was “awesome”, including mentioning of his FB privacy policy. Now, the words mentioned here are so frequently used by a lot of adults, including professionals, wait until you overheard the teenagers talked to each other.!

  13. Rajini Rao says:


    Well, I don’t know if Zuckerberg is an adult 🙂 We’ll have to wait until next year to catch the next fresh crop of phrases while they are “trending” before they “go viral”! BTW, anything new about FB and privacy?

  14. Tom Lee says:


    At least he’s a wealthy “kid”, which is “awesome” for him. I guess his late 20’s qualifies him as adult. I haven’t paid much attention about FB since I don’t use the service. Last heard they’ve tried to improve the policy due to a lot of law suits in Europe..etc..


  15. Raja Swaminathan I think ‘out of the box thinking’ was out of the box many years ago. That is perhaps why it failed to occupy the list of awesome phrases found through crowd sourcing.


    BTW how do ‘trending’ and ‘viral’ stuff end?


  16. But now time to think in the box,out of the box has lead to many scams heheh

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