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The Big Book

You can stop saying ‘iconic’ now

Bridget Bodnar Jun 15, 2017
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KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images

Sorry, but she’s not sorry. Humorist and writer Jenny Allen muses on the words and phrases she wishes we’d all stop using. This commentary is adapted from an essay in Allen’s new book, “Would Everybody Please Stop?: Reflections on Life and Other Bad Ideas.” 

Would everybody please stop using these words and phrases that are a novelty one minute and the next minute, in total overuse? 

De-plane

So many things bother me about the word de-plane, I have to say. First of all, that it’s a word. That it seems to have replaced “exit the plane” or “get off the plane.” 

The airline industry came up with this word because it sounds more important, and a more serious thing perhaps than just “getting off the plane.” And then it really bothered me that people, ordinary citizens like you and me, started using it. We don’t have to say that, but we have adopted the phrases that the pilot and the flight attendants use. 

Big Pharma

Why can’t people just say, “big pharmaceutical companies?” It’s just not that many more syllables — like it’s not that hard for your mouth to make the rest of the syllables, it seems.

Iconic

I love the word, I just hate how it’s used every five minutes about everything. That’s an iconic cup of coffee, that’s an iconic restaurant, that person is iconic. How about, that person is important? Or that person is memorable? 

Everybody leaps on these things and then they get tiresome. I know this makes me sound like such a language fussbudget, a career I never thought I would have, but I guess I am getting crankier as I get older. 

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