By Ian Johnston, writing in The Independent, Friday, 2 January 2009
"Icon" or "iconic" – and its use in relation to the most mundane of subjects –was one of the most nominated terms. Also on the list are: "desperate", thanks to the tendency of journalists to describe any search as just that in order to imply greater drama; "not so much" when a simple "no" would do; and "it's that time of year again".
John Flood, from Wicklow in Ireland, was among the many hoping for fewer "icons" – a visual symbol or representation which inspires worship or veneration. "Everyone and everything cannot be 'iconic'. Can't we switch to 'legendary' or 'famous for'?"
Jodi Gill, of Wisconsin, said: "It's overused to the point where everything from a fast-food restaurant chain to celebrities is 'iconic'."
The US presidential election campaign contributed "maverick", which the Republican candidate, John McCain, used to distance himself from the establishment, and "First Dude", the title given to the husband of his running mate, Sarah Palin. Lake Superior university said the list was not meant to be a form of censorship, but a light-hearted way of making people think.
The American author Maureen Freely, who is now an academic at Warwick University, said she had compiled a personal list. This year, she would try to stop saying "tick the box", "too much information", "iconic" and "possibly 'terrific'... although that would be very painful".