Banned Words of 2015: #Bae & #Swag Top The List

Banned Words of 2015: #Bae & #Swag Top The List

What words would you ban from use if you could? While I generally don’t approve of bans on free speech, I will admit there are a few words that get on my nerves a bit and I wouldn’t mind hearing less of… “Volumizing,” comes to mind, for example…

Well, it turns out the people at Michigan’s Lake Superior State University publish an annual list of words that ought to be banned, and this year two of the words they’ve chosen are #bae and #swag.


I know no one above the age of 25 who uses the word “bae” and have only even heard it used once – and that was on television. Apparently it’s a shortened form of “babe”, which doesn’t actually seem long in the first place, but that’s just one woman’s opinion. So for me, the loss of #bae would cause no harm and might not really be felt as a loss at all.

But #swag? I use that word quite often, and feel that it would be hard to lose it from my vocabulary, much less have to face a outright ban. In case it needs an explanation, #swag is what you call freebies you might receive in a goodie bag at a party or event. Or it can also refer to clothing and/or items emblazoned with a company’s name and logo – and then given out to fans or customers. Swag is not going away anytime soon, so I think the word should get a pass.

The list itself is 40 years old this year, and is officially known as the List of Words to be Banished from the Queen’s English for Misuse, Overuse and Uselessness, which is quite a mouthful.

I don’t begrudge them the desire to “fix” the inappropriate use of words, since I myself cringe when I hear malapropisms emanating from people’s mouths. But I stop short of banishment.

Other words that made the list this year include “curated,” ”skill set,” ”takeaway” and “polar vortex.”

Of course, just to be clear, just wanting to ban these words does not actually mean they will be removed from the lexicon, or even the dictionary. So don’t worry about the swag, bae. It’s all good.

Sarah Auerswald is the co-Founder of MomsLA.

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