Skip to Content

‘GOAT,’ ‘inflection point’ and ‘quiet quitting’ should be banished, annual list says

<i>Adobe Stock</i><br/>In this context
Gudellaphoto -
Adobe Stock
In this context

By Amy Woodyatt, CNN

For the love of all things sacred, please stop saying “GOAT” — unless you are shouting about a herd of mid-size animals.

At least, that’s how a team of judges from Michigan’s Lake Superior State University feel about the term — an acronym for the “Greatest of All Time” — as it tops this year’s Banished Words List.

The university has released its annual list, amassed from submissions from around the world, which highlights phrases or words that its judges deem misused, overused — or simply useless.

“GOAT,” along with “inflection point,” “quiet quitting” and “gaslighting” makes an appearance on the list, which has been released annually since 1976.

The list serves “to uphold, protect, and support excellence in language by encouraging avoidance of words and terms that are overworked, redundant, oxymoronic, clichéd, illogical, nonsensical — and otherwise ineffective, baffling, or irritating,” according to the university, which said it had received more than 1,500 nominations.

“The singularity of ‘greatest of all time’ cannot happen, no way, no how,” Peter Szatmary, executive director of marketing and communications at Lake State, said in a press release. “And instead of being selectively administered, it’s readily conferred. Remember Groucho Marx’s line about not wanting to join a club that would accept him as member?

“The nine additional words and terms banished for 2023 — from new no-nos ‘inflection point’ at No. 2 and ‘gaslighting’ at No. 4 to repeat offenders ‘amazing’ at No. 6 and ‘It is what it is’ at No. 10 — also fall somewhere on the spectrum between specious and tired. They’re empty as balderdash or diluted through oversaturation. Be careful — be more careful — with buzzwords and jargon,” he added.

Here are the 10 that made this year’s list.


Nominators and judges alike took issue with the phrase, with one disgruntled contributor lamenting that the terminology is “applied to everyone and everything from athletes to chicken wings.”

Inflection point

This, judges say, is both overused and misused, as a “mathematical term that entered everyday parlance and lost its original meaning.”

Quiet quitting

Quiet quitting — which some say means doing the bare minimum at work — was bandied around a lot last year. The term, judges mused, is “trendy but inaccurate.”

In fact, nominators said the real meaning behind it is simply “normal job performance,” and “nothing more than companies complaining about workers refusing to be exploited.”


Merriam-Webster’s 2022 word of the year, which the online dictionary defines as “the act or practice of grossly misleading someone especially for one’s own advantage,” became the “favored word for the perception of deception.”

But, nominators and judges in Michigan argue the word is both overused and misused, and “disconnects” the term from the sinister physiological manipulation it is associated with.

Moving forward

Included for misuse, overuse and uselessness.


Already banished for misuse, overuse and uselessness in 2012, the word has again appeared in the list. Some nominators argued that it should be reserved for the truly “awe-inspiring,” and others simply felt it was a “worn-out adjective from people short on vocabulary.”

Does that make sense?

Not just misused, overused and useless, judges went so far as to say that the phrase is “needy, scheming, and/or cynical.”

“Always make sense; don’t think aloud or play games,” judges firmly said.


Judges at Lake Superior say it’s not even a word — and “regardless” works just as well.


First making the list in 1996, the word is apparently frequently “said too loudly by annoying people who think they’re better than you,” said one observer, and “sounds like it comes with a guarantee when that may not be the case,” cautioned another.

It is what it is

Another repeat offender. First banished in 2008 for overuse, misuse and uselessness, the phrase’s reentry sparked angry responses from nominators.

“Of course it is what it is! What else would it be? It would be weird if it wasn’t what it wasn’t,” one user quipped.

Another said the phrase provides an “excuse not to deal with reality or accept responsibility.”

™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - World

Jump to comments ↓

CNN Newsource


KIFI Local News 8 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content