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Made-up ‘words’ should ‘totes’ be left back in 2012
Written by Trista Steers MacVittie   
Wednesday, 02 January 2013 14:46

People sometimes ask what goes on in a newsroom, and, frankly, working in this type of environment would bore most people.

Arguments center around proper usage of words the average individual wouldn’t question, or where to place a comma — it’s really exciting around here.

Most recently, a TIME article and poll about the worst words of 2012, and which words should be banished, became the center of a newsroom conversation.

Larson Newspapers Managing Editor Trista Steers MacVittieThe “words” cited in the article said much about what is lacking when it comes to intelligence in America. Our students are falling further and further behind children in other countries, and adult literacy is a concern.

Looking at the list of words, I’m not surprised.

I found only three on the list of 15 words I recognized.

I guess I’m not hip to the slang and don’t socialize in crowds where people find it necessary to create their own words.

I knew fiscal cliff, literally, artisanal and zombie apocalypse, all of which are actual words even if they are used in annoying phrases or the wrong context.

The “meaning” of some of the other words can be easily deciphered using a little common sense.

“Adorkable” means a cute dork. I assumed “amazeballs” was some “clever” way of making amazing longer while adding emphasis. “Meh” appears to be a way of expressing emotion, and “teehee” is an annoying way to laugh with words.

The remainder of the list stumped me because the words are either so off the wall or it makes absolutely no sense why anyone would use the word in place of the actual word he or she is attempting to communicate.

“Cray,” one letter shy of crazy, apparently means just that. “Gangnam style” refers to some song or dance I’m not familiar with. Saying someone is “jelly” means he or she is jealous. “Totes” doesn’t mean you have more than one hand-bag; in 2012 it meant totally.

Oh my, is all I could think.

Meh, maybe I’ll jelly that I don’t have any gangnam style to make people say amazeballs when I go totes cray, teehee.

Or maybe I’m simply annoyed by made-up words because I’m a writer who values language, being well-spoken and good communication skills.


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