New Year’s Dishonor List Day – January 1, 2023

What may seem like a joke to most is actually celebrated as New Year’s Dishonor List Day, at Lake Superior State University (L.S.S.U.), Michigan, on every January 1, New Year’s Day. What happens on this day is that a P.R. team in L.S.S.U. collect nominations of different words and phrases from all around the U.S., and then select the most overused ones, which are featured on the dishonored list and published on the school’s website for removal from the English Language. Words and phrases that, because of overuse, have become catchphrases are voted for removal by a panel from the University.

History of New Year’s Dishonor List Day

New Year’s Dishonor List Day was first celebrated by Lake Superior State University in 1976. The university’s Public Relations, Director W.T. Rabe, began the practice of celebrating this day by honoring the English Language through the removal and dishonoring of words that were considered useless and redundant in the language. At that new year’s party, a list of words and phrases was created and published for banishment.

Despite the slow media coverage on New Year’s Day, that list gained much attention, and so became an annual event, observed as New Year’s Dishonor List Day. In 2020, as people grew tired and sick of the words and phrases related to COVID-19, more than 1,500 nominations for words and phrases were received by the university, and the No.1 ranked suggested word for banishment was ‘COVID-19.’

While maintaining and emphasizing the need to keep the English Language well-adjusted and polished, and to preserve its overall excellence, the university strongly discourages the use of overused, ‘exhausted,’ and redundant words and phrases. And it is for this reason we observe the New Year’s Dishonor List Day on January 1.

New Year’s Dishonor List Day timeline

1976
The First Dishonor List

The first Dishonor List is compiled by the Lake Superior State University, comprising selected words and phrases to be banished from the language.

1977
Inaugural New Year’s Dishonor List Day

Seeing the success of the first Dishonor List, the university decides to make it an annual event.

1987
Massive Media Coverage

As the P.R. Director W.T. Rabe retires, New Year’s Dishonor List Day already enjoys massive coverage as C.N.N. begins reporting it.

2021
Nominations from Around the World

2021 nominations are received from foreign countries such as Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, and England.

New Year’s Dishonor List Day FAQs

Does New Year’s Dishonor List Day include people?

No, it does not. The list contains words and phrases that are disliked or need to be removed. It is not a list of people that are to be dishonored in any way.

Why is Dishonor List celebrated on New Year’s Day?

As people make new year resolutions on this day, the practice has been to discourage people from using the words and phrases that make the Dishonor List from the very start of the year.  

Can we make our own Dishonor List of words and phrases?

Yes, we can make our own such list. The key is to include as many slangs and inappropriate words and phrases as possible and replace them with proper, formal words and phrases. And the most important thing is: Do not forget to share it with your friends and Lake Superior State University.

How to celebrate New Year’s Dishonor List Day

  1. Look for a word

    There are so many words that you might hate or wouldn’t want to use. Note them down.

  2. Nominate it and share it

    Compile your selected list of words or phrases and send it to L.S.S.U., Michigan.

  3. Invite others to do it as well

    Once you have made your list, invite and encourage others to do the same. Share your list on social media to gain attraction.

5 Facts About New Year’s Dishonor List

  1. ‘COVID-19’ has been banished

    Among the nominated words for 2021 was ‘COVID-19,’ even appearing as No.1.

  2. Thousands of nominations each year

    Each year more than 1,500 nominations of words and phrases are received by the university to be banished.

  3. ‘Karen’ and ‘Sus’ bite the dust

    Words like ‘Karen’ and ‘Sus’ also made it to the final dishonor list of 2021.

  4. More than 800 words banished

    Since the first New Year’s Dishonor List Day, more than 800 words and phrases have been dishonored and banished.

  5. An ever-growing list

    It is an ever-growing, situation-adaptable list of words and phrases suggested for banishment in order to preserve the excellence of the English Language.

Why We Love New Year’s Dishonor List Day

  1. It seeks to preserve the excellence of the language

    There are over one million words in the English Language, and the dictionary adds more every year. There is a need to couch the vocabulary with exotic words that bring beauty to the language and not pollute it with slang and overused, exhausted words and phrases.

  2. Too many slang words and phrases

    The culture of coining new words that are slang, and making them trend on social media after they have become hackneyed needs to be pushed back and confined to social media. A normal day-to-day conversation should feel and sound polite and decent, not like a rap battle.

  3. The search to banish words builds vocabulary

    Those who embark on a mission to get a few words and phrases banished from the language may learn new words in the process, hence building your vocabulary. This will be a win-win for all, a true “addition by subtraction.”

New Year’s Dishonor List Day dates

YearDateDay
2022January 1Saturday
2023January 1Sunday
2024January 1Monday
2025January 1Wednesday
2026January 1Thursday
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