It's not even spring and there are already a number of words I'm over. No, not 'taper' (though that's one too), but just a few other words I've seen pop up here, there and everywhere.
With that, my completely unscientific list of the 5 already most overused words of 2014.
Curate. Curating used to be a word we only used in museums. Somewhere in the last year 'curate' has morphed into a word people are using anytime they pick something and want to sound like it's more than just picking something. "Our musicologist will now curate you a playlist that's perfect for your evening playing Yahtzee." "The travel itinerary was carefully curated to help you avoid other Americans." It's great we're respecting the lost art of the mix tape, thank you. But unless you put that Picasso on the wall, you didn't curate.
Viral. "Dude, that video of me jumping my bike off the roof and rupturing my spleen has gone totally viral!" You mean the video you filmed, uploaded and sent around the internet? Whatever happened to something simply being called popular? Maybe popularity is for old people and being 'viral' sounds younger. Who knows, but having just read David Quammen's excellent book Spillover, I prefer to save "viral" for nasty things related to the civet cat.
Hack. The next time I've got a terrible seat on an airplane, I'm going to sneak up to first class and when confronted proclaim, "ha, I totally hacked your seating plan." I recently read an article about how to "hack" your favorite recipe. Huh? This smart, short word is now being thrown around anytime someone wants to sound cool when talking about changing something. Changing something is easy. Digging into complex lines of computer code is hard. Let's save hack for the hackers.
Conversation. This word has gone totally viral .. err, become popular … in social media, especially with marketers. "Our new brand of snack mix is now on Twitter, join the conversation." Don't get me wrong, Twitter and other forms of social media are great. But there's little that's truly conversational about them. They're more like press conferences, with a bunch of people lobbing one-liners in somebody's direction, with another one-liner occasionally lobbed back. With the exception of the Sullivan family Thanksgiving, most of my conversations aren't like that. Thankfully.
Snow. See also: cold. Enough said.