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THE WORST OF 2020: Let’s *YEET these words and phrases back to the last decade!

THE WORST OF 2020: Let’s *YEET these words and phrases back to the last decade!

By Julie Reardon

Now that 2020 has finally ended, let’s help it make a clean break and kill the use of a whole host of trite phrases and sayings it spawned and/or popularized. I took an informal poll of my little corner of Fauquier County to find out if it was just me that was hugely annoyed by the overuse of these jaded words and phrases this past year, or if they were more universally disliked. What phrase or word did you find the most annoying one of 2020? And go!


Yes. Yes, I really said “And go.” Even though it’s at the top of my own and many other lists of most hated words and phrases on social media. Do people really think strangers, or even friends for that matter, are eager to fall over and race each other jockeying to be the first to answer a question you were too trifling to research yourself?


“Let that sink in.” We all love to hate this one. Unfortunately it just doesn’t want to sink out of use. Probably because it’s so festooned with dead wood from being attached to memes and earnest blogger pleas to change your mind on some political hot potato. All that dead wood from past, present and future attachments will probably keep this baby from sinking, ever.


“Adulting” is not a verb. Just stop using it as one. Grow up and get a job. Likewise, curated used with anything other than an art gallery or collection. No.

I’m sure I’m not the only one that sometimes feels at a loss for words when complimenting someone on social media, for example, praising some of the really eye catching photos that scroll by daily. You hate to repeat something that’s just been said a half dozen times, but anything you could say about a cute baby or puppy photo has already been said many times. But please—let’s not use “adorbs” any more. As one local said, “It sounds like a brand of disposable diaper, not a compliment.”


“Woke”. Not sure what it is about this word that irks me so much. I guess it’s because those that use it always seem to be holier-than-thou and smugly sanctimonious about the fact that they are enlightened but you are just a redneck bigot. If you have the nerve to use that word for real I think you woke up on the wrong side of your bed.

Several friends brought up what they called up speak or up talk. I wasn’t familiar with either of those terms, but knew immediately what they meant. This is the raised voice at the end of a sentence that is not a question, but is spoken like one. Usually uttered by a millenium female, in a high pitched, quaverng or insecure voice as if seeking your approval. Said one friend, “It’s almost impossible to take anyone seriously when they do this because the message it sends is, “I’m not confident of the value of my words and I’m trying to ingratiate myself.”

And then there are some phrases and words that became popularized in the past year that you might find annoying but you still snicker, precisely because of why they are annoying. “OK Boomer.” OK, yes as a boomer I do get my hackles up at this one. I could whine that I feel marginalized, but then I remember how fun it is to label and insult millenials and boom! They beat us at our own game with one little phrase. I do, however, find great amusement in calling a meddlesome middle aged woman a “Karen”, to the dismay of my many good friends actually named Karen. And I’m pretty sure if Julie was the moniker for this insult, I’d be far less amused. But, you have to recognize the genius of the insult of being called a Karen. People hate the label. But it’s not profane or vulgar. There’s no fat shaming, no slut shaming, no reference to genitalia or puerile potty humor as so many female insults contain. I think it’s funny and hope it lasts into 2021. If you don’t like the Karens, well—“you do you”.

Ah. There it is. “You do you.” I can’t believe I just used this, it’s just that dreadful. It fits right in with the other loathsome words and phrases we all love to hate. “It is what it is”. “Whatever”. 2020 style.  “It is what it is” seems to be universally despised. Commented one woman: “What does this actually say? I am finished talking about it; I don’t want to answer you. I have nothing intelligent to say. I am done with this subject. This is how I deal with things that I don’t want to deal with. Don’t want to change, not talking about it.” A shame you can’t really convey all that with five little words.

We’ve all grown weary of the lack of variety and generalizations of so many of the words and phrases spawned by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent quarantine. “We’re all in this together.” Nope, not even close. “The new normal.” Insert puking emoji here.  Makes you almost forget we already had a full litany of jaded words and phrases that were so overused prior to COVID that they no longer even register, such as “like”, and “literally”. “I was, like, literally dying laughing to find out literally how, like, the word literal is overused and, like, how many times it can be, like, used in literally the same sentence. It’s literally surreal.” Literally dying laughing is, in fact, the opposite of the meaning since you’d be figuratively, not literally dying. Did I miss any of your favorites? Let’s hear them–find us online at and click on this story in From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, and leave your comments if I left out any of your favorites or poked fun at any of your sacred cows.


*YEET – To throw with a lot of force. Who knew????

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