The Most Annoying Sayings: The Epic PR News List

08 Nov


By Diane Schwartz, PR News

There are some topics that excite people no matter the time of day or day of week—and annoying sayings and overused words are among them. When I posted a PR News blog a few months ago about the “most annoying sayings,” I was hoping to contribute to the body of knowledge while commiserating with my fellow communicators and wordsmiths.
Roughly 60 blog readers contributed to the list, which is not exactly “epic” (overused word #654) but was enough to warrant an aggregation for our loyal readers, a handy list to refer to “at the end of the day” (possibly the most annoying saying currently trending).
A few readers took issue with the list, noting that sayings such as “true that” and “it’s like boiling the ocean” help people relate to one another and are helpful rather than annoying. You can’t please everyone, and the list below is an objective, unedited listing with further user-generated venting in parentheses. Please chime in if we missed something.

  • “It is what it is.”  (It is annoying)
  • “I personally feel.”  (redundant, redundant)
  • “You need to be more passionate.” (You can’t make people feel passionate)
  • The word “social” as a noun, as in, “Acme does social really well.”  (Being social means having friends, not selling product.)
  • “I’m passionate about _________.”  (Really? Well lucky you. Guess what? I work for a living! )
  • “I’m a ____________ junkie.”  (Since when is addiction a virtue?)
  • “I’m just doing what I’m doing.”  (Redundancy will be the death of me.)
  • “We need to own social media.” (Um, the public owns social media. What you really mean is you need to tie your social media efforts to a bottom line, be it financial, social good or reputation.)
  • Curation
  • News-jacking
  • When young people say “Well in the old days…”   (Really? You’ve been around for 20-something years. The “old days” for you consisted of an era before social networking boomed and boy bands were the hot topic.)
  • Guru
  • “Hit the ground running”
  • “Going forward”  (Meaning “from now on” as if you could also dictate past behavior)
  • “No offense”  (Which means “I am about to offend you.”)
  • “I’m confused”  (Which means “You’re confused and I am going to set you straight.”)
  • Ideation
  • “Circle back”  (Which means to bring your Conestoga wagon back into a circle.)
  • Thought leadership
  • “True that.”
  • “With all due respect…”  (Hearing that phrase, buckle-up: The words that follow will certainly bear no relation to “respect” or any recognized synonym.)
  • “At any rate:”  (It is so seldom used in connection with a literal rate of any sort.)
  • “Game on.”
  • Winning
  • “To make a long story short” (already makes your story six words longer.)
  • Meh  (Thank you for your in-depth contribution to the conversation that really helps us solve the problem. Now, please, get back to your texting.)
  • “I don’t hate that idea.”  (Otherwise known as “let’s think about that more.”)
  • “We want to be in high-profile media”  (…said everyone on earth that wants to be in any media.)
  • “How should we spin this?”
  • “We need to be strategic.” (“Strategy” and “strategic” are so overused; no one explains what they mean by this, what the plan of action is or the tactics we’ll use to achieve the goal.)
  • “Let’s take a step back.” (It’s an early indicator that you are dealing with a conservative organization where innovation is outside their comfort zone.)
  • “Let’s not re-invent the wheel…”
  • “Value proposition”
  • “Let’s get out in front of it…”
  • “Where the rubber meets the road…”
  • Game time
  • Irregardless
  • Anyways
  • Frankly …
  • Honestly …
  • Don’t take this the wrong way/personally …
  • Incentivize
  • Ideate
  • “Out-of-the-box thinking”
  • “If you will”
  • Arrrrrrggggggg!
  • Open the kimono (creepy)
  • Drink the Kool-Aid
  • Move the needle
  • Let’s talk offline
  • Boil the ocean
  • Awesome
  • Ramp up. Tee up. Synch up. (Throw up.)
  • Push back
  • Thought starter
  • Scalable
  • Factoids
  • Synergy
  • Run it up the flagpole and see how it flies.
  • Skin in the game
  • Ping
  • Bandwidth
  • Hard stop
  • “Let’s flesh/flush this out.” I’ve heard it both ways, and both make me cringe.
  • “Perfect!” (Used in response to a question answered, such as “Would you like to see the wine list?”)
  • “We have a horse in this race.” (Less painful than one’s own skin the game, but same principle.)
  • “Under the radar” (I understand the need for stealth at times, but it can cause mid-air collision?)
  • “We will be ramping up soon, so be ready!”
  • Kill two birds with one stone (poor birds)
  • Self-starter
  • 24/7
  • Bada-bing!
  • Leverage
  • Give 110%  (What is wrong with your math?)
  • Win-win
  • Net-net
  • My bad
  • “In the weeds.”
  • “Put on your big girl panties.”
  • I also think way too many trains have left the station and never mind how many people have been thrown under the bus.
  • Utilizing
  • “Transparency”  (Those who use this term are anything but transparent.)
  • “Balls to the walls.” (What does this really mean? Maybe I don’t want to know.*)

Posted by on November 8, 2012 in Uncategorized


4 responses to “The Most Annoying Sayings: The Epic PR News List

  1. mr25straight

    November 8, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    I feel that author “hit the nail on the head.” We as humans tell stories to each other and use these common words or saying to try to relate stories to each other. Most of the sayings are over used or one person will repeatedly use the same one, but they are sayings these to try to make a metaphor or comparison to the situation and give the firsthand account of the person telling the story. When someone says balls to the wall, flying by the seat of your pants or something similar, it gives me the picture of a person that’s being chased or going through something that adrenaline is the blood flow.

  2. flapjack92

    November 12, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    To be completely honest, I got a pretty big kick out of reading this! Most of these sayings are things that I hear on a daily basis, or that I even catch myself saying from time to time. The fact of the matter is that as annoying or funny or overused these sayings are, it’s a part of our “culture” in a way. People will use these sayings until a more funny one comes along or until they’ve offended someone. As our human race develops, we get lazier in some areas and progressively more active in others. I feel as though having these sayings are just a small form of our human laziness in communicating. We use these words or small phrases as a crutch when we’re at a loss for words when there are so many words out there that we’re capable of using, but we redundantly use these same ones until we become sick of them.

  3. harajukugirl12

    November 13, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    I definatly enjoyed reading this. I have caught myself saying a good majority of these. I feel that most of them are sayings that we are surrounded with, whether its around our friends, or on TV watching a celebrity. These words are very similar to slang, in the fact that they are said by many to mean something else. We will say them until we find something better to say, or even once we offend someone. Like any fad, they will soon fade, but they will be replaced with another ridiculously lame saying. It is a never ending cycle of fail.

  4. traveler012

    December 5, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    This was hysterical. I loved it! I use all of these terms, and I never knew they were considered annoying so I guess I better stop! But I understand the gist of this. If a boss in any company said any, or all of the above sayings to me at any time I think m responses would be much the same as the authors’ parenthesizes. However they are a way to liven up conversation and add a little fun to a term. But for instance the ones that say “Don’t take this the wrong way” and “Don’t take this personally” are almost just a warm up for an insult. Those really do annoy me. Just say it; it’s going to be insulting either way.


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