THE BLOG
01/17/2012 03:37 pm ET Updated Mar 18, 2012

An Amazing Abuse Of Language

Here's a challenge for you: Can you go a whole day without hearing or using the word "amazing?" Frankly, the poor word is exhausted from overuse and deserves a day of rest. Its first cousin, "awesome," wouldn't mind kicking back on the shelf awhile either.

Let's face it, there is nothing groovy about listening to people describe -- well, pretty much everything -- with the same word.

I remember a time when "amazing" belonged to the purview of magicians and rarely strayed from the realm of leggy blondes who escaped unscathed after being sliced in half in a coffin. And "awesome" was reserved for places like Niagara Falls -- before Love Canal.

But in the past few years, both "amazing" and "awesome" have been on steroids and have been co-opted by a generation. In an unscientific study (conducted by me), it has become clear that you can determine a person's age by the number of times per hour they use "amazing" when they are attempting to describe something in a flattering way. Radar Online says Jaime King's Golden Globes body is "amazing," -- as was Robert de Niro's acceptance speech, captured here on YouTube. There is also an "amazing" scientific discovery that men actually never stop liking sex.

The dictionary, by the way, says amazing means something that causes great surprise or wonderment or is startlingly impressive. Sorry, but all three examples fail to meet my litmus test.

Truth is, every few years certain words or expressions work their way into our everyday vernacular and stick around for awhile. They are verbal road markers that serve to identify who we are in relationship to the rest of the world and time. Got it, homies? It's a practice that probably dates back to the caveman. I can't imagine living in at a time more annoying then when people would have waved "toodles" at me when they left the room.

But "amazing" may have reached critical mass on the annoyance scale. Lake Superior State University in Michigan compiled a list of words and phrases it would like to see banned this year "for misuse, overuse and general uselessness."

Topping that list is "amazing."

For me, the intricacies of language will always be far out, and talking about it is just boss. I don't need to bogart any particular word for my own purposes. Do you dig?

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-207_162-57350147/amazing-tops-2012-list-of-banished-words?tag=currentVideoInfo;videoMetaInfo