Vacuus Dictum: Words Do Have Meaning But They Also Have a Sell-by Date

03/26/2008 04:37 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

A lot is being made in the current presidential campaign-a-thon about meaningful words versus action. Let's stipulate: words do have actionable meanings -- UNLESS they are so over-used they become meaningless as in "Your call is important to us," endlessly repeated while you're on hold for 20 minutes, then disconnected. Then it becomes what in Latin is called vacuus dictums -- empty words. Submitted as a public service for your approval, here is a starter list of vacuus dictums -- those words and phrases that have long since passed their sell-by dates. Please feel free to add your own....

An apartment building that calls itself 'Lakeside Towers' which is nowhere near a lake and is only three stories tall.

"Listen carefully as our menu has changed" assumes we have committed the company's original exciting menu to memory and will be flumoxed by the new instructions.

"Special Relationship" as in "America has a special relationship with.....FILL IN THE BLANKS. This diplo-speak code can mean anything from "We don't want to offend their supporters," to "We need this dictator because he's got all that oil.

I did not "...have sex with that woman" ".....solicit sex in the bathroom" ".....ever use steroids."

Las Vegas slogan: "What Happens Here Stays Here" unless you're O.J. Simpson.

"No problem" which has replaced "thank you" as a response to a courtesy. It's imperiously French as in 'Rien de tout,' meaning "Don't worry, you did not cause a problem for me." Very magnanimous.

"No Child Left Behind" while American 15 year-olds rank 24th in math literacy out of 29 countries.

"AT&T -- Your World Delivered" except when you're on a cell phone and your call has dropped-out -- again.

"Have a nice day" which became meaningless after the 1979 movie, "Hair" in the scene at the Army guard post.

"Safe. Made in China."

Southwest Airlines' "You are Now Free To Move About the Country" unless your plane has been officially grounded because your airline missed a lot of required inspections

"Tax and spend" when referring to Democrats. "Tax cuts for the wealth 1%" used by the Republicans. Tired. Old. Vacuus dictum.

"For here, please" will not register at the fast-food counter unless spoken at the end of your order.

Health insurance line, "We have you covered" - except for your pre-existing condition.

Retiring politician who wants to "...spend more time with my family" meaning "There's no way I can win again."

Motorola's cell phone greeting "Hello Moto" assumes you like being named after the fictional Japanese Detective, Mr. Moto, or your name is actually Motorola.

"I am so sorry that I have let (CHOSE ONE) the people of my state - my family - my fans - my parishioners down."