As with every year, 2023 had its share of popular, overused, or flat-out misused words. Lake Superior State University has once again taken it upon themselves to figure out which of these words were the most prominent last year.

Lake Superior State University (LSSU) has published its yearly "Banned Words List", a review of the top 10 phrases that they believe should be "banned" from the common conversation leading into the new year, a tradition at the school since 1976.

Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan
Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan

With over 2000 submissions from around the world, here's the list of words and terms that should be banished in 2024:

1. Hack

Coming in at number one is the term "hack". This word originally referred to technology and "hacking something", or coming up with a new or easier way of doing something. It has since become a buzzword associated with innovations and now anything and everything can be "hacked".

Business, technology, internet and networking concept.
The original definition of "hack" was related to computers, but it is now applied to many different subjects. Photo from Getty Images.

2. Impact

LSSU points out a very simple fact about this verb: there is a far better word that should be used. "impact" is used the way the word "affect" should be used, and ironically its misuse lessens the impact of this word.

3. "At the end of the day"

This phrase is used to try to summarize a complicated situation, but many of the submissions believe it is "overused and meaningless... and lacking nuance and depth." At the end of the day, this phrase most likely isn't going anywhere.

4. Rizz

If any word on this list deserves to go, it is this one. Voted Oxford's word of the year, "rizz" is a shortened form of the word "charisma" used to describe someone who had a moment or action that required some smooth talking or cunning. Or if you've got "game", you have rizz. This word just sounds like a fad and should be left behind, buried six feet under.

Photo of a guy in sunglasses with a boom box, radiating rizz.
This cool guy is full of rizz. Probably. Photo from Getty Images.

5. Slay

Another word on this list that evolved past its original meaning, "slay" has gone from being used to refer to a truly incredible action to being used for every little unremarkable thing (i.e. that coffee she made slayed). Essentially, this word has devolved into another form of "cool", and its misapplication is why it needs to be banished.

6. Iconic

Funnily enough, this word was on LSSU's Banished Words list in 2009, but like with most things, what is old is new once more. The word "iconic" is meant to brand something as "worthy of distinction", however, the word is used to describe so many non-iconic events the word has lost its meaning.

7. Cringe-worthy

This word is a bit of a paradox, as even using the phrase "cringe-worthy" is cringe-worthy in its own right. This phrase is used to describe something embarrassing or awkward, something that makes you, well, cringe. The word cringe is cringe, and the cycle repeats. LSSU (and I) believe it is time to find a more suitable word in 2024.

If you make any of these faces when you see something, it is most likely cringe-worthy. Photos from Canva
If you make any of these faces when you see something, it is most likely cringe-worthy. Photos from Canva

8. Obsessed

Another word that has exceeded its original use, "obsessed' is now used very casually by people to describe things they aren't actually obsessed with, rather just things they like. LSSU paints this word as one whose use needs to be reconsidered in 2024.

9. Side Hustle

The term "side hustle" has become a popular term to describe people finding additional ways to gain extra income. LSSU brings up a good point that the fixation with finding a successful side hustle could just be solved by getting a second job instead of devoting extra resources to (to use one of the other words on this list) a hack.

10. "Wait for it"

You know when your friend pulls up a video to show you something funny or crazy and nothing is happening, causing you to question why they're choosing to waste your time in the first place? And then to reaffirm their demand for your time, they say "Wait for it"? Yeah. Bit of a drawn-out exchange, and should be left behind going into the new year.

To view Lake Superior State's original post or submit a word for next year's list, click here.

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