COVID-19 dominates annual list of banished words, terms

Closeup of doctor holding test tubes with coronavirus assay.

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. (AP) — Even as vaccines are being rolled out to battle the coronavirus, wordsmiths at Lake Superior State University in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula say they want to kick any trace of it from the English language. “COVID-19” and “social distancing” are thrown in with “we’re all in this together,” “in an abundance of caution” and “in these uncertain times” on the school’s light-hearted list of banned words and phrases for 2021. Of more than 1,450 nominations, about 250 words and terms suggested for banishment due to overuse, misuse or uselessness had something to do with the virus. “COVID-19” is at the top of the list.