20 Words to Retire in 2020

Dec 19, 2019 Samantha McGarry

The expression “May you live in interesting times” is a solid way to describe 2019. It’s been a tumultuous year in which words have played a starring role. Our society has never been more polarized, and words continue to prove their power to unite or divide, confuse or clarify, lift us up or tear us down. For context, check out Merriam-Webster’s word of the year (“they”) and the most looked-up words.

Which brings us to the contenders for the words and phrases we are just plain done with in 2019. These were selected because they are no longer timely, are overused or jargony, reflect themes we don’t want to experience in 2020 - or are repeat offenders that simply won’t go away (no matter how many times we’ve put them on the chopping block.)

With clarity as our guiding theme - and gratitude to everyone who offered suggestions - here are the 20 words and phrases we vote for retirement in 2020.

  1. ASK (AS A NOuN)
  2. At the end of the day
  3. Cancel
  4. Circle back
  5. Customer journey
  6. Culture eats strategy
  7. Experiential
  8. Hate
  9. Ideation
  10. Level up
  11. Leverage
  12. Literally
  13. Make xx xx again
  14. OK boomer
  15. On both sides
  16. Quid pro quo
  17. Reclaim my time
  18. Same
  19. Triggered
  20. VSCO

Want to see which words we retired over the last nine years? You can check them out here:

Topics: Words to retire, InkHouse Team, 2020 predictions, PR trends
Samantha McGarry

Samantha is a Senior Vice President at InkHouse. Her curiosity for business and technology - combined with her love of semantics and communication - has translated into a 20+ year career in PR.

Read more from Samantha McGarry

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