“It’s Called Soccer” — And Other Words To Retire in 2023

Dec 15, 2022 Samantha McGarry

As Inkhouse’s token Brit and defacto author of our annual Words to Retire post for the last 10 years, I feel it my duty and privilege to retire the much-recently-vaunted phrase given Team USA’s progress in (and subsequent departure from) the World Cup: “It’s called soccer.”

Nope. It is, in fact, called football. 

And even though the England team 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 also lost last weekend, it is still called football.

Now that’s done, we can move on to the more pressing business of other words and phrases from 2022 that need to be shelved.

The following were selected from among many more words that we crowdsourced, a process that forever brings me joy. They are reflective of some of what we’ve experienced, read about, dealt with, and perhaps said too often - personally and professionally - in 2022. 

  • Hardcore (thanks, Elon)
  • Quiet quitting (because it’s over … and not cool)
  • Double-click (while we’re at it, drill down and zoom in can probably go too)
  • Goblin mode (the Oxford Dictionary’s Word of the Year – since we spent more time doomscrolling than connecting with humans during the past three years)
  • Lowkey (we’re lowkey ready for a new term)
  • Divide and conquer (how did the military get so many phrases into our vernacular?!)
  • Workplace surveillance (if this is a thing, we quit, and not quietly) 
  • Stagflation/shrinkflation (do made up words get more clicks?)
  • Level up (life isn’t a video game)
  • More than 100% (there’s gotta be a new way to strongly agree)
  • Vibe shift (because change is our only constant)

It’s also worth noting that Web 3 and metaverse were proposed, which prompted a good deal of debate about Gartner Hype Cycles and actual use cases. We’re watching from the sidelines…

We’ve also noticed that some words have been creeping into mainstream conversation and business environments that belong more to the domain of mental health. Please be mindful: Misuse or overuse of these words tends to minimize or trivialize them, which we should all be sensitive to.

  • Gaslighting (Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Yearit’s real and terrible and we want the actual thing to go away so we don’t need the word anymore. We can also stop using the phrase, “I’m so OCD.”) 

And then there are the words we keep trying to retire but they keep being used. In fact, I’ve checked through all 11 past Words to Retire blog posts and these below are the repeat offenders. Please, for the love of vocabulary and semantics: Use better words. Thank you. 

  • Leverage
  • Literally
  • End-users/Users

If you’d prefer to do your own research, here's the archive: 

Topics: Blogging, Writing, Storytelling, Culture, Technology PR, Words to retire, Communications
Samantha McGarry

Samantha is the executive vice president of Story Crafting 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.

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