These Words Need to Be Retired in 2022

Dec 13, 2021 Samantha McGarry

Question: When is the “new normal” just ….. normal?

Answer: 2021

If you thought 2020 was a year; well, check out 2021. 

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary named “vaccine” the 2021 Word of the Year (while over in the UK, the Oxford Dictionary hailed “vax” as its Word of 2021.) 

Whichever side of the pond you live on—and probably WFH from—COVID and the vaccines not only influenced the way we’ve lived and worked these last 12 months but also the language we used to talk about this “new normal” (ugh).

As per tradition, I consulted with my networks to crowdsource for this annual post. The results were fast and furious and fell into three buckets: workplace, culture, and business/technology. They reflect trends that have been coined and then overused this year, terms we maybe don’t understand well enough, slang, frustrations and business realities. 

And we’d very much like to say goodbye to them, so we can usher in 2022 with fresh, positive vibes. 

Without further ado, here are the contenders for the words and phrases we think have jumped the shark, deserve to be canned, kicked to the curb, purged, disposed of and generally discarded in 2022.

  • New normal 
  • The Great Resignation
  • Future of work
  • Back to the office
  • “Can you see my screen?”
  • Hybrid work

  • Cheugy (explainer here; also check out #cheugstagram)
  • Sheesh
  • No cap
  • Schlubby (thanks, Wall Street Journal)
  • Guys
  • Sus
  • Girlboss
  •  “Tell me you’re _____ without telling me you’re ____” 
  • Double click
  • Cancel culture

  • Metaverse (does anyone yet truly understand - or is it another flavor of cloud?)
  • Supply chain disruption (remember the Ever Given in the Suez Canal?)
  • Unicorn
  • Clubhouse
  • Meme stock

Can you believe we’ve been publishing Inkhouse’s Words to Retire blog posts since 2010? That’s a LOT of words. If you fancy a stroll down memory lane, below is where you can find them all. 

Side note: I just re-read the very first post from 2010 and well, it's still very relevant. 

TL:DR: “At Inkhouse, we plan to revolutionize communications by providing next-generation PR 2.0 services based on disruptive, best-in-breed social media tools so we can facilitate a paradigm shift for our clients.”

Topics: Public Relations, Storytelling, Business, Culture, tech, Words to retire, Communications, 2022
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.

Read more from Samantha McGarry

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