“You’re on Mute” and 9 Other Words and Phrases to Retire in 2021

Dec 15, 2020 Samantha McGarry

Fact: Writing this year’s post was so much easier than in past years. This year’s list of words to retire was actually scrawled on a pink sticky note several months ago. In previous years, I’ve crowdsourced ideas for this annual post, but not this time: this one pretty much wrote itself because 2020 has been a year like no other.

The words and phrases below have become our COVID-19 lexicon, infusing every aspect of our professional and personal lives as we’ve adapted to the pandemic’s impact.  Whether it’s on the news or in our social network feed, in emails, talking through screens, or scurrying masked through grocery stores, I think we can all agree that 2021 will be so much better if we never have to read or utter these words again. 

  • You’re on mute
  • Unprecedented
  • Doomscroll
  • Super-spreader
  • Virtual/remote
  • Socially-distanced
  • Zoom bomb/zoom fatigue
  • Flatten the curve
  • Lockdown
  • New normal

But, since I’m addicted to optimism, I have a feeling that this time next year, I’m going to be penning a very different kind of words to retire blog post. I simply cannot wait to return to retiring marketing and technology buzzwords, Gen Z speak, and whatever else has jumped the shark. 

Here’s to 2021!

P.S. Did you know we’ve been retiring words since 2010? Check out these archives for all the words and phrases we’ve retired over the last decade:

Topics: Words to retire, 2021
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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