Published: Tuesday, December 30, 2008 | 6:07 PM ET
Canadian Press NewsItem/NewsComponent/NewsLines/ByLine
DETROIT - A movie about a "maverick," his journey "from Wall Street to Main Street," his "desperate search" for a "monkey" and a "game-changing" revelation about his "carbon footprint" probably would make the nation's word-watchers physically ill.
Especially if it were the "winner of five nominations."
All those words and phrases are the annual List of Words to Be Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness, produced by Lake Superior State University on Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
The 34th version of the list, released Tuesday, selected 15 entries from about 5,000 nominations, and the bulk of the entries came from the environmental category - for "green" or "going green."
"If I see one more corporation declare itself 'green,' I'm going to start burning tires in my backyard," wrote Ed Hardiman of Bristow, Va., in his submission.
Nominators had also had their fill of "carbon footprint" - the amount of greenhouse gases an individual's lifestyle produces.
"I'm a maverick, he's a maverick, wouldn't you like to be a maverick, too?" offered Michael Burke of Silver Spring, Md., in his entry for the label embraced by unsuccessful Republican presidential candidate John McCain.
Although this year's sluggish economy and record rise in gas prices may have kept people closer to home, the word coined for it - "staycation" - is "idiotic and rootless," complained Michele Mooney of Los Angeles.
An emoticon also made the list for the first time. The strings of characters used in e-mails and text-messaging commonly represent a face, but the school singled out an emoticon heart, formed with a "less than" symbol and the number 3.
"Monkey" was on the list because of what some see as its rampant use as a suffix.
"Especially on the Internet, many people seem to think they can make any boring name sound more attractive just by adding the word 'monkey' to it," wrote Rogier Landman of Sommerville, Mass.
Lake Superior State's 2009 list of banished words
DETROIT - Lake Superior State University's 2009 list of banished words and phrases:
-carbon footprint or carbon offsetting
-Wall Street/Main Street
-icon or iconic
-not so much
-winner of five nominations
-it's that time of year again