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Our Secret List of Banned Words

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[Illustration: Robyn Lee]

If you've ever worked in publishing, you've probably come across a list much like this one. Every publishing house, magazine, newspaper, major website, or even individual editor has one: a list of words that are banned from ever appearing in print. We keep ours in a shared Google doc so that editors can share their newest grievances and consult with others on whether or not the phrase or word makes our list. I keep that doc in the same folder as our "Worst PR Pitch Ever Nominees" list and our "Office Quirks Ed Has" list.

A list of banned words from the website is a subtly different from the many, many, many lists of "words foodies hate" that you see going around the web (it's a perennial topic in our Talk threads). These ones aren't necessarily words that grate our ears (though some of them definitely are), but are words that are simply bad descriptors, overused, or plain silly.

This is only a glance at our list, but it hits a few of our major problem areas.

Disclaimer: Ok, so perhaps "ban" is too strong a word. These are just words we try to avoid as much as possible. Obviously, context is everything.

Strictly Banned!

Use Sparingly!

Of course, now that we've outed this list, we'll have to keep on our toes because I've no doubt that we'll get called out as soon as we make one false move in the future...

So tell us, Serious Eaters—what words or phrases would you add to our list?

About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.

Printed from http://www.seriouseats.com/2012/04/our-secret-list-of-banned-words.html

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