Thursday, August 9, 2012

Overused Words


While reading the iconic New York Times the other day, I happened to notice that the word “iconic” was used in a few different articles.

The world-wide resources of the Skeptical Scalpel Institute for Evidence-Based Outcomes and Advanced Research were mobilized. Fact checkers swarmed over the Times and discovered that in the last 30 days, the word iconic has appeared 87 times in the paper for an average of 2.9 times per day.

The range of occurrences was 0 (on July 20, July 30 and August 6) to 8 (on August 1, a truly iconic day). The mode, or most frequent number of occurrences per day, was 1, which happened on 10 separate days.

By comparison, the previously unchallenged overused word of the century “artisanal” has only appeared 52 times in the Times during the last 30 days or about 1.7 times per day.

Now I am a mere blogger and am admitted somewhat (artis)anal retentive, but it seems to me that iconic just may have achieved cliché status.

May I suggest that the Times consider removing Iconic from its style book? In my opinion, doing so would increase its iconicity and help to maintain the artisanality of its writers.

1 comment:

Chongbeng said...

I couldn't agree with you more... but I would say iconic is the most popular or most liked word of 2012 rather than an overused word!

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