Detroit, Jan. 1 (AP): Calling all metrosexuals: get rid of that bling-bling — or at least find another word for it.
In its annual compilation of language irritants, Lake Superior State University singled out 17 words and phrases that it says ought to be banned as overused, trite, euphemistic or just plain inaccurate. The 2004 losers were chosen by a university committee from more than 5,000 nominations from around the world.
“Metrosexual” topped the list. Coined in 1994 by British journalist Mark Simpson, the term refers to urban, usually heterosexual men with a keen interest in fashion, shopping and elaborate grooming.
But to Bob Forrest of Tempe, Arizona, one of many to nominate the term for banishment, it “sounds like someone who only has sex downtown or on the subway”. Fred Bernardin of Arlington, Massachusetts, asked: “Aren’t there enough words to describe men who spend too much time in front of the mirror'”
As for “punked” or “punk’d”, as the MTV prank show spells it — the committee defined it as “bamboozled, duped, flimflammed, hornswoggled”. “Bling-bling,” a term for flashy jewellery or other luxury goods, made its way into the mainstream from rap music. Said Todd Facklas of Chicago: “Yes, your mom might say it. Nothing could kill the mystique of a word faster”.
Viagra. Lowest mortgage rates. Hot XXX action. As seen on Oprah.
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Those four phrases and six more topped the list of the most commonly-used subject lines for junk, or “spam” e-mail in 2003, Internet service provider AOL said.
Other top enticements, the Time Warner Inc. unit said, included “online pharmacy”, “get bigger”, “online degree”, “lowest insurance rates”, “work from home” and “get out of debt”.
Unsolicited commercial e-mail is considered a scourge of the Internet and, as governments rush to regulate or ban the sending of spam, private companies and service providers have also stepped up efforts to create filtering software that blocks such messages.
During calendar 2003, AOL blocked nearly 500 billion spam messages from reaching user inboxes, an average of 40 fewer such messages per day per subscriber account. The company said it regularly blocks 75 per cent to 80 per cent of incoming mail as spam.