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  • By The Newnan Times-Herald
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  • Dec. 10, 2022 - 8:31 PM


The Newnan Times-Herald

Words are my jam. I’m a fan, a nerd wordie. Or wordie nerd if you like. I do NYT Crosswords, Wordle, Spelling Bee and many other word apps. I read a lot. I write stuff. I authored a book. I write a column. I know many of you do all or some of these, too. Time to talk words.

Announcing the 2022 Words of the Year.

Gaslighting is Merriam-Webster’s word of the year, one that should be familiar by now. Gaslighting is the act or practice of grossly misleading someone, especially for one's own advantage. It’s been googled multiple times every day, they say. That surprises me not one iota. You? Merriam-Webster said in a statement, "In this age of misinformation, conspiracy theories, Twitter trolls and deep fakes, gaslighting has emerged as a word for our time." Boy howdy, ain’t it the truth.

Goblin mode is The Oxford English Dictionary’s pick. It cracks me up two words are “the word” of the year. Interestingly, vax was their word for last year, which makes sense. After COVID and lockdowns and trips to Crazytown without ever leaving home, it’s understandable that Goblin mode, a state of being “unapologetically lazy, slovenly and rejecting social norms or expectations” would follow vax. Frankly, I’m in a relative state of Goblin mode all the time now, until company’s coming and I throw stuff in the closets, dust and vacuum the rugs before the doorbell rings.

Here's my list of overused words and phrases that ought to disappear: “the bottom line,” “at the end of the day,” “where we/you at,” “useful hacks,” “you always” and/or “you never,” “like nobody’s ever seen before,” “don’t take this the wrong way but …” and “recalculating.”

I like these creative phrases adopted from other countries:

Pulling an old cow out of the ditch: (Holland) is bringing up an old argument.

Straighten the horns and kill the bull: (Japan) is messing something up by insisting on correcting a minor flaw.

There is no cow on the ice: (Sweden) means there is no reason to panic.

Going where the Czar goes on foot: (Russia) means going to the toilet, the only place to which the Czar wasn't carried. I can name a select few in Russia and elsewhere who deserve swirlies upon every arrival.

Feeding the donkey sponge cake: (Portugal) refers to giving special treatment to someone who doesn't need (or deserve) it. Got someone in mind? I do.

The “Annoying and Should be Illegal Grammar Crimes Awards” go this year, and every year, to those who shamefully misuse the poor little innocent apostrophe and the letter “s.” These are crimes of commission and omission. Hope you don’t deserve one of these:

The Errant Apostrophe Award. Please, for the love of Elvis, stop it with the apostrophes in plural nouns. Saying “many artist’s exhibited their work” or signing a gift tag “From the Smith’s” is a grammatical abomination. It’s abusive to the little apostrophe. You’re forcing it to report to work when it shouldn’t. It needs and deserves the time off, and it doesn’t play well with plurals, anyway. So here it is: The artists are exhibiting work at the show, and a gift is “From the Smiths.” No apostrophe. The artists are a group of talented folks. The Smiths are a family of nice people. They are plural, more than one. Apostrophes sit out that game. I hope they all have a happy holiday and the apostrophes enjoy their break.

The Missing “S” Award. It’s a painful crime of omission to leave the letter “s” off plural words, especially “artists.” Dear mother of Elvis, if I see another phrase like “a group of artist” (gasp, no plural “s”! Where is the “s”?) I’m proposing Congress pass a law. Help me create a name for it. Winner gets an all-expense paid trip into the warm cockles of my heart.

I like finding out the word "facetious" has all the vowels in it (except the sometimes "y"), in order. Thanks wordnik! I really am such a nerd.

Longtime Newnan resident Susie Berta has many creative pursuits, including music, art, writing, cooking, gardening, entertaining and decorating. She is now pursuing her passion for writing and recently published her memoir, “The Veterinarian’s Wife.” She can be reached at