I’m a bit of a word nerd (or maybe just wordy and nerdy), so I always enjoy checking out the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year, and similar lists.

I love that the words can help us frame the events of the year in such a concise way. The 2013 Oxford choice, selfie, calls to mind self-indulgence (Ted Cruz), over-exposure (Miley Cyrus), and a loss of privacy (the NSA revelations). On the other hand, “selfie” also reminds me of self-assuredness (Beyoncé), and sillyness (the new season of Arrested Development), so it’s not all bad!

I wonder if someone took a picture of the person taking a picture of this famous three-way selfie. Meta-selfie!

I wonder if someone took a picture of the person taking a picture of this famous three-way selfie. Meta-selfie!

The lists also prompt us to strive for a cliché-free 2014 (hint: these words are no-nos, not bon mots).

Why not say good riddance to these overused terms with our special scavenger hunt, inspired by Oxford’s list, the BBC’s most overused words, and Lake Superior State University’s list of banished words for 2014?


We’ve used a kind of winner-takes-all scoring system where only one team can win a point for each task. It will up the intensity of the game!

  • Selfie: Take one with a Barack Obama lookalike. Closest likeness wins the point.

  • Binge-watch: Build a house of cards in honor of one of the year’s most binge-watched shows. Tallest house wins the point.

  • Twerk: Record it. Upload it. Most views in an hour gets the point.

  • T-bone (to describe a car crash, rather than a cut of beef): Grill one up (the steak, not the crash). Most delicious dish wins the point. (Pescetarian-friendly version: best seared tuna steak; vegetarian-friendly version: best grilled portobello.)

  • Hashtag: Record an encounter with a stranger in which you use the word inappropriately (e.g. “Can you give me hashtag directions to hashtag the beach? Hashtag thanks!”). Most egregious overuse wins.

  • Hipster: Best photo of an ironic mustache wins.

  • “[insert word here] on steroids”: Collect Livestrong wristbands. Most wristbands wins.

  • Mister Mom (we didn’t know people said this other than to refer to the Michael Keaton movie): Re-enact a scene from the movie. Like this one. Best performance wins.

  • Twittersphere: Record yourself yelling into some kind of echo chamber. Most echoes (retweets?) wins.

Go ahead. Get it all out of your system, and start fresh in 2014!