15 Words and Phrases So Overused They’ve Lost Their Meaning

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Language is a vibrant and ever-evolving entity, but sometimes certain expressions can become victims of their popularity. Here are 15 words and phrases so overused that members of an online community believe have lost their original meaning.

1. Literally

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Remember when ‘literally’ actually meant something? Nowadays, people throw around this word so often that it has lost its true essence. It has become a figurative expression, going against its literal meaning. Literally is quite literally meaningless now!

2. Gaslighting

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A term that once held significant weight and helped victims identify what they were going through is now casually thrown around on social media. The word signifies a form of abuse that can make one feel like their notion of reality is flawed. However, not everything you dislike can be called gaslighting.

3. Unpopular Opinion

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A phrase meant to introduce a controversial viewpoint is now apparently used for everyday things too. One user shares how a classmate once declared, “Unpopular opinion, but I think orphans deserve rights.” Who exactly is out there saying they don’t vouch for orphans?


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In today’s world, it seems everyone is the Greatest Of All Time (GOAT). Once reserved for the best of the best, the term has been watered down to include just about anyone and anything. If everyone’s average is great, what becomes of those above the ranks?

5. Narcissist

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A term rooted in psychology has now become a popular buzzword. It’s used to label anyone exhibiting self-centered behavior, whether or not they genuinely fit the diagnostic criteria. Sadly, it is often incorrectly used to describe anyone who makes choices for their own well-being.

6. LOL

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It’s ironic how often people use “LOL” without even cracking a smile. Think of all the times you typed “LOL” in response to a meme while making the straightest face. Let’s bring some authenticity back to our laughter, shall we?

7. Aesthetic

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One person shares overhearing an influencer calling a restaurant aesthetic. Some argue that the term was used as a noun, not an adjective, before internet use. The pioneers of aestheticism will probably be shaking their heads after seeing the internet’s overuse of the word.

8. Cope

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A user thinks most people use the phrase to conceal the fact that they’ve exhausted all logical paths and refuse to admit that something is wrong with them. Instead, the burden is placed on the other to “cope” with whatever they do.

9. Low-key

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A word that used to imply something discrete or low-profile has become frustratingly overused. It seems that even high-key content is branded as low-key. One forum member named Lokee shares that they can’t help but cringe each time they hear it.

10. Creep

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Calling someone a creep used to carry weight and indicated a genuine concern for personal safety. However, labeling a man sitting alone in a park as a creep is an unjust generalization. Let’s reserve this term for when it’s truly warranted.

11. Toxic

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Toxicity seems to be everywhere. The word has lost its contextual significance and is now slapped on anyone or anything deemed undesirable. As such terms become daily buzzwords, those who seek to describe their experiences through such words are severely undermined.

12. Sorry

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The world’s casual and often insincere usage has made it lose its meaning. When people constantly say sorry for things they aren’t responsible for, it diminishes the significance of the word when they genuinely need to apologize.

13. Iconic

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Once reserved for legends and game-changers, this term has lost its exclusivity. It’s now applied to everyday occurrences and trivial matters, according to many. If everything is iconic, then iconic merely becomes the new average.

14. Bucket List

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The concept of a bucket list, originally intended to represent a list of things to do before one’s demise, has now undergone a bizarre transformation. The internet is now flooded with “summer bucket lists for kids!” consisting of activities like drawing and making sandcastles.

15. Mental Health Terms

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Mental health terms are not immune to overuse either. While it’s nice to see greater awareness now, phrases like ADHD and autistic are thrown around casually without understanding. Feeling energetic? “I’m so AHDH, lol.” Acting a bit differently? “Wow, I am so autistic.” Let’s not diminish the significance of these conditions for the sake of a quick laugh.

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Source: Reddit.

Written by Saad Muzaffar

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