It’s time for some phrases to R.I.P…

It strikes me that it is time to put to rest a number of phrases in our common vernacular that are simply no longer appropriate to say, especially on the playing field and in the workplace.

I want to hear your thoughts on this but I am very nervous about where the comments might go. I have read some of the other websites on these phrases and I am not impressed with the dialogue  – it chooses sides rather than seeks common ground. I would like hear your thoughts on finding common ground about these phrases and any other phrases you want to add to the discussion list.

Not one to state a problem without also trying to offer a solution, I think it is appropriate to offer a reason why I think these phrases should be retired as well as a substitute phrase for whenever the occasion requires a similar statement.

Here goes…

R.I.P. it :                      “You throw like a girl!”

Why R.I.P. it?  
This phrase has been around since before 1980 – that’s close to 40 years at least! In the United States, Title IX, the federal law that made sports teams available to women, giving us equal opportunity to play softball,  baseball, and any other sport, was signed into law in 1972. This means that the topic of girls and their right to develop their throwing arm was an issue LONG before that – that’s closer to at least 60 years ago. I don’t know when the first softball team came together, but baseball in the US existed in the 1800s!

“You have a great arm!”
“Nice throw!”
“Your coach taught you well!”


R.I.P. it :                      “More bang for your buck”

Why R.I.P. it?   
The issues with this phrase are the associations with the words in it – military might, hunting and prostitution. It made total sense in the 1950’s military context – the more money you spend, the bigger the explosion – and it makes sense in hunting. But how many of us mean to “blow things up” or “killing things” in the office? Using these terms in these two contexts beings an adversarial tone to any conversation. The third context is simply not appropriate in the workplace. If we believe that the language we use together shapes our mindset, let’s replace the mindset of war and sexual innuendo with a financial literacy mindset:

“More for your money”
“More for your time and effort”
“A great return investment”


R.I.P. it :                      “Rule of Thumb”

Why R.I.P. it?
As urban myth has it, in early history, it was socially acceptable for men to beat their wives and slaves, but within limitations. The stick used had to be no larger than the width of the man’s thumb. So began “The rule of thumb”. Beating another person is no longer acceptable, ever. So let’s stop using the terms that keep the context alive.


“The Norm”
“Our typical approach”

Yeah…I was a little creativity-challenged on the replacements on that last one. What ideas can you come up with that would last?

Do you agree with me that we shape our mindset with the language that we use?

What other phrases should we consider?

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