Your Hangover Was Not Epic. Not Epic At All.

misuse and overuse of epicThat pizza was epic!

The after-prom party was epic.

Epic sex.

Really?!

I would love to get on my soapbox and tell people as a matter of fact the word doesn’t mean what they think it means – mostly due to my personal annoyance with its overuse, but I doubt I have a leg (or a soapbox) to stand on.

Let me know if you agree with this:

Overuse = Meaningless

(Think: That song you hear on the radio that’s played into the ground)

Any effort on my part to clear this matter up would be an epic fail. (See what I did there?) Put the two words together and you have a meaningless catch phrase.

Fail is a verb. Failure is a noun. Fail cannot be epic.

Did you know that “epic” made Dictionary [dot] com’s list of “The Worst Words of 2012”? (Made the same list the three prior years) It was also voted one of “7 Annoying Words That Should Die A Horrible Death” by 101books [dot] net.

Yet “epic” refuses to be banished. {Click to Tweet}

Fizzle published a post earlier this year entitled, “Write Epic Shit”. I’d like to tell the author/s of Fizzle I don’t write “shit”, let alone epic shit.

Pinterest is a breeding ground for “epic”. You can pin any number of artful versions of “Do Epic Shit”.

Misuse and overuse of epic

Like what?!

Discover the fountain of youth? Take a vacation in a parallel universe? Find the cure for the common cold? Put a stop to all the wars?

Want some examples of what’s EPIC?

Oceans.The Cosmos. Beowulf (Takes most people a few days to read the oldest surviving epic poem of Old English, consisting of 3182 alliterative long lines). Ernest Shackleton and his crew surviving their Antarctic voyage.

I’m sure you get my drift. I mean, really. Let’s be honest.

Have you ever met another human being who’s done anything truly epic? I haven’t. And I hang out with some exceptionally smart cookies whose brilliance and creativity is unsurpassed.

And while we’re on the subject of misused and overused words:

Ditto for at the end of the day and the grand champion, awesome. Oy!

I don’t generally encourage readers to leave my blog but today is an exception. If you’re a small biz builder or word nerd, like me, sprint over to Mission: Storytelling. This month’s word carnival is exploring jibber-jabber nonsense words that have come to be a nuisance for legitimate business people and the elixir of life for the more unscrupulous snake oil salesmen in our midst.

  • Hey Melanie,

    I had to stop by and check out this post and boy do I agree with you. I think too many things are overused and beaten to death these days which make me dislike them even more. I think I read a couple times last year someone else having an issue with the word epic.

    I can’t stand when someone calls me an expert. I’m not expert, to me they know everything and does anyone ever really know everything? They might be more knowledgeable than everyone else but that’s just a word I guess I’m uncomfortable using. Sometimes it’s hard to find a replacement.

    You definitely told us, that’s for sure. Now if only everyone would listen right!

    Happy New Year and hope your year has started off great.

    ~Adrienne

    • Adrienne, you’re a sweetheart! I happen to know (a little bird told me) you do a lot of blog hopping. The list of blogs you read and comment on, daily, must be hundreds of miles long. Thank you for catching this post and I’m happy it resonated with you. 🙂

      And while we’re on the subject of “words”, here’s a short list I’d like to see vanish … and Pronto!

      “Guru, maven, thought leader, virtuoso, evangelist, wizard, crackerjack, superstar, and hotshot” OH, and of course …
      “EXPERT”! 😉

  • Love, love, LOVE this, Melanie! Thank you for the big smiles and so many laugh-out-loud moments. This blog of yours made my day — and not in the platitude kind of way, but in the most genuine, “I am beaming!” kind of way 🙂

    • Hey Katherine!

      Wowzers! A blog visit from you is more refreshing and invigorating than a long soak in the tub with some Calgon. 🙂

      Glad you enjoyed this [epic] piece. LOL!

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  • What a great word to ONLY use at those true moments that are really EPIC. I so agree with you….there are some truly epic moments that no other can compare to but to use it when it’s not is just plain wrong. But I still like at the end of the day for a few moments when the point that needs to be made is really strong…can’t help it! I do think it is overused though….Love your choice!

    • Good point, Michelle. We need to “pick and choose” the right words when we’re expressing a thought – words that carry true meaning. There’s so much use of colloquialisms and shorthand text messaging these days, words are starting to lose their meaning and effectiveness in communication.

      I don’t mean to sound like a prude or some stuffed shirt. I like to play around with words as much as the next guy. But “epic pizza”?! Nope. That’s just plain wrong. Epic carries too big a meaning to describe something as ordinary as dough and sauce.

      Thanks so much for the visit! 🙂

  • Yeah Melanie! Epic win. 😉

    Although I would like to take a vacation in a parallel universe, that shiz would be epic.

    In all seriousness though, I totally agree that the poor little word epic has been drug through the mud so many times that it’s now meaningless, where it used to be so punchy.

    Words go through cycles of popularity, sometimes they need to be retired for a while. I’ll support the removal of epic to the convalescent home of tired words.

    • “Epic win” … fraternal twin to “epic fail”. LOL!

      I agree with you 100% that words go through “cycles” of popularity. Just like all the latest and greatest fashion trends. Bell bottoms, anyone? 😉

      Thanks for joining the conversation, Ashley.

  • OH MY GOSH! I have been trying to eradicate “at the end of the day” from my vocabulary. I don’t know when I picked that up but it’s like saying “um”. It sort of slips in and then you have to stuff it back down before it comes out again.

    Epic has also be corrupted. I think it was probably cute the first time someone said “epic fail” but then it got all overused and… buzzy. So I’m with you on that one, too. I don’t mind the crossing of nouns and verbs. That can be fun. But it’s only fun the first eight billion time, if you know what I mean.

    • I catch myself on that one (“at the end of the day”), too, Carol Lynn. It’s really a simple fix. Replace the phrase with “ultimately”. But do we do that?! No!

      Here’s one that really, really, REALLY makes me cringe …
      Let’s “touch bases”. Aaaargh!!

      And how about “on the same page”? Fingernails down the chalkboard!

  • it is generational, but we can teach our kids to use the full range of the language. Why be vague when you can be precise? Oh, and I agree about “awesome” too. 🙂

    • Ditto that, Sharon! My youngest daughters do SO much text messaging, they’re lives revolve around using shorthand and jargon for the majority of their communications. Ugh. We can’t blame our kids for being high tech these days, can we? It’s the way of the world.

      When it comes to business, marketing, and writing, “specificity” rules. 🙂

  • Okay, now this is too weird, Melanie. I just came from a business writing blog that asked for our most hated cliché How epic is that? 😉

    • That’s not only uncanny, Cathy, it’s pretty darn EPIC! LOL!

      So what’s the cliche you hate the most?

      • Too many to choose from. For businesses it includes: Think outside the box (who said you can’t have an original thought inside the box?), Paradigm shift (reminds me of math for some reason), win-win (no-no). I could take this to epic proportions. 😉

        • Those are doozies, for sure, Cathy! They’re on my radar, as well. Yes! We could all take this to “epic proportions”. LOL!

          I wrote a post some time ago entitled, “There is No Box to Think Outside of”. 😉

  • Some of this is — of course — a generational thing. The kids these days! Thinking everything they do is epic. But I’m with you…there are way WAY too many things being described as epic or awesome that make me want to poke my eyes out. Here’s hoping we can counter just a bit of that.

    • Poking my eyes out right along with you, Tea.

      You’re right. A lot of the jargon and colloquialism is “generational”. I should know. I’m the mom of two millennials. 😉

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