Few would dispute that UK higher education is "world class", or that the vast majority of its academics do "excellent" work.
But glowing claims to greatness are so often overused by institutions that they have become meaningless in higher education, academics will argue this week.
At a debate at the annual conference of the Higher Education Academy in Harrogate, David Watson, professor of higher education management at the Institute of Education, was due to lead the argument.
"One of the most damaging features of our current estate is the way in which we have colluded in the devaluation and irresponsible misuse of (such) terms," he said, mentioning no names.
An internet search for the phrase "world-class university" found 1.1 million mentions on UK websites, and 10,900 times when the search is restricted to the "ac.uk" academic network.