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Business Lexicon of Evil

This article was written by in Career and Work, Fun and Contests. 12 comments.

I couldn’t agree more with the Anne Fisher. According to her article in Fortune, she despises business buzzwords.

I’m all for the malleability and transformation of the English language, but for some reason I cringe when I hear certain phrases. I understand that with the use of any jargon, it’s just a case of individuals attempting to identify with a group (in this case, businesspeople or motivational speakers), most of the time the phrases aren’t even used correctly.

Here are Annie’s doubleplusungood phrases that I, also, happen to find coarse and vulgar:

* bottom line, when not referring to a financial statement and meaning conclusion
* no-brainer
* going forward
* touch base
* win-win
* core competencies
* mission-critical

Now, some of mine:
* value-added
* rightsizing
* utilize (the word you meant to utilize is use.)

Any others to add? In the mean time, play Business Buzzword Bingo.

Updated May 12, 2011 and originally published August 5, 2005. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .


avatar Madame X

How about “best practices?” That one gets on my nerves.
I’ve also noticed a lot of people saying something “moves the needle” lately.

avatar Doobie

Wow. I use 90% of those every day. Here’s a new one: cycles. Definition is unclear, but I think it’s either time or resources…possibly both. As in, “I’d have someone in my group do that, but we don’t have enough cycles”

avatar mmb

ha! I use every single one of them almost everyday. Same with best practices. Hey, I author best practices articles too. I haven’t heard cycle in that context though. Here’s it’s bandwidth. As in “I don’t have enough bandwidth to handle that request right now.”

Interesting article but I am not sure I agree with the author. These words are no more coarse or vulgar than Russian or German or any other language is coarse or vulgar. Every profession develops their own jargon. Doctor’s have it, construction workers have it and so do white collar professionals. It’s annoying when overused and amusing when misused or used out of context but I don’t get the pseudo-intellectual stance against it that seem people choose to adopt. What’s the big deal?

avatar Luke Landes

“Coarse and vulgar” was a little hyperbole on my part. Think Jon Goodman’s character in O Brother, Where Art Thou: “I generally refrain from speech during gustation. There are some who attempt both, but I find it coarse and vulgar.”

avatar nickel

How funny. Just the other day I ran across the term ‘cycles’ in the context that Doobie mentioned. Even having seen it used in context, the precise definition still escapes me.


avatar mbhunter

The one that gets me is using “leverage” or “transition” — or any other noun, for that matter — as a verb.

http://www.buzzwhack.com has a slew of great ones, BTW.