Mighty Red Pen

June 24, 2008

Office-speak for yourself

Filed under: Pop culture,Wordsworthy — mighty red pen @ 6:29 pm
Tags: ,

Hat tip to David for this little tidbit, “50 Office-Speak Phrases You Love to Hate.”

This was my favorite, although sprinkling our magic isn’t one I’m familiar with:

17. “I work in one of those humble call centres for a bank. Apparently, what we’re doing at the moment is sprinkling our magic along the way. It’s a call centre, not Hogwarts.”
Caroline Garlick, Ayrshire

Two that I encountered this week that I’d like to strike from the face of the earth were stakeholder and interface, as in The meeting will allow all the relevant stakeholders to interface in a meaningful way.

Please share any that you’d like to send off to Neverland.

Also, visit our friends at the Engine Room for more conversation on this one.



  1. One I particularly hate is “let’s take this offline.” What the hell does that even MEAN???? But apparently I have a lot of “offline” conversations. Whatever.

    Comment by cookiezim — June 24, 2008 @ 7:46 pm | Reply

  2. Any noun that used to be a verb. “I have a bring-up” or “Here is your take-away from the meeting.”

    Comment by Kaji — June 24, 2008 @ 10:31 pm | Reply

  3. I also hate nouns that used to be verbs, particularly curb, date, elbow, head, interview, panic, park, service, feature, chair, loan, office and contact.

    Comment by goofy — June 25, 2008 @ 9:33 am | Reply

  4. And my wonderful sarcasm backfires. Those are verbs that used to be nouns. These are nouns that used to be verbs: invite, command, meld and request.

    Comment by goofy — June 25, 2008 @ 9:34 am | Reply

  5. If I hear anyone say “lessons learned” one more time, I swear to God, I’m just going to snap. Don’t even get me started on “path forward.” And I’m with goofy when it comes to “request.” It’s not that there’s anything wrong with the word itself. It’s just that whenever I see it in a document, I know I’ve been strapped in for a nauseating ride on the World-a-Whirl. What’s wrong with just saying “ask”?

    Comment by Editrix — June 25, 2008 @ 1:08 pm | Reply

  6. Ha! The company I work for basically speaks in nothing BUT buzzwords. They all make me shudder, but my least favorite is “chunking.”

    Plus, our writers have some odd vendetta against the word “use,” preferring instead to write “utilize.” Why write a three-letter word when a seven-letter word will do? 😛

    Comment by Beth — June 25, 2008 @ 1:31 pm | Reply

  7. Oops. I meant “Word-a-Whirl.” Can you tell I’ve been staring at jargon for the past six hours?

    Comment by Editrix — June 25, 2008 @ 1:52 pm | Reply

  8. @Beth: I’m afraid to ask, but what does “chunking” mean?

    Comment by Editrix — June 25, 2008 @ 1:53 pm | Reply

  9. “Learnings.” Short for “lessons learned,” I suppose.

    Comment by Z — June 25, 2008 @ 3:51 pm | Reply

  10. @Editrix, I’m glad you asked what “chunking” means, I was afraid to . . .

    @Beth, you should come work at my office, where one of our editors regularly has conniptions over the fact that people write “utilize” instead of “use”!

    Comment by mighty red pen — June 25, 2008 @ 7:02 pm | Reply

  11. @Editrix: Apparently “chunking” refers to breaking down skill sets (learnings!) in a training program into discrete groups. I think. I refuse to acknowledge it as a word, though, so I could be wrong. Also I’m super mature and every time I come across it I like to make gagging sounds for the entertainment of everyone in the office.

    @mightyredpen: That would be bad, because then there would be two people having conniptions simultaneously. 😉

    Comment by Beth — June 26, 2008 @ 10:14 am | Reply

  12. Maybe it’s not office-speak, but I hear it there more than anywhere else: the word “basically”, usually prefacing a complex explanation. Tirade on the name link.

    “Refactor” is another one.

    Comment by tk. — June 26, 2008 @ 10:46 am | Reply

  13. ‘Sprinking our magic’ – is that office-speak? I thought it was just a cliche.

    ‘Chunking’ – isn’t that what you do when you have too much to drink and can’t keep your kebab down?

    And yes, my former chief sub also had “conniptions over the fact that people write ‘utilize’ instead of ‘use'”! Although in his case it was usually ‘utilise’…

    Comment by JD — June 28, 2008 @ 10:13 am | Reply

  14. my boss uses “full disclosure” all the time. drives me insane because i don’t think he even knows what full disclosure means.

    Comment by barbie2be — July 1, 2008 @ 5:50 pm | Reply

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