back to article Gen Z and Millennials don't know what their colleagues are talking about half the time

OK, people, let's engage in some proactive ideation and synergize cross-functionally to leverage our core competencies and maximize deliverables. Let's think outside the box and optimize our bandwidth while aligning our key performance indicators. Remember to touch base and provide visibility on the low-hanging fruit, ensuring …

  1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge


    Blowing up the police ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: COP/EOD

      I fought the law and the law didn't win?

      As an aside I see a lot of articles talking about Gen Z this and Gen Z that but the things attributed to Gen Z don't ring true with my Gen Z kids or their group of friends... or any one they know. I seem to remember the same problem when the media were talking about my generation when we were late teens/young adults... sigh! Besides which, a lot of what we thought then changed as we grew up and experienced the world.... our dreams were cruelly crushed and cast aside leaving us hollow husks of what could have been..... I must stop drinking beer at lunch time :-)

      1. TimMaher Silver badge

        Re: “what could have been”

        “The mass of men live lives of quiet desperation.”

        Thanks Thoreau.

        1. PhilBuk

          Re: “what could have been”

          It’s the English way.

      2. PRR Silver badge

        Re: COP/EOD

        > talking about my generation

        5th November 1965

        1. MrBanana

          Re: COP/EOD

          Have a beer, and 27 upvotes.

      3. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: COP/EOD

        “Our sires’ age was worse than our grandsires’. We, their sons, are more worthless than they; so in our turn we shall give the world a progeny yet more corrupt.”

        Horace circa 23 BCE

        Older generations have been complaining about "the youth of today" for millennia. It's ok, they'll be dead sooner ;)

        1. Christoph

          Re: COP/EOD

          "Times are bad. Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book."

          -- Marcus Tullius Cicero

        2. ryokeken

          THIS exactly

          thank you, I’m off to the rabbit hole now.I you know the quote you probably also know Vsauce's version of your comment (seems to me lol) on youtube i think it's called Juvenoia

        3. a pressbutton

          Re: COP/EOD

          they'll be dead sooner ;)

          for the first time for a rather long time, that might not be true.

      4. ryokeken

        Re: COP/EOD


    2. Vincent Ballard

      Re: COP/EOD

      I thought it must be a typo for COB (close of business/end of day), but it's repeated so I'm starting to think it's something else.

      1. Coastal cutie

        Re: COP/EOD

        Close of play - same as close of business

        1. GNoMe

          Re: COP/EOD

          never heard of COP (close of play) before and apparently neither has Google.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: COP/EOD

            it's a sporting reference I think from cricket - we must get a wicket before 'close of play' (end of the days cricket or before the next break)

            1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

              Re: COP/EOD

              >it's a sporting reference I think from cricket

              I thought it was Explosive Ordnance Disposal ? Perhaps for the more extreme forms of the sport?

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                Re: COP/EOD

                Yeah, I'm pretty sure either The Goodies[1] or Monty Python[2] did sketch with exploding cricket balls at some point.

                [1] Apologies to Millennials and later. Look them up.

                [2] See [1]

                1. ryokeken

                  Re: COP/EOD

                  Monty Python is much better than you remember that's why one way or another millennials and younger know who they are

                2. a pressbutton

                  Re: COP/EOD

                  The Goodies did a song about string

                  That song provides 50% of our entire infrastructure and methods of operation

                  looking for a song on sellotape.

          2. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: COP/EOD

            Cricket term.

        2. obzai

          Re: COP/EOD

          Ugh. What kind of maladjusted maniac uses "play" to describe the work day. Yes, fine, sports, whatever; stop talking.

          I've only ever heard COB/EOD and anyone who says it's P deserves to live there forever, with all the writhing that comes with that kind of existence in purgatory.

          1. anothercynic Silver badge

            Re: COP/EOD

            Stockbrokers and investment weenies.

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: COP/EOD

            US business slang seems to be even more full of sporting metaphors even than English.

          3. Ideasource Bronze badge

            Re: COP/EOD

            Maybe me.

            I often call hard labor with a crew a "work party".

            When framing a house in the snow "beach party in the Bahamas"

            On account of all the white sandy beaches (snow) everywhere even if there's no ocean nearby.

            Try and get the whole crew making jokes, so that the work gets done and nobody quits.

    3. Barry Rueger

      Re: COP/EOD

      Just this week someone was expressing frustration at news writers who regurgitate Cop-speak.

      The example used was "attended a motor vehicle accident" as opposed to "went to."

      Also notable was the reporting of pedestrians being run over, referring to them being hit by "a vehicle" with no mention of the driver holding the steering wheel.

      1. Helcat

        Re: COP/EOD

        It's frustrating if you don't understand what the terms mean in the context they're used. Takes me a moment to remember that it can become habit when we use those terms regularly.

        Yes, am a volunteer first responder - so I respond to an incident if I go there but don't need to take action, or attend the incident if I arrive and actually do something. And we talk about incidents as we don't assume what happened was an accident, negligence or deliberate act.

        To other folk, I go to an accident and help where I can.

        As to being hit by a vehicle: That's because it's not established as to if there was a driver in control. Could be they were... not in control of the vehicle (incapacitated) or not in control (had lost control).

        Reporters tend to use the terms they heard rather than translate to more common terms due to a) being lazy, b) not really understanding what's meant and/or c) not wanting to get into trouble by getting the translation wrong.

        As for the COP/EOD - am more accustomed to the COB (Close Of Business) or EOD being used (but not together).

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: COP/EOD

          "Reporters tend to use the terms they heard rather than translate to more common terms due to a) being lazy, b) not really understanding what's meant and/or c) not wanting to get into trouble by getting the translation wrong."

          Or, sometimes, because they are either uneducated or not concentrating properly and make a mistake.

          Yesterday, I spotted two stories where "loaned" was used instead of "borrowed" and on todays Local BBC TV News, the reporter talking about astronomy called it astrology :-)

          Ah here's one of them. Caption for one of the photos read "PC Mike Jelly has loaned a full size RS200 from the Ford Heritage Centre, and helped Scalextric create a slot car version"

        2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: COP/EOD

          >As to being hit by a vehicle:

          You mean a nonconsenting momentum transfer interaction?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: COP/EOD

            Just because it was a painful bang and left them limping, doesn't mean it wasn't consensual.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: COP/EOD

      OK, people, let's engage in some proactive ideation and synergize cross-functionally to leverage our core competencies and maximize deliverables. Let's think outside the box and optimize our bandwidth while aligning our key performance indicators. Remember to touch base and provide visibility on the low-hanging fruit.

      If that's confusing .. you do not need to make any important choices cause that's really simple and uses less stupid more direct than the slang people throw around.

      Only part that's not clear is bandwidth. Tho it's easy to figure out that it means capabilities at any given task.

      Kinda sad cause it literally just traded words for things that most people know very well and should have the common sense to be able to figure out without even trying.

      Funny cause I'm a millennial as well so how's my gen not get it.

      1. bigsegs

        Re: COP/EOD

        jargon? I'm 51 and ive never really used ANY of these buzzwords... the very thought of hearing them gives me warning bells "here comes another twonk that's trying to steal my cannabis and sell it back to me"..

        I'm a construction worker in the domestic sector recently decided to start a bootcamp in software engineering and when we got to async, react, CSS HTML all at once I realised I hadn't got a bloody clue what was going on with modern day programming bearing in mind I fiddled about with a zx81 and wrote breakout in 6502 assembly age 21 ish after getting a zx81 when I was about 11... thought I was ok with computers.. now this.. and you here this crud all over linkedin where they tell you to go get a job from and I'm wondering if I've ended up making a really bad decision..

        to me COP means "coefficient of performance" and is related to the infamous "air source heat pumps" the Tories got there fingers in a year or 2 back because they were cheap to buy in China and once imported they sell for £££££ close of play? end of day? jargon?

        1. david 12 Silver badge

          Re: COP/EOD

          COP means "coefficient of performance"

          I'm in the energy sector now, (so I know what "Coefficient Of Performance" means), and I'm old enough to remember card decks.

          EOD means "End Of Data".

      2. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: COP/EOD

        Of course it's easy to translate that into human: "Let's do some work as soon as I'm done talking". If you want to translate each part, though, not so easy. For example, what does "synergize cross-functionally" mean? It's very clear that we're supposed to be doing it, but not clear on how we do that. The good news is that anyone can basically skim over it and assume that it means "work with each other", or more likely ignore it entirely and work the way they were already going to, but that is not what the words entirely mean. Someone who has worked for a few weeks will know what the key performance indicators are, but that doesn't automatically mean that they know what they're supposed to do to "align" them, although their assumption of "keep them looking positive, like you were already planning to" is likely to be close enough. People can learn the "low hanging fruit" analogy easy enough, but what does "provide visibility" on that mean? That you should work on it? That you should tell someone about it (who)? That you should write it down? That you should avoid focusing on that alone, which is probably a good idea but not implied by the words?

        If it's just about understanding that the person talking wants you to work well, it's very easy to understand. If anybody says this stuff with a more specific plan of action in mind, they are not actually succeeding at communicating that plan to anybody. It's like the announcement for a new tech product where the release describes it as advanced, flexible, stable, smaller and lighter, faster processing, more memory, and after reading it all you know for sure is that they have a new product out there, but you can't tell any important details about what it will be like until they release the spec sheet.

      3. iron Silver badge

        Re: COP/EOD

        Apparently you are the singular individual in your generation who understands the concept of a metaphor. Note nothing to do with Facebook!

        OR this "research" is the typical bullshit spouted by vacuous researchers.

    5. Sudosu Bronze badge

      Re: COP/EOD

      Careful, they may send a *SWAT Team

      *Staff Without Adequate Training

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. Alien Doctor 1.1

    Thanks El Reg...

    I've got a migraine after trying to grok that first paragraph.

    1. Joe W Silver badge

      Re: Thanks El Reg...

      Me to. And I am apparently (from the definition of the age groups) old.

      I would not call that "jargon" - for me "jargon" is the technical lingo or even the stupid roles / names / abbreviations that bigger projects tend to create around / inside them. It is not the use of weasel words à la Moist von Lipwig.

      1. CommonBloke

        Re: Thanks El Reg...

        Then again, all that corporate-bullspeak is just the shiny new "leadership product" sold by marketing scammers to incompetent idiots at the top of companies. Zoomers will eventually fall for the same sales pitch under a different name in 20-30 years. Get your <currently relevant> certification today! Oh, and sign up for the level 2 certification next year for a big discount!

        The fact that, despite everyone and their dog spotting corporate bullshit from a mile away and despising it, is not enough for corps/"decision makers" to stop using it, is what should be studied.

        1. Tomato42

          Re: Thanks El Reg...

          That's because most of the manglement is older generation, and the only way they can make themselves relevant is by using new buzzwords and corporate lingo.

          Putting in actual work? Ha!

      2. 43300 Silver badge

        Re: Thanks El Reg...

        The phrases they list above fall into the "management bollocks" category, and in my experience people of all ages tend to despise them unless they are (or aspire to be) in the maglement ranks - specifically those roles who 'manage' but aren't directly responsible for doing any of the actual work themselves...

        1. Hans 1

          Re: Thanks El Reg...

          "Manglement bollocks"


        2. Snake Silver badge

          Re: Management bollocks

          Exactly. I easily parsed every phrase, and every phrase was simply "[You] need to work hard and get more business" inside a pablum regurgitation of "I look like I know what I'm doing because I can use these words in a continuous sentence."

          My suggestion? Forget the old adage so in this case: Kill the messenger. Nobody will really miss him.

        3. Helcat

          Re: Thanks El Reg...

          One term I'd happily keep is KISS.

          Keep It Simple, Stupid! (or variations of that theme).

          Be clear, be concise and don't use jargon as it alienates those who don't know that particular brand of garbled nonsense. People who use jargon either know their audience and are confident everyone knows what's being said, OR (most commonly) those who don't know what they're saying but want to sound like they know more than everyone else (or just don't care).

          Oh, and the only stupid questions are the one where they already know the answer and are just being a PITA by asking it, or the one that isn't asked when clarification is needed.

          Hence: I tend to ask people to repeat what they've just said but use English if they spout gibberish. If they can: Great! And if they refuse: Then what they said wasn't important.

      3. that one in the corner Silver badge

        Re: Thanks El Reg...

        You must have missed the memo. Management have retroactively repurposed the nomenclature "jargon" to better synergise with their visions.[1]

        [1] and the voices.

      4. LybsterRoy Silver badge

        Re: Thanks El Reg...

        -- "jargon" is the technical lingo --

        Yup, and as a wrinklie I remember discussing this with an accountant who demanded we stoped using jargon like RAM, ROM CPU etc and was most offended when I quietly muttered creditor, debtor, P&L etc

    2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: Thanks El Reg...

      I've got a migraine after trying to grok that first paragraph.

      TL;DR This is yet another meeting that blocks out the boss's diary, so make the most of the coffee and donuts.

      I think after a while and far too many of these meetings, your brain develops a BS filter and only triggers when something tangible gets discussed. There's probably an interesting research project in figuring a way to auto-transcribe these meetings* and calculate the signal to noise ratio. Brevity and conciseness are no longer in the modern business dictionaries. It'd be an easy new metric to improve business efficiency and employee's well-being by identifying and terminating the ones who talk the most wafflebollocks.

      *No minutes? No meeting.

      1. dlc.usa

        Re: Thanks El Reg...

        Surely there is an inverse correlation between quantities of waffle-speak and tangible value-add to the enterprise. Has this not been documented somewhere?

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: Thanks El Reg...

          Surely there is an inverse correlation between quantities of waffle-speak and tangible value-add to the enterprise. Has this not been documented somewhere?

          Probably. The bit-rate of various languages has always fascinated me. A joy of travelling is going around the world and hearing various people speaking in tongues. Some languages sound like people are speaking very fast, some very slowly. I think that's a holdover from working in telecomms, and also remembering being taught Latin at school. Speaking that seemed very slow and awkward, especially compared to listening to their descendents having an argument.

          But there are a lot of research papers on this. I can't remember which languages are ranked highest, but Manglement wouldn't be. Especially when looking at SNR. It's strange that a lot of abbreviations originated from the good'ol days of radio, telegram and telex, then were adopted by our feckless yoof to use with SMS. Or the dreaded Twitter, where you had to go viral in 140 chars or less. But technology moved on. We went from using simple plain-text ASCII in emails to HTML, which allowed more style over content and bandwidth upgrades.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Thanks El Reg...

        "There's probably an interesting research project in figuring a way to auto-transcribe these meetings* and calculate the signal to noise ratio."

        IIRC, Hari Seldon did that and went on to develop it into Psychohistory (or will do, depending on which universe or timeline you are in while reading this)

        Something about a "semantic analysis" of a long winded politicians speech which, taken in it's entirety, said precisely nothing.

    3. Someone Else Silver badge

      Re: Thanks El Reg...

      I've got a migraine after trying to grok that first paragraph.

      Migraines aside, I got BINGO on 3 cards!

      Oh, and wasn't it the Boomers that came up with Buzzword Bingo, in response/disgust to the Me Generation (Gen X)'s obfuscatory excess in trying to regularize their developing corporate greed?

    4. deadlockvictim

      Weird Al «Mission Statement»

      Weird Al's song «Mission Statement» came to mind when I attempted that first paragraph.

      At least the author didn't attempt to architect anything.

      The YouTube video is here:

      1. Wzrd1 Silver badge

        Re: Weird Al «Mission Statement»

        As I was transliterating that into English, I was also considering (yeah, multitasking) how filtering that a half dozen times through ChatGPT and sending it back to confirm the intention of the originator would be.

        Of course, I'm over 60, so am fresh out of craps to give.

        1. Zebranky

          Re: Weird Al «Mission Statement»

          @Wzrd1, I think you have just found the best use of the current generation of LLM's, translating corporate BS into something meaningful.

          Because lefts face it, if the LLM give us gibberish in response we are no worse off than we were.

          As an experiment I plugged the leading paragraph of the article into a Vicuna-13b model.

          "summarize and simplify the meaning of the following text, "OK, people, let's ..."

          And got the following response

          "The text is about improving productivity and achieving goals by brainstorming ideas, working together and using resources effectively. It suggests thinking creatively, staying focused on important tasks, and using data to make informed decisions. The goal is to optimize the organization's performance and achieve ambitious objectives."

          Actually on second thought maybe this simply means that the corporate types who love to use the BS Jargon can now be replaced by LLM's so we can get some work done :-)

          Have a beer on me, I'm happy to finally find something a LLM is useful for.

    5. Wzrd1 Silver badge

      Re: Thanks El Reg...

      I've, alas, received more than my share of memos that are fairly close to that.

      As I parse through and transliterate it into proper English, I have to run it through a special mental filter, as well as buzzword context transliteration.

      The filter is simple enough: I realize that 99.99% of the time, the one issuing said buzzword dense screeds have absolutely no damned idea in the world what they're blathering about.

      I have been known to retaliate, using plain English, to repeat back the transliterated version, being as dense as humanly imaginable, to request clarification on key points. Heaven save the poor SOB that used circular thinking or really doesn't know what they were saying, as I infamously do not suffer fools well, regardless of which section of which floor they currently briefly occupy.

      Difficult originators or repeat offenders have been known to suffer a serious industrial accident involving the new electric urinal, which mysteriously is connected to a proximity card reader that's keyed to their newly issued card.

      Which reminds me, I really need to check on my bid for that auction for a wood chipper...

    6. RobDog

      Re: Thanks El Reg...

      ‘Grok’ is bad enough. I know what it means but it still sounds like baby talk.

      1. that one in the corner Silver badge

        Grok sounds like baby talk

        The splendid irony is that, of *course* it sounds like baby talk!

        I always thought that was a clever move by Heinlein.

        Working with the old idea that languages will tend to use the shortest and simplest words not for the simplest concept but for those most often encountered: up, cat, fork etc; you see this happening with commonplace acceptable abbreviations for the voiture omnibus or telephone.

        *All* of those simple words are the ones we teach our children very early on, for the obvious reason that they deal with the things our offspring encounter as frequently as we do. But because we grownups also need to use them, and consider what they refer to as commonplace, you just accept the usage without taking any special note of it.

        So Heinlein takes a concept that is, oh so very rarely encountered in Real Life and gives it a really short and simple name, knowing that it "sounds like baby talk" (even readers pointed this out; others took it and ran).

        Heinlein is pointing out that this Really Good Thing, which is totally commonplace for Valentine Michael Smith, known to him since infancy, is so very much lacking in our society.

      2. Sudosu Bronze badge

        Re: Thanks El Reg...

        "Scrobble" makes my eye twitch.

    7. Mr Humbug

      Re: Thanks El Reg...

      It just says 'let's have a think about how we can make things better'

      Of course putting it like that doesn't justify £5,000 per day

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Thanks El Reg...

        Exactly that. It's expensive consultants trying to justify their fees that come up with this bullshit. On the other hand, an actual, real-life *good* consultant will come up with ideas and suggestions and not need to use the BS because they understand what they are doing and often it's the "new pair of eyes" which sees the obvious, unlike the incumbent manglement/C-levels who can't see the wood for the trees. Sadly, they are a rare breed.

    8. Plest Silver badge

      Re: Thanks El Reg...

      There's no hope for me, I almost understood it and started laughing. Call the men in white coats with the big butterfly net, I'm too far gone!

    9. Piro Silver badge

      Re: Thanks El Reg...

      I mean, I read it, I can comprehend it, but it hurts to read.

      Actively unpleasant to read.

    10. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: Thanks El Reg...

      The look on my face when manglement start saying that stuff seems to do the trick. I can’t give any tips on how to replicate it though, as it just happens.

      1. jvf

        Re: Thanks El Reg...

        Back in the day, while I was washing up in the restroom, our company’s VP of marketing came in with one of his out of town sales guys. “How did you like the meeting”, Bud said. “It was great” says the sales guy, “I’ve reviewed my action items and see a clear path forward!” As I left I said “Bud, if anything like that ever comes out of my mouth, just shoot me”

        1. Adrian Harvey

          Re: Thanks El Reg...

          "while I was washing up in the restroom"

          Wait! You were cleaning your dishes in the toilet?!? Or have I mistranslated *your* jargon?

  4. Electric Panda

    "The survey quizzed 1,016 employees in the UK aged 18 to 76"

    Blimey, still working in the corporate world aged 76? Even with the current economic disaster we're seeing this is still very uncommon.

    1. Alien Doctor 1.1

      Probably the shelf-stackers at my local Asda

      1. ravenviz Silver badge

        Do you mean replenishment operatives?

        1. _Elvi_

          .. One lump, or two ..

          .. Just pushing the Tea trolley; through the aisles of reality wishing for the end.. That's me ..

          1. TimMaher Silver badge

            Re: .. One lump, or two ..

            And then, finally, you lose your temper and lash out.

            One lump and then two more.

            1. that one in the corner Silver badge

              Re: .. One lump, or two ..

              It was always obvious that a ginger snap could take an edge, but how that was done with a bourbon and a pink wafer we may never find out. We really, really hope we never find out.

              1. Wzrd1 Silver badge

                Re: .. One lump, or two ..

                It was always obvious that a ginger snap could take an edge, but how that was done with a bourbon and a pink wafer we may never find out. We really, really hope we never find out.

                Oh, that's standard training that's conducted by the BOTF to all new trainees.

            2. Wzrd1 Silver badge

              Re: .. One lump, or two ..

              Which is why that fine silver hammer is part of the standard kit on any corporate tea trolley.

              1. that one in the corner Silver badge

                Re: .. One lump, or two ..

                Hmm, Maxwell's

    2. Alistair

      Blimey, still working in the corporate world aged 76?

      At a guess, pension slaughtered by the financial shenanigans in the 80's/90's. I know of more than a few in that situation over here too.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      ""The survey quizzed 1,016 employees in the UK aged 18 to 76""

      It gets worse: "defining the younger generation as those born between 1981 and 2012". These born in 2012 aren't even teenagers, let alone 18. Child labour?

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Yes, current grad schemes are employing the class of 2022, so born around the turn of the millennium. Anyone born in 2012 will be in year 7 or 8 so barely started high school.

      2. Ian Mason

        We prefer to think of it as a way of utilising the vigour and enthusiasm of our younger colleagues in an agile environment not driven by traditional monetary rewards rather than "child slavery".

        1. Intractable Potsherd

          Very good!

        2. imanidiot Silver badge

          You got a smile on my face for that one. Congrats.

    4. Rufus McDufus

      It's the employees born in 2012 I'm more concerned about.

    5. rafff

      "still working in the corporate world aged 76? "

      #MeToo, though only in a fairly desultory way. It paid the bills, with a minimum of effort on my part..

  5. Filippo Silver badge

    >Even more shamefully, 83 percent used a word they didn't know the meaning of in a professional situation.

    Does it count if I'm using a word that I fully know has no meaning in said situation?

    1. 43300 Silver badge

      The challenge is to make up a word or use one to mean something which it doesn't mean, and see how many people you can get to start doing the same!

      1. This is my handle

        Spot on!

        "OEM" :-)

        1. Someone Else Silver badge

          Re: Spot on!

 a verb!

          1. ariels-again

            Re: Spot on!

            El Reg are really OEMing here: getting their readers to wordsmith their blueskying for them.

        2. Sudosu Bronze badge

          Re: Spot on!

          I have a NOS NOS bottle.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        re. challenge is to make up a word or use one to mean something which it doesn't mean

        been there, done that:

        - Then you should say what you mean - the March Hare went on.

        - I do, - Alice hastily replied; - at least — at least I mean what I say — that's the same thing, you know. -

        - Not the same thing a bit! - said the Hatter. -You might just as well say that "I see what I eat" is the same thing as "I eat what I see"! -

        1. Bebu Silver badge

          Re: re. challenge is to make up a word or use one to mean something which it doesn't mean

          《- Then you should say what you mean - the March Hare went on.

          - I do, - Alice hastily replied; - at least — at least I mean what I say — that's the same thing, you know. -

          - Not the same thing a bit! - said the Hatter. -You might just as well say that "I see what I eat" is the same thing as "I eat what I see"!》

          (Sir?) Humpty appears to have had the last word:

          “When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

          ’The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

          ’The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.”


    2. Ball boy Silver badge

      Gentlemen*, I give you layer caking.

      As in: "I think the consultant is layer-caking the meeting. Shall we dip out for a pint?" No, don't ask me what it means - but it sounds excellent!

      *By convention. Of course, I mean 'anyone wot is reading this' - but I'm an oldie and we're stuck in our ways.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "I'm an oldie and we're stuck in our ways."

        And why not? They're the best ways in which to be stuck.

      2. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

        Defined in the most excellent film of the same name as each person shitting all over the person below them in the hierarchy. "Welcome to the Layer Cake, son".

        On a related note, I'd suggest changing consultants.

      3. Stork


  6. Yorick Hunt Silver badge

    Uniting the world

    Language and linguistic nuances might differ from region to region or generation to generation, but bullshit knows no bounds.

    That type of dialogue is a great indicator of a company about to go belly up (or become a government contractor, politicians are always keen to welcome fellow bullshitters into their steads).

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Uniting the world

      Precisely. Most of that list isn't actual jargon. Just a bunch of bullshit phrases that carry little or no content. Jargon normally refers to a shared body of professional language based on shared tasks and experiences. That crap is based on no true foundation beyond trying to sound whizzy. Jargon would be using a name or phrase for a process that everyone is engaged in. Like when teachers refer to an INSET day. Or a chef mentions a "cremo" (Probably cremaux or something) or "soo vee"

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Uniting the world

        It’s not a generational thing either, some of those phrases have been in use for decades.

        The social media / web world has its own lexicon of banal overused crap, and even Register forums has its own subset of too often repeated banalities.

        It seems to show laziness, exposing people as being incapable of original thought. For example “low hanging fruit” is quite an effective metaphor, but after the 1000th time, at least for me, it is so hackneyed.

        And people have learned not to use “reach out” around me, because I go into full fire mode. Unless they are a member of the Four Tops, then it’s OK.

      2. Vincent Ballard

        Re: Uniting the world

        FYI, sous vide. Cooking vacuum-packed food in a water bath at a carefully controlled temperature. Good example of where a short phrase aids communication among people in the know.

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: Uniting the world

          That's the easy one. I knew what a soo vee is,even if not how it's written. Saying "cremo" on a TV cooking show is a different matter, since so far I've never seen them actually cremoing.The word sounds like it could be lots of things.

          1. that one in the corner Silver badge

            Re: Uniting the world

            If you're food is cremoed, mate, it's time got crack a stubby and throw another snag on the barbie; just keep an eye on it this time, right!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Perfect example of an article that should have been taken offline, way offline and never been circled back.

  8. Big_Boomer


    Communication is all about getting information across. If jargon helps with that then it is useful, but if it is being used for obfuscation then it hinders communication. The problem with a great many in business is that they hear the jargon, mis-understand it and then later mis-use it leading to confusion and bafflement. Worse still are those self-aggrandising "trend-setters" who think that their every pronouncement is pure gold so then invent the most dire bullshit jargon and try to pass it off as "something they heard". Languages need to evolve to fit the needs of their users and natural evolution is best (ask the French about the Académie Française), but when jargon just leads to more confusion then communication fails. Every field has it's jargon including management, but very few use their jargon when talking to those who don't know it,... except for management. Please,... when you are talking to non-managers, leave the jargon out and use plain language. As an example you could say "in the future" instead of "going forward".

    I got sick of management jargon many years ago, so when it came up in smaller meetings I started discussing things in terms of IT/Electronics/Physics jargon and thoroughly enjoyed seeing the confusion on their faces, and of course at later meetings thoroughly enjoyed hearing the jargon I had used completely mis-used by them.

    As for the communication difficulties between generations, nothing new there, and often more difficult to decipher than foreign languages like American and Australian. ;-)

    1. Chris Roberts

      Re: Communication

      It is meeting and memo (remember those?) language used by manglement and marketing to make themselves sound like they are doing something useful and productive. I'm in the older set and like you have occasionally thrown in my own terms just to confuse them. I think the percentages are just that way because we have been exposed for longer learnt to deal with it, not because we like it.

      "Kadir beneath Mo Moteh"

      "Unzak and Vhila as children?"

      1. that one in the corner Silver badge

        Re: Communication

        Shakar, when the walls fell.

        1. imanidiot Silver badge

          Re: Communication

          Kiteo, his eyes closed

          1. Lil Endian Silver badge

            Re: Communication

            Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra.

      2. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Re: Communication

        I'm in the older set and like you have occasionally thrown in my own terms just to confuse them.

        It's even more fun if you're using language that has fallen out of use. The odd occasions when I've managed to interject "Let's not pile Pelion upon Ossa" in the middle of a meeting and got totally blank looks still make me chuckle.

    2. 43300 Silver badge

      Re: Communication

      "Communication is all about getting information across. If jargon helps with that then it is useful, but if it is being used for obfuscation then it hinders communication. The problem with a great many in business is that they hear the jargon, mis-understand it and then later mis-use it leading to confusion and bafflement."

      I've always assumed it comes from the fact that many technical and manufacturing industries and specialisms have a lot of specific jargon and terminology which is genuinely required and relevant in that area, referring to items, technical processes etc. When 'management' invented itself as a supposed specialism in its own right, it had to invent its own argot to try to prove that it was a real specialism (and bamboozle those who didn't understant it). The fact that actually there are no specialist terms required here led to the sort of bollocks we see quoted above. Used 'correctly' or not, who really cares? It remains unnecessary and ridiculous bollocks either way!

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Communication

        I'd just assumed that it was a way to make the routine mundane and banal stuff of managing sound as if it was new, exciting and important, to justify high salaries and consultancy fees.

        Packaging, say, "We need to meet some of the simpler targets first so that we begin to show progress in case the customer gets worried" into "We need to seize the low hanging fruits to synergize our watchouts ensuring the consumer base has confidence lead expectations." (And now I need to go and wash myself with strong soap).

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Communication

      "I'll ping you later" is a rather irksome example

      1. moonhaus

        Re: Communication

        ""I'll ping you later" is a rather irksome example"

        My reply to that is usually "only if I respond".

        1. Big_Boomer

          Re: Communication

          My reply to "I'll ping you later" is "I fear my latency may be too high" :-)

      2. Casca Silver badge

        Re: Communication

        I hope its only one ping

      3. Tom 38

        Re: Communication

        You can ping me anytime, but I may not have the bandwidth to respond

      4. Tim_the_Unenchanter

        Re: Communication

        One ping only, Vassily.

        1. hayzoos

          Re: Communication

          I hope not the ping of death.

      5. Sudosu Bronze badge

        Re: Communication

        One ping, and one ping only.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Communication

      Jargon is the visible manifestation of the Dunning Kruger effect. Those who believe they are leading experts in a field while being effectively clueless covering up their incompetence with a word salad. Real experts in a field tend to explain the subject in plain easily understood language.

      I made the move out of a business and into teaching in higher education. It's no surprise that well written clearly explained essays gain higher marks than jargon filled ramblings.

  9. iwi

    Shock horror. There are intergenerational language differences. Twas ever thus, daddio.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      It's not intergenerational, it's management/marketing/sales vs everyone else (for a change).

      1. CommonBloke


        Were they ever not against everyone else?

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      Many of the terms listed have been irritating people for decades. These are nothing to do with generational difference.

  10. Citizen of Nowhere

    Hollow Lexicon

    So not only are more senior staff running rings around young employees with their hollow lexicon, but they aren't helping them understand either – 69 percent of younger workers say they had to figure this stuff out on their own.

    The only thing anyone need understand is that it's a load of middle and upper management bollocks designed to camouflage their essential pointlessness. And most of the older, productive people got there on their own and probably figure the younger ones will also figure it out for themselves before too long.

  11. heyrick Silver badge

    business bullshit makes them feel "less involved."

    That's a polite way of saying business bullshit is business bullshit.

    Maybe our age means we're less amenable to this nonsense, having heard it far far too often. It's just a way of having some mostly pointless management suck-up speak without actually saying anything... only later to claim that his underlings were indeed informed about "x" or "y" because, well, like Humpty Dumpty, those words mean exactly what he wants them to mean and nothing more.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: business bullshit makes them feel "less involved."

      If the underlings have any experience and wit they'll have asked for "x" and "y" to be explained in plain words. I think in my day I was regarded as a bit of a trouble-maker.

  12. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "Surprisingly, 69 percent of younglings say their colleagues speak in too much jargon at work, while only 38 percent of graybeards have the same misgivings."

    Not too surprising. It just means that some of us have heard it all before, several times around, learned to separate the wheat from the chaff and decode the former. The young are fortunate not to have endured that. Yet.

    At its best a jargon is a specialised vocabulary which enables one to say in a few words what would require many less specialised words to explain fully. It depends on the listener or reader sharing that vocabulary.

    At its worst jargon is a specialised vocabulary taking many words to say that which needs no explanation and could be said in fewer, less specialised words.

    Then there are those who have heard the words of the first, have no understanding of their meaning but trot them out any way, hoping to sound as if they're in the set that does understand them* and mixing them with words of the second.

    * E.g. Amber Rudd with "hashtags".

  13. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "Google a word during a meeting in an attempt to understand what on earth manglement is talking about"

    If it's manglement talking a good approximation would be to start by assuming it has no meaning until you can work it out in context but don't be suspired if you end the meeting without working it out. Retaliate by coining your own term, using it and seeing how the others pick it up and reuse it.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge


      Damned autocorrect! surprised

      1. that one in the corner Silver badge


        A new jargon word! Um, what could it mean?

        "I live and breathe suspicion of anything new" - no, that be "suspiration".

        "My suspicions about this have expired, we should go ahead".

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Suspired

          Suspire is to breathe gently.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Suspired

            Is it not the last muted breath before ascension?

          2. Fr. Ted Crilly Silver badge

            Re: Suspired

            gently with a slight sshhhsshing like grass blowing in the wind, or leaves on trees...

            1. A K Stiles

              Re: Suspired

              I'll bite - Susurration

      2. Terry 6 Silver badge

        I thought you were trying t catch us out. We'll all be using the word in meetings. "The annual watchouts will have suspired and we need to seize the low hanging fruit to circle back and move the needle to ensure we sing from the same hymn sheet"

        1. Sudosu Bronze badge

          What if you need to tell someone to urgently dodge something that will strike or fall on them during the meeting if you cannot use watchout?

    2. Terry 6 Silver badge

      "suspired"? Breathing??

  14. _Elvi_

    .. Blooody Hell ..

    " OK, people, let's engage in some proactive ideation and synergize cross-functionally to leverage our core competencies and maximize deliverables. Let's think outside the box and optimize our bandwidth while aligning our key performance indicators. Remember to touch base and provide visibility on the low-hanging fruit, ensuring we stay on track with our strategic objectives. It's essential to leverage our scalable solutions and adopt a data-driven approach to drive paradigm shifts and achieve our stretch goals. Let's dive deep, drill down into the granular details, and pivot if necessary, all while fostering a culture of continuous improvement."

    That's our company Mission Statement .. !!

    .. I'm going to need a minute, here .. sorry ..

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: .. Blooody Hell ..

      Obligatory Weird Al:

  15. that one in the corner Silver badge

    38 percent of graybeards

    still had some self-worth left and were trying to fight the management Bullshit speak.

    The other 62% *were* The Management and are the ones spouting this bollocks (to be gleefully taken up by the 41% of youngsters in sales and "creative" positions who just follow whatever is trending within a 10 metre radius.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: 38 percent of graybeards

      No, they were the ones who still hadn't worked out it was a load of bollocks to be ignored.

    2. ryokeken

      Re: 38 percent of graybeards sounds like boomer jargon

      greybeards? old folk you mean? people with experience?

      what's with the boomer jargon?

  16. Ryan D

    That first paragraph brought me back

    Ah, that paragraph reads like something cooked up by the vultures at the Strategy Boutique.

    Innovative e-solutions to the sound of whalesong. (I miss my old Strategy Boutique shirt).

    Mine is the one moving forward in pushing back the envelop of corporate paradigm

  17. phils

    Putting this story next to the sponsored one below was a little on the nose.

    "Squaring the circle of sustainable transformation

    The right partner can help CIOs maintain the delicate balance of innovation and sustainability"

  18. Peter2 Silver badge

    This article written by George Orwell is essential reading:-

    I find this particular paragraph quite timeless, given how long ago it would have been written:-

    The writer either has a meaning and cannot express it, or he inadvertently says something else, or he is almost indifferent as to whether his words mean anything or not. This mixture of vagueness and sheer incompetence is the most marked characteristic of modern English prose, and especially of any kind of political writing. As soon as certain topics are raised, the concrete melts into the abstract and no one seems able to think of turns of speech that are not hackneyed: prose consists less and less of words chosen for the sake of their meaning, and more and more of phrases tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated hen-house.

    The reality is that certain people who are utterly ignorant use a stream of meaningless drivel to try and sound like they are actually some kind of high level specialist that actually has some idea of what they are doing. They rely entirely upon other people not challenging them on this and their personal nightmare would be somebody who simply says "are you trying to say A?" and forces them to pin themselves down to a meaning in English; their preference is to essentially gaslight people by forcing them to redefine the meaningless drivel that they spew to actually have some form of worthwhile meaning which they can change at will by saying "no, that's not what I meant".

    1. that one in the corner Silver badge

      Management jargon is at most 6000 years old

      > their preference is to essentially gaslight people by forcing them to redefine the meaningless drivel that they spew to actually have some form of worthwhile meaning which they can change at will by saying "no, that's not what I meant".

      So just like Creationist arguments using the word "kind".

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: Management jargon is at most 6000 years old

        Kind of.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      I particularly liked "the concrete melts into the abstract ". Unfortunately I only got part way through the original article as it became clear he hadn't taken his own advice.

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        In his defense, he admitted this:

        Look back through this essay, and for certain you will find that I have again and again committed the very faults I am protesting against.

        I agree with you, however, that his complaints about others weren't contrasted with a better writing style from him. Part of my difficulty agreeing with the essay might be that most of the stuff he's complaining about isn't common in typical speech anymore, because it was most often focused on overly formal text. While there's certainly plenty of text which makes a point of being excessively formal to show off, I think it's much less common to see it nowadays than it was in his time, based on books, papers, speeches, and many other sources of language from the time.

    3. ryokeken

      i don't understand, there where no millennials who was George Orwell talking about?

      i don't understand, there where no millennials who was George Orwell talking about?teehee

  19. Long John Silver

    Seeking to impress?

    Discussion among professionals in a particular field, e.g. economists, analytic philosophers, theatre 'luvvies', and footballers, may be impenetrable to the casual eavesdropper. That is usually forgivable, sometimes an essential, when 'expert' speaketh unto 'expert'.

    When 'experts' utter unto laymen using an arcane lingo, said experts may be condemned as thoughtless, seeking to impress, arrogant, or simply stupid. A prime example is when Personnel (aka Human Resource) departments issue job advertisements. There appears to have been convergence in opacity and prolixity of language expressing characteristics of desired candidates and outlining the tasks expected of them. Two words are better when one would do, long words impress more than short, and jargon drawn from psychology and social science ices the rotten cake.

    As discussed in the article, nowadays (synonym to 'in this day and age') 'professionals' engaged in management excel at 'management-speak'. Given that 'management' is not strictly a 'profession' in the latter word's original meaning, and that 'management' is lacking a solid base of learning (quality rather than sheer quantity), it is unsurprising that its practitioners seek to impress each other and lay folk too with their ersatz erudition.

    One finds in life that the clearest of thinkers express themselves in the simplest form consistent with getting their messages across to their audiences. Wandering into the discourse of management, social sciences, and practical politics, is an eye opener for people used to language as means of concise, and unambiguous, communication, and in possession of a sensibility recognising that clarity and elegance coexist.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    TB OP

    "Take a Break, Original Poster."

  21. TimMaher Silver badge

    I blame it on...

    ...the worldwide acceptance of MBAs.

    Icon because——->

  22. John 110
  23. Roj Blake Silver badge

    I'll Be There

    In my view, the only people allowed to use the phrase "reach out" are the Four Tops.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'll Be There

      Depeche Mode would like a word...

      1. that one in the corner Silver badge

        Re: I'll Be There

        I feel you, it's no good; enjoy the silence: I just can't get enough.

      2. Excellentsword (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: Re: I'll Be There

        Reach out and touch base!

        1. Fr. Ted Crilly Silver badge

          Re: I'll Be There

          Inside my head, it always sings as 'reach out touch cloth'

          But then i'm an irredeemable bog humour merchant.

          1. that one in the corner Silver badge

            Re: I'll Be There

            "A Touch of Cloth" - must watch that again.

    2. mrjohn

      Re: I'll Be There

      Indeed, and the England 1998 World Cup squad who had a competition to see who could slip the most song titles into interviews, or was it just your imagination?

  24. abend0c4 Silver badge

    Didn't understand a word...

    ... but I now have a craving for ducks baked in a row with low-hanging fruit. I'm sure they serve it in my local gastropod.

  25. fnusnu

    Dear All,

    I think we need to hit the ground running, keep our eye on the ball, and make sure that we are singing off the same song sheet. At the end of the day it is not a level playing field and the goal posts may move; if they do, someone else may have to pick it up and run with it. We therefore must have a golf bag of options hot-to-trot from the word 'go'. It is your train set but we cannot afford to leave it on the back burner; we've got a lot of irons in the fire, right now.

    We will need to un-stick a few potential poo traps but it all depends on the flash-to-bang time and fudge factor allowed. Things may end up slipping to the left and, if they do, we will need to run a tight ship. I don't want to re-invent the wheel but we must get right into the weeds on this one. If push comes to shove, we may have to up stumps and then we'll be in a whole new ball game.

    I suggest we test the water with a few warmers in the bank. If we can produce the goods then we are cooking with gas. If not, then we are in a world of hurt. I don't want to die in a ditch over it but we could easily end up in a flat spin if people start getting twitchy. To that end, I want to get round the bazaars and make sure the movers and the shakers are on-side from day one. If you can hit me with your shopping list I can take it to the head honchos and start the ball rolling.

    There is light at the end of the tunnel and I think we have backed a winner here. If it gets blown out the water, however, I will be throwing a track. So get your feet into my in-tray and give me chapter and verse as to how you see things panning out. As long as our ducks are in a row I think the ball will stay in play and we can come up smelling of roses.

    Before you bomb burst and throw smoke, it is imperative we nail our colours very firmly on the mast and look at the big picture. We've got to march to the beat of the drum. We are on a sticky wicket. we'll need to play with a straight bat and watch out for fast balls.

    I've been on permanent send for long enough and I've had my ten pence worth. I don't want to rock the boat or teach anyone to suck eggs. We must keep this firmly in our sight picture or it will fall between the cracks. If the cap fits, wear it, but it may seem like pushing fog up a hill with a sharp stick.

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge


      Ah you had that memo too, then.

    2. Big_Boomer


      BRAYN HURTS! Please STOP!!!! <LOL>

  26. David Nash

    Now they know what it's like!

    Normally it's the younger generation using words the oldies don't understand!

  27. Mishak Silver badge

    Management speak

    The art of talking a lot whilst saying nothing; a prerequisite for political office.

  28. David Nash

    Bit of a mixed bunch

    Some of those so-called office phrases are used outside of work. I am sure I have heard things like "Deep Dive", it's pretty obvious what it means especially in context.

    Some are useful while others are clearly BS.

    I didn't see my personal least favourite which is "Revert" misused to mean "Respond".

    1. Matt Palmer

      Re: Bit of a mixed bunch

      Argghhh, revert! I only started noticing this in the last few years. First time someone asked me to revert, I wondered what change they were talking about.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Back before the creator went nuts, there was a Dilbert strip that seems appropriate:

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      There were strips appropriate to just about anything. Sadly missed.

  30. that one in the corner Silver badge

    Most misused list - where is "steep learning curve"?

    I've not heard *anyone* outside of a few specialised TV programmes[1] use that one correctly for *years*!

    Plot "% learnt" or "ability to do useful work" against time and it becomes blindingly obvious that a steep learning curve is good - everyone is finding it easy to learn, or there isn't much to learn in the first place.

    But no, management thinks "steep" is bad. The very people you would hope could read a graph. Although it does explain a lot:

    "This will lead us on a steep profit path". " Steep? Can't have that, we want a shallow path, much easier".

    "Sales growth is steep this quarter." "Steep?! You are fired, the lot of you!"

    [1] about teaching, including the one about the Red Arrows in training.

    1. cmdrklarg

      Re: Most misused list - where is "steep learning curve"?

      "Steep" when used with "learning curve" generally means that it's going to be difficult (as in a steep climb) so it's viewed negatively.

      When used with profits or sales growth that negative meaning may stick. 'Steep' might be correct, but 'skyrocketing' might better get the point across to the MBA mouthbreathers.

      1. that one in the corner Silver badge

        Re: Most misused list - where is "steep learning curve"?

        > "Steep" when used with "learning curve" generally means that it's going to be difficult (as in a steep climb) so it's viewed negatively.

        Grrr.[1] It *never* "means" it is going to be difficult - the learning curve is a well-defined thing (plot of measure of learning against time) and has few well-recognised forms (usually involving plateaus as learning is put into practice etc etc).

        Presumably you meant to say something more like:

        >> "Steep" when used with "learning curve" is mistakenly believed to indicate that it's going to be difficult (as in a steep climb) so it's viewed negatively.

        Fundamentally, none of the people who misuse it know that a "learning curve" is even a Real Thing, so we drop into the pool of people for whom another quote from the article is apt:

        > Even more shamefully, 83 percent used a word they didn't know the meaning of in a professional situation.

        [1] Sorry, but this one really gets my goat. Calm, breathe in; hold; breathe out. Ommmmmmm

        1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

          Re: Most misused list - where is "steep learning curve"?

          I suppose it depends on what that curve of material learnt vs time represents; the amount of information absorbed (steep means lots quickly = good), or the amount of information that has to be absorbed in a set amount of time (steep means more must be learned, which implies more difficulty)

          1. that one in the corner Silver badge

            Re: Most misused list - where is "steep learning curve"?

            Ok, but I'd love to see how you're going to collect the data (say, on a weekly basis) to draw the graph of actual versus the planned/expected/commonplace plot for "amount of information that has to be absorbed in a set amount of time".

            And give a cogent explanation of why that graph is the one that springs to mind every time anyone uses the concept of "learning curve".

            No, seriously, if that is a sensible and useful and useable way to plot the data then I'm open to learning how; but right now I just don't see how it could be made to work.

            1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

              Re: Most misused list - where is "steep learning curve"?

              It's a metaphor; metaphors don't need concrete implementations.

        2. ryokeken

          Re: Most misused list - where is "steep learning curve"?

          I think you walked into the wrong bar, this is The Vulture, the stacks are down the block right next to hacker newsstand

          1. that one in the corner Silver badge

            Re: Most misused list - where is "steep learning curve"?

            They chucked me out of the stacks for excessive pedantry unbecoming a library ("Where do you think you are, mate? The Oxford Union?")

      2. CRConrad

        Re: Most misused list - where is "steep learning curve"?

        “Generally means” in the sense of “is nowadays misused to mean”, yes. But the actual, correct, and original meaning is as the good doctor just told you. Way to go, bucko. Please do feel embarrassed.

    2. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Most misused list - where is "steep learning curve"?

      "steep learning curve"

      There was once, in the depths of time,, " a steep learning path "

      There was also a learning curve.........

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Most misused list - where is "steep learning curve"?

      "everyone is finding it easy to learn, or there isn't much to learn in the first place."

      No, it does *not* mean that. It does not refer to the *amount* of learning in any way, so both assumptions are wrong.

      It just means it's very difficult to get from nothing to a level you can learn more. The amount of learning needed isn't involved.

      Even very simple things can have steep learning curve and some very complicated things taking years to learn can have shallow curve: It's the *shape* of the learning curve, literally.

      1. CRConrad

        Re: Most misused list - where is "steep learning curve"?

        Yeah, that's the folk etymology people have been forced to make up for themselves since it's been so pervasively used the wrong way around. Congratulations on insisting that that's what passes for “correct” nowadays. Wait, what was TFA about, again...?

    4. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Most misused list - where is "steep learning curve"?

      "Plot "% learnt" or "ability to do useful work" against time and it becomes blindingly obvious that a steep learning curve is good - everyone is finding it easy to learn, or there isn't much to learn in the first place."

      Only if they plotted it the same way you just suggested. It's pretty easy to see that there are other ways. Here's a simple one: reverse the axes from the way you did it. Now it's the amount of time taken to reach a certain level of learning. If the curve is steep, then it takes a lot of time to make a small amount of progress. Or you could take the derivative of your equation. In this case a steep downward curve indicates that the subject matter is taking longer and longer as a student advances through it, common in disciplines where the introductory material is generally applicable but advanced material is often theoretical and intertwined. If we're just referring to steepness of a line drawn on a graph, we can make a graph where steep means whatever we want it to mean. The idiom isn't necessarily directly connected to any particular graph that was used elsewhere.

      That is if the person who first said that was thinking of graphs at all. They might have been making an analogy to physically steep things, which are difficult to climb, and it's been mutated with usage.

      1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

        Re: Most misused list - where is "steep learning curve"?

        ...or plot "% that must be learned" against time, where steep means more difficult, for example, having to memorise the contents of the Encyclopedia Britannica in 1 day would be a steeper "learning curve" than having to memorise the first two rows of the periodic table of elements in a week.

        As usual, context is everything, and words can mean different things in different contexts. Whodathunkit?

        1. ryokeken

          Re: Most misused list - where is "steep learning curve"?

          Encyclopedia Britannica? what is that? /j

      2. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Most misused list - where is "steep learning curve"?

        Exactly. It is probably a mixture of both of these.

      3. CRConrad

        Re: Most misused list - where is "steep learning curve"?

        1) Reversing the axes relative to standard practice for absolutely everything ever, or

        2) Not at all thinking of graphs when the item under discussion is literally called “curve”.

        Yeah, right. Not far-fetched at all.

    5. catprog

      Re: Most misused list - where is "steep learning curve"?

      Plot time taken to lean each step on the y and each step along the x axis and a steep learning curve is now bad.

      1. that one in the corner Silver badge

        Re: Most misused list - where is "steep learning curve"?

        Time along the y-axis: bold choice.

  31. frankyunderwood123

    This is not even as close to as bad as acronyms are

    At least with this Jargon, there's _some_ context present, even if it is obscure.

    If you've never heard the phrase "Blue Sky Thinking" (lucky you), from the context of a sentence, you could probably work it out.

    It all starts falling apart when that becomes an acronym - BST.

    "British Summer Time" ?

    Or it could be an acronym for some company software or division.

    "Business System Telemetry"

    _Every_ company has their own set of acronyms, as well as adopting more widespread ones.

    The biggest issue is when an internal acronym is the _same_ as a widespread one - confusion reigns.

    I'm sure I'm not alone in _pretending_ I know an obscure acronym people are bandying about in conversation - it gets to the point where, after a few years at a company, you become too embarrassed to admit you never learned that particular acronym.

    Then one day, you find out the people often using them, haven't got a damn clue what they spell out either.

    "Ah, yeah, if we just flick the switch on the POS, the AMOK should pull out of a nose dive and the BS will respond as intended and we're all hunky dory"

    See, then we're getting deep into horror show territory - the combination of jargon and obscure acronyms.

    "If we all pull together as a team on the FCK project, the cross-team synergy will help us out with the SHT systems and we can hit it out the park with the FUBAR rollout."

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: This is not even as close to as bad as acronyms are

      "If you've never heard the phrase "Blue Sky Thinking" (lucky you), from the context of a sentence, you could probably work it out."

      Time for an interesting experiment for me. I have heard the phrase, but so far my brain has always just skimmed over it thinking that I don't really need to know what they're trying to say. So I'm going to try to guess what it could mean and see if I get it right. Here are the options I came up with:

      1. It refers to people thinking only for the ideal situation, I.E. for nice weather, without considering the likely problems, hence why it's just blue skies.

      2. It's someone thinking of the situation from before they started the project, and it's an airplane metaphor.

      3. It's referring to someone who lets their ideas grow too big, as if they're focusing on the sky instead of the ground.

      Now I'll look it up...

      Nope, I didn't get it. Also, I note that there's a perfectly good word for that concept, just one single verb which people will recognize already. I'm not posting the actual definition (well, first result from a search that had a definition on the page) in case anyone else who hasn't understood the phrase wants to try the experiment too. If you don't know and want to, here you go.

      1. Graham Newton

        Re: This is not even as close to as bad as acronyms are

        I always understood it as innovative thinking. Much like thinking out of the box. My main objection is that it is used by people that can barely think in the box.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

  32. Hans 1

    In fact, this is plain rhetoric, mobilising concepts that mean different things to different people and the speaker thinks they sound great. Politicians love this and so do manglement, they attempt to hide their incompetence behind this garbage. You will notice that only those who do nuthin' all day love these ...

    1. that one in the corner Silver badge

      > In fact, this is plain rhetoric

      Aagh, well, um - no. No, it isn't rhetoric. Certainly not "plain rhetoric". Sorry.

      "Rhetoric" - another word that is being buggered about with by management and politicians!

      It means language that *is* effective, but that is being eroded away as people start calling this kind of guff "empty rhetoric" (which is sort-of correct usage) and then it gets bandied around as if it can *only* be used to refer to the empty kind.

  33. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    Its bullshit bingo


    As I've more than once said on the way to a pointless meeting about stuff I can do nothing about and care even less about.

    However, the younger generation should always seek to learn from the older and more experienced generation.

    Just be first to the meeting room, and then hand out the bullshit bingo cards to everyone attending, for those attending because they have to, a fun and entertaining game to play to while away the long hours the beancounters drone away for.

    For those that are actually doing the talking , a way of focusing their thoughts and saying words that mean something instead of petty meaningless phrases enabling John from stores to yell out BINGO 43.28 minutes into the meeting and winning this weeks prize..... the bastard.

    1. Ray Foulkes

      Re: Its bullshit bingo

      oops, sorry, I failed to read this before posting - spot on!

  34. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

    Gus from Drop the Dead Donkey

    He had a few choice turns of phrase:

    "Well, obviously I don't have an opinion - I am a support module. But it would be very easy to find ourselves standing on buttered ball bearings over this piece. While I feel passionately in no punches pulled, hard-hitting journalism, do you feel in any real sense that we ought to be wary of running any unsubstantiated stories if we are to avoid a faeces and fan situation."

    "Let's keep kneecapping the opposition."

    "We've got to downsize our sloppiness overload."

    "Could we interlock brain spaces in my work area?"

    "Well, butt-kickers, what's cooking?"

    "Coach, if I could input into your mental mainframe for a moment..."

    "Morning talent base. Are the afterburners on full thrust? You bet."

    "Yes, well, publicity-wise this is a rather regrettable gonads-in-the-guillotine situation."

    "Are we nuking the opposition news busters? Terrific."

    "Morning, mountaineers. Climbing the north face of newsmaking again are we? Terrific."

    "Let's operate a zipped-lip scenario on this one."

    "George, can we pool our brainspaces in a center of excellence?"

    "Anyway, heads down, chins up, chests out, terrific, well played team."

    "Quality stress dissipation opportunities here."

    "Is Mr. Newshound in his kennel? You bet."

    More here:

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Gus from Drop the Dead Donkey

      You got there before me. My favourite one is "Let's run this idea up the flag pole and see who salutes".

      Time to rewatch Drop the Dead Donkey...

      1. that one in the corner Silver badge

        Re: Gus from Drop the Dead Donkey

        > "Let's run this idea up the flag pole and see who salutes".

        That one was in use way back in the 1950s (Gus probably picked it up from his grandfather): Mad magazine was poking fun at it back then, as can be seen in the book-format reprints such as "Madvertising"[1]

        [1] don't guarantee it was in that volume - they wore put a fell to pieces long ago - but it seems likely.

        PS hopefully you all know that Don Knuth's first publication was in Mad magazine in the 1950s, the "Potrzebie System of Measurement"; possibly November 1955 as the thickness of that specific issue was used as one of the basic units as published.

        1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

          Re: Gus from Drop the Dead Donkey

          There's also "Let's put it on the slave block and see who bids on it" which I think is from the Illuminatus! trilogy...

      2. Fr. Ted Crilly Silver badge

        Re: Gus from Drop the Dead Donkey

        No, I think you will find this phrase wandered about in the late 50's and the 60's...

    2. Bebu Silver badge

      Re: Gus from Drop the Dead Donkey

      Ye gads. I was just telling my 1k-ial and Gz colleagues about this 90s series and how there was an isomorphism (or is it homomorphism?) between the characters from Global News (?) and our environment although our "Joy" had recently left.

      Had to explain the phrase "drop the dead donkey" too - what do they teach them these days?

      Episodes are still lurking on the internet but the then current affairs might require a bit of explaining. John Major alone took a bit of explaining even then having replaced that Bodicea, Thatcher. Cannot imagine septics would make much sense of the series today or even back then.

      As for the jargon its best to remember the management GI tract works in reverse - quite literally arse about.

      Mostly I remember having the "hots" for Susannah Doyle :) No joy there.

    3. druck Silver badge

      Re: Gus from Drop the Dead Donkey

      Upvote for DDD - oh the Joy!

  35. Rich 11 Silver badge

    Yay, a quiz!

    Thanks so much for the quiz. I was very pleased to learn that I have not once used any of those phrases, except when taking the piss out of someone who deeply deserved it.

  36. DrSunshine0104

    Is This Jargon

    I am an older Millennial, but I don't feel like I use jargon at all that much in a office setting. I prefer explicit instruction or definitions. I am not going to say EOD or ASAP. I am going to email that I need this at the end of the day on 5th of April or I need this as soon as you can deliver it. I also don't text or instant message much and when I do, I still use formal punctuation and grammar. I don't like ambiguity and idioms, jargon and initialisms always feel like weasel words or imprecise.

    But a point of order. Are many of the terms described in the article actually jargon? They seem more like colloquialisms or idioms? I always thought jargon was very domain specific. Though, I guess one could argue that some of this is very business-generic jargon.

    Also, are Boomers less likely to actually look or admit to looking up a phrase they don't understand? They are more willing to learn as they go or less likely to worry about a misunderstanding? I have told a handful of Boomers that are somewhat naive what FUBAR meant because they kept using in the wrong company or incorrectly.

    1. CGBS

      Re: Is This Jargon

      Boomers don't look up things they don't know. They either just tell each other they are correct about what they assume they know, get angry, get scared or some combination of all of the above. You know this.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Is This Jargon

        Nope, they call bullshit what it is. All of the sample text was nothing but concentrated bullshit and could be compressed into " " without any loss of information.

      2. that one in the corner Silver badge

        Human Populations Are Not Quantised!

        > Boomers don't look up things they don't know

        Ah, "Boomer", another one of those terms that gets bandied about without checking that it means the same thing to the reader as it did to the writer (you know, the sort of thing that this entire article is talking about!)

        Since I were a nipper in the UK, The Baby Boom has meant the rise in births in 1946, straight after the war, which caused significant extra (given that rationing was still in place, etc) social upheaval. For example, having to build new schools and find adequate numbers of teachers in order to keep up with the cohort as it aged. Schools that were then in danger of being underutilised the following year and more so the next, as the boom was a definite spike: by 1947 proper British values had set in (and absolutely everyone had been reminded about the joys of baby sick and wailing at all hours of the day) so things pretty much settled down again to the usual pace.

        Those Brits are all 76/77 years old now. A strangely specific group of people to be targeting with respect to their abilities with respect to dictionaries, encyclopaedias and the like.

        However, apparently, the US just kept on at it, from 1946 all the way to 1964 (presumably the more greatly spread out population meant they were less troubled by the wailing from up and down the street in 1947 and then it all just became a habit). So they have a lot more "Baby Boomers" with a far wider age spread.

        Can I take it that it is Our Overseas Cousins you are referring to and whose inability to use reference materials is in question?

        BTW According to Wikipedia, "British people usually define" those born between 1960 and 1969 as Baby Boomers! First I'd heard of it! This claim is backed up by Wikipedia using a link to a single paper from 2017 in the journal "Working With Older People" (which, as you know, is one of the great trend setters in British culture), which paper uses the term pretty much just "because we want a catchy readable title" not because it is usual! Wikipedia then goes on to claim that this ten-year cohort makes up 20% of the UK population, because the Wikipediots have referred to an "article" on which was nothing more than a headline ripped from another article that clearly stated it was using the US "definition" of "Baby Boomer"!

        Sigh. Rant nearly over, conclusions:

        * Wikipediots don't even bother reading the material they link to


        * these "generations" only refer to the US, at least up to the point where t'Internet has tried to homogenise culture (that would be "Z", I guess). So it has been weird looking up what all these supposed generations[1] mean in order to follow a Register article about results from a UK survey!

        [1] In my day we didn't have these fixed so-called "generations", we knew that babies are being born all the time, so "my parent's generation" meant something different to different people. Human Populations Are Not Quantised!

        1. Intractable Potsherd

          Re: Human Populations Are Not Quantised!

          "Human Populations Are Not Quantised" may have to go on my gravestone, just below "Context Is Everything!"

        2. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

          Re: Human Populations Are Not Quantised!

          It's easy to quantise:

          Everyone more than 5 years older than me = Old fart generation (stupid and ignorant)

          Everyone more than 5 years younger than 5 = Dumb kids generation (stupid and ignorant)

          1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

            Re: Human Populations Are Not Quantised!

            D'Oh! s/(5){3}/me/

            Stupid finger/brain interface!

        3. Roj Blake Silver badge

          Re: Human Populations Are Not Quantised!

          Humans are discrete units. You can't have half a person.

          So human populations are absolutely quantised.

  37. Postscript

    the jargon file

    The first week of a new IT job, I started my own jargon file to keep track of what the heck people were talking about. It's about six pages long now. I still want to punt my keyboard when somebody says with a straight face that we are "delivering value to the customer." It's a job. We're working. Perfectly fine words that everyone understands.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: the jargon file

      "delivering value to the customer"

      Every time someone claims to do that, it's *not* that, but fleecing the customer instead.

    2. that one in the corner Silver badge

      Re: the jargon file

      Just be thankful you aren't "delivering quality to the customer".

  38. This post has been deleted by its author

  39. CGBS

    OK Boomer

    You expect the two generations that have been nothing but screwed over left right and center by the world of business to spend spare time reading Malcolm Gladwell and giving a damn about the utterly psychotic state of end stage capitalism you worship? Probably not going to happen. And it does seem that a more than expected number of Millennials and a somewhat disturbing number of Gen Zs do not seem to have the vocabulary you might expect. Until of course you realize (in the USA at least) that they got to attend the schools that a certain older generation has been cutting taxes on anyone and everything that should be paying for those schools and in some cases literally praying away the public education system by way of vouchers. I'm sorry, School Choice. Shocking that an education provided to a classroom of 30+ by a person that gets paid $50K isn't the best way to achieve high vocabulary scores. Also the whole, getting shot thing. Details.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: OK Boomer

      "you worship" ... Really?

      Nice generalization when you are talking about management and I've news for you: Young managers are even worse the boomers ever were.

      Management pseudo-language is taught in IVY-league management schools, if anywhere. Not many boomers (or anyone else) has graduated from those. But of course you wouldn't know that, just based on absurd generalizations here.

    2. Intractable Potsherd

      Re: OK Boomer

      Do you feel better after getting that off your chest?

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cringe. David Attenborough to the rescue.

    It's cringe. And I absolutely hate it. It really is a load w*nk. I would just love to press the nuke button and blow it all away or drop kick it to the moon.

    Epitome of everything bad about corporate life. Reverend and the Makers - Heavyweight Champion of the World sums it up.

    But there is hope.

    Watch any natural science documentary narrated by David Attenborough. He of supreme high intelligence and genuine universal morality. He doesn't need to use all this corporate speak, his words are so down-to-earth, relatable explaining natural science. That is who I aspire to in communication. Not the office dullard wageslave pretentious vacuuos zeros.

    1. DugEBug

      Re: Cringe. David Attenborough to the rescue.

      "his words are so down-to-earth,"

      I see what you did there. Nicely done.

  41. Michael Hoffmann Silver badge


    Hang on, if you actually read the endless daily drivel on your average LinkedIn stream, a lot of that bullshit bingo is posted (or shared/reposted) underneath faces of bright-eyed, bushy-tailed yoof.

    So many of them either spout the same incomprehensible nonsense - or are happy to regurgitate it for the sake of their own climb up the ladder. Manglement material, the lot of them.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So…not sure why ducks in a row is in here. The rest of it, sure…but ducks in a row is kind of fine? Not business speak or annoying?

    1. that one in the corner Silver badge

      > ducks in a row

      Ok, so what the bleep does it mean (and when would you use it outside of the office)? All the multiples of ducks I've ever[1] seen are in random squabbling groups or in a (relatively) neat V-formation - at a stretch, you could call that two rows.

      You do get *ducklings* walking one after the other, if the parent is on the move across land, but what kind of monster would make a metaphor out of lovely fluffy ducklings? Anyway, it never lasts for long, once they reach the river/stream/pond/tin bath they are all over the place (as though the steering was just a wee bit off - one foot bigger than the other? So cute!)

      [1] and even in the least duck-filled portions of my life I'd expect to encounter the quacking beggars at least once a week during the season.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        It referred, I think, to the ornamental variety, made of china clay and usually on a wall. Mostly seen, not in a row but as a diagonal

  43. bigtreeman


    Some of the best office jargon can be seen on (Australian) ABC Iview - Utopia.

    Yes it's back, it's galling, politically correct and so much fun.

  44. Blackjack Silver badge

    Corporate bullspeak is trash and corporations really should stop using it in anything but investors meetings. If they did people would actually do their jobs better and faster.

  45. Mary Hinge

    "Art of the possible" or "RTFM" didn't make the cut?

    1. Big_Boomer

      RTFM is an abbreviation that was coined by those of us who are utterly BORED of repeating the long-form. If you can't be bothered to Read The F***ing Manual then you are part of the problem. Much like the Military abbreviations SNAFU and FUBAR, it is used because of the repeated usage not because it means that the utterer does not want to swear/curse. RTFM is a time saver and communicates both an attitude and instruction. On several occasions, when speaking politely to customers and instructing them how to perform a particular task, I have been told that my instruction was the politest way that they have ever been told to RTFM. :-)

  46. mistersaxon


    Pretty sure “moving forward” is just plain English unless it somehow gets egregiously misused. I’ve never heard it mean anything other than, well, moving forward. Sometimes not physically, only temporally but still…

    And “double click”? I’m quite surprised that is considered jargon as the mouse paradigm is pretty baked in to the computer experience. Perhaps it needs to be updated to “double tap” to reflect the touch screen/ mobile world but I can see that causing more confusion rather than less. And not in a good way.

    And I’m a bit shocked that “revert” didn’t make the list at all. Do people actually now think it simply means “reply” (which is how I see it used)? I gather this is common usage in India for some reason but revert =/= reply so why use it as though the words were the same? And if it did mean “reply” well we still have the actual word “reply” and that is shorter to type. If offered a revert in mail I tend to query it - am I picking a low hill to die on?

    Kids these days, eh?

    1. Big_Boomer

      Re: Jargon?

      Nobody cares about "moving forward", it's "going forward" that is management bullsh!t.

    2. Vincent Ballard

      Re: Jargon?

      You could have more fun with the Oxford English Dictionary's definition 2 of revert (v.): To become conscious again; to regain one's senses.

  47. Citizen99

    What about pre-1946 Elders ? 'pivot' ? swivel !

  48. Binraider Silver badge

    Not so much a problem reading the opening paragraphs; albeit they are utterly meaningless gunk that any HR department would be proud of.

    The need to write gunk is endemic in some areas and I have no idea why.

  49. Mint Sauce

    Word-salad wankers

    Gen X here, and I've no idea what the word-salad-wankers are on about either. Having run out of fucks to give years ago, I've no problem with telling them to start again and this time use English to explain whatever the hell it is they're on about. It's probably one reason I'm never going to get promotion :-D

  50. boatsman

    *We went to great lengths to make sure this passage meant very little in as many words as possible.

    done. 100% low hanging fruits scored.

  51. sketharaman

    Jargon rocks!!!

    According to a study, when stripped of all the jargon, a 6-page credit card agreement ballooned to 24 pages. So there's a reason why jargon is there. ProTip: Make the onetime investment required to learn jargon. Otherwise, you'll find every meeting taking 4X the time and perpetually whine about lack of work-life balance.

  52. RichardB

    Not even convinced most of those mentioned in their charts are work jargon.

    They are just simple descriptive filler lifted from elsewhere.

    Perhaps those that disagree with their usage can come up with some better versions to express the same concepts?

  53. Ray Foulkes

    Bullshit Bingo

    We used to play a game called "Bullshit Bingo". We would choose some meaningless phrase like "data driven" before a meeting started. Those in the game had to shout "Bingo" as soon as it was uttered.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You left out the worst one of all time

    The use of issue as a synonym for problem. Issue does not mean problem and it never has.

    I'd applaud it if the younger generation were turning their backs on the practice of saying words just for the purpose of saying words but in my experience they're the worst offenders.

  55. tiggity Silver badge


    "There's no need to feel ashamed if you use jargon in the workplace"

    I would not call that jargon* but management BS like that is shameful.

    Still, on the bright side the article did not use my most hated phrase "slide deck" - just call it a ******* PowerPoint or similar. Its not like this phrase was used years ago when presentations involved actual physical photographic slides** as that would be an acceptable historic reason (in the same way a "save" icon is a (essentially defunct) floppy but there's nice history to it ) - its a recent phrase (& very much an American one at that, being UK based it reeks of UK management slavishly acquiring & using "trendy" US phrases)

    *IT is full of "jargon" - i.e. technical terms specific to that area: Which can be confusing to the non IT person (even everyday words such as switch can have a subtly different meaning in IT land). Jargon <> management speak.

    ** One of my friends used to be in charge of the "slide library" at a university, which staff could borrow for lecture use, to demonstrate how important photographic slides were a (relatively long) while ago.


    And let me also thank you for

    Running That Up The Flagpole.

    (I see many are saluting it!)

  57. Captain Hogwash

    Those numbers...

    would be similar if this had been done 20 or 30 years ago. We all had to learn it and the young team shouldn't expect it to be any different for them. Unless of course the global management caste have some sort of epiphany regarding the soul destroying nature of the way it uses words.

  58. Crypto Monad Silver badge

    "You want to 'take it offline'?"

    Or as used by the previous generation:

    "You want to 'take it outside'?"

  59. imanidiot Silver badge

    Jargon is not a problem

    Jargon is shortened language, specialized and specific to a field of study/work such as engineering. It is useful and necessary (as others have already pointed out) to have effective and efficient conversations with (near-)peers as it allows to condense and confer data is a shorter time precisely and without confusion. What the article identifies isn't jargon, it's bullshit. Specifically Manglement speak intended to NOT be effective at communicating anything but to be as open-ended and vague as possible so that the person uttering it can be fully cleared of any wrongdoing by later implying it was the listener who failed to understand the correct nuance and meaning of the utterance.

    English is such an amazing and flexible language to play around with without losing any of the meaning or adding subtle hints of meaning and tone to a message by careful choice of words, yet somehow the bullshit seems to find it's way to the fore as mindless, nay, vacuous people repeat "something they heard one time". To these people, I recommend reading some Wodehouse to learn more English vocabulary and how to use it's fine nuance to add to your expression without falling into cliché.

    Another interesting read for those irked by the existence of the "semi-profound bullshit" is this little research paper: Gordon Pennycook et al. , "On the reception and detection of pseudo-profound bullshit"

    Some of the linked researched that cites it is also worth a read.

  60. saabpilot

    Zoomers what about Boomers

    As a recently retired boomer, I am SOOOOO glad i don't have to hear all that BS any more!

    As a boomer Ii don't understand half of that sh1t3 as well. One day everyone will start using normal English, and the David Brent types will be forced into self-isolation, along with their self-identification, so the rest of us can permanently avoid them.

  61. Ian Johnston Silver badge

    My beloved employers have just replaced "workstreams" with "task and finish groups". Or at least I think they have, because nobody seems to know what the hell a "task and finish group" is. Something to occupy the time of worthless admin drones, it seems.

  62. GNoMe

    Recently used 'Reach out' in an email. Felt dirty sending it.

  63. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

    I definitely count as a greybeard, and nearly walked out of an interview a few years ago because the interviewer kept using "going forwards" almost every other sentence.

    In hindsight, that was a red flag and I should have paid more attention.

  64. gillburt

    Nothing changes

    I think when many of us first started out in industry we didn't understand what a lot of manglement were talking about - it was called "a lack of experience". Now we have that experience we understand that manglement don't know what they are talking about, but that's an important lesson to learn.

  65. ChaosFreak

    You are not out of pocket!

    Number one on my list of misused phrases is "out of pocket", which people began using interchangeably to mean "out of the office" about 15 years ago.

    Out of pocket does not mean out of the office!

    Out of pocket means that you are spending your own personal money and not being reimbursed by the company. As in, "I am paying for this out of pocket".

    I suppose with remote work having become the norm, we will hear this less often hopefully.

    1. John H Woods Silver badge

      Re: You are not out of pocket!

      Out of pocket, to me, means that you pay up front and claim expenses later (like a taxi fare) as opposed paid for on a company credit card (or paid directly from your organization to the supplier).

      1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

        Re: You are not out of pocket!

        Out of pocket means that you have spent your own money, not yet been reimbursed, and are therefore 'left out of pocket'. It may or may not be refunded later.

  66. russmichaels

    The only people who talk like that are the marketing people and the bullshitters who don't actually do anything. They just like throwing out lots of buzzwords to make it seem like that know what they are talking about and have something to contribute.

    I would suspect that most meetings today went like that would result in nobody doing anything whatsoever stay leaving the room, since nothing useful was really said at all.

  67. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

    In the war between the Boomers and Millennials / Gen Z, Generation X is forgotten again.

    For what it's worth, we care not one jot for the business speak coming from one direction, or for the excessive vocal fray, and elongated terminal vowels coming from the other, or, even worse, the tendency to replace the endings of words that terminate in "er" with "ahhh", it's not bigahhh, or cleverahhh. At least, I suppose, we've got rid of the thing where white kids pretend to be Jamaican that came to prevalence in the '90s.

    We're equal opportunities haters of bullshit.

    1. avidreader8

      Re: In the war between the Boomers and Millennials / Gen Z, Generation X is forgotten again.

      Yes, we are.

  68. arachnoid2

    Breaking down silos

    We have a new personal development plan that reads like its written by a dodgy marketing man trying to sell you snake oil

    "We connect across borders and break down silos to leverage the strength of our internal and external network. We don’t agree with the ‘not invented here’ syndrome. We embrace opportunities to replicate and apply the great work of others. "

    1. AndersH

      Re: Breaking down silos

      This seems quite common on corporate websites. We had a new customer so I went to their website to see what they "do". After reading it, I was none the wiser.

    2. Richard Pennington 1

      Re: Breaking down silos

      Breaking down silos sounds uncomfortably like what the Russians are doing to Ukraine.

  69. goodjudge

    Not guilty

    The only one of those phrases - in the first paragraph or the lower lists - that I recall using in real life is "double click", and only then when teaching someone how to using a programme feature. How did it become manglement-speak? If anyone does start using those phrases in my presence I just assume they're a tosser and switch off until they can revert to plain English.

    This has reminded me of one such meeting a decade or more ago where a senior bod in the organisation was instructing us minions how to write to other senior bods. "Be direct, don't use jargon", he said. Great, though blindingly obvious. Then in the next breath, "for example, don't say "do", say "expedite"". FFS!

  70. AndersH

    As I am surprised at some of these it probably means I'm indoctrinated.

    Some of this jargon is painful to hear I agree, but it's interesting to see what other people think of as jargon. For example, I'd have thought "noted" was a common word. It has a few different means depending on the context. What's the jargon usage for this? "Sing from the same hymn sheet" is a metaphor.

    Language evolves, but not always in an ideal direction.

  71. xyz Silver badge


    I just used most of the article examples in a doc I just emailed to someone. The obvious exception being "reach out" which deserves a special place in hell. I'm in a meeting at the moment about NPD and I can never remember what NPD it means. Hence me typing on El Reg.

    Oh, tip o' the day. You can drink coffee on Teams, show of your puppy to everyone and wag its paws, but light a cigarette from 1000 miles away and all hell breaks loose.

  72. fraunthall

    By a CG (computer Geek) older than all of you out there - got a good story that applies to so many

    Everything I have read about Gen XYZ, Millenials and others of similar ilk makes me glad I don't have too many years left on this world.

    No, I am not unwell, just appalled and disappointed about how many of said ilk are useless as employees and super ignorant.

    I taught classes at a local university related to the History of Law as it developed from the Roman Empire onwards and culminating in both the Napoleonic Code and British Common Law. I was not teaching law students.

    Most of my younger students took the class I taught because they mistakenly thought it would be an easy one to add to their B.A. programs, and that they'd ace the class by passing the usual exams using multiple choice and true or false questions.

    They were surprised when I insisted on them actually writing Essays (Horrors!) in English instead of the usual exams during the semester and semester-closing take-home exams requiring essays demonstrating an understanding of every aspect of the subject matter I tried to teach them.

    They were lazy, privileged, pampered and entitled 'precious' children, made that way by their parents and all too many 'teaching' academics.

    I suspect that applies to many of the people this article describes.

    Woe is our society!

    1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

      Re: By a CG (computer Geek) older than all of you out there - blah blah title is too long

      Old person hates on younger generations; film at 11.

      Perhaps, the actual truth here is that lazy and stupid people are lazy and stupid, and trying to categorise entire slices of the population in this way, based on something entirely arbitrary such as age, is simply moronic.

      Oh well, at least when that "not too many years" is up, some of the hoarded housing will become available to later generations, albeit not at a price any of us can afford, like it was when your generation bought it all up and then elected a government that deliberately depleted social housing, and effectively made it illegal for councils to build more, so they could make a quick buck to top up their pensions.

    2. ryokeken

      Re: By a CG (computer Geek) older than all of you out there - OK BOOMER GOODBYE BOOMER

      ok boomer,

      i'm gen X turning 51.

      we're still mopping all the damage done by boomers and "the silent generation " (they didn't brag about beating their wife or kids)

      goodbye boomer you never wanted to learn why would you start now?

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Business As Usual. Ah, so nothing to do with Quantico then.

  74. Possibly

    It's possible -- likely?? -- that the reason I understood all that jargon is because I am a "boomer" and have been working in fast-paced IT environments since.... since... FOREVER!! I personally don't think they are hard to interprut; a modicum mix of head-on and side-ways thinking would easily get it done :) :) F'instance, did you ever watch the US TV series "West Wing"? That ultra-fast, assume you know the background, assume you understand the language and its associated relevant jargon, have been the environments I have long been working in, I even prefer it. And (almost) none of it was ever a problem, in fact, it has an unintended but actual culling affect, in that if you don't 'get it' or do not understand, then clearly, that place (wherever it is) isn't for you -- is it your job to know that that is the case before your first day? Should they tone it down to help facilitate the 'newbies'? Possibly, but its a site-by-site individual argument.

    But of course, it can go too far!! I once had a Major from the Army where somehow every ~12 word sentence was imbued with six 4~5 letter Defence acronyms or abreviations!! He often had to expand and repeat because most of us didn't understand. Which segways neatly to the first paragraph of this article. I am near-certain that it is a construct to illustrate the subject. However, it is sorta believable (I've met people I am sure could say that stuff exactly like that) and I am here to say that if any colleague or boss spoke that particular paragraph like that (or close enough to it), they need to be called out as a proper wanker, potentially get a good smack in the mouth and a definite resignation immediately after (in that order)!! Haha... that's it, the comment about the first paragraph was all I really wanted to say.

  75. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ...employees in the UK aged 18 to 76

    What? Wait.......

    Companies in the UK actually employ people aged over 60?

    I don't believe it for a moment.

  76. Mike 137 Silver badge

    Not a new phenomenon

    Around 100 years back a business reply letter might well start:

    "We beg to inform you of receipt of your esteemed communication of 14th inst."

    where "in reply to your letter dated 14th ..." might have done just as well.

    Equally redundant jargon, just different. The primary purpose has always been to appear important when the evidence suggests one is not in the given context.

  77. Joe 43

    In the Nineties I worked with a manger who lived corporate BS. He finally lost me when referring to an "Interior door vision panel". Vision panel being his word for window.

  78. What? Me worry?

    "let's engage in some proactive ideation and synergize cross-functionally to leverage our core competencies and maximize deliverables. Let's think outside the box and optimize our bandwidth while aligning our key performance indicators. Remember to touch base and provide visibility on the low-hanging fruit, ensuring …" Oh look! Consultants! Who is it now? BCG? Accenture? Fine, what are they going to mangle this time?

    1. Crypto Monad Silver badge

      “Let's think the unthinkable, let's do the undoable. Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.”

      ― Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency

  79. chuckamok

    Jargon walks the earth

    In the "HeadFirst Java" book published at about the Millenium, one of the first exercises is a buzzword phrase generator. It sounds pretty much the same - you're just trolling us with the Generation aspect.

    Here is my personal portfolio website with a web version of the generator (did that back when I thought some manager 20 years younger than me might hire me).

  80. Mfidelman

    So... the same Gen Z and Millennials who complain that old folks can't "do tech?"

  81. Richard Pennington 1

    I'm retired now, but on one project my boss was the Keeper of the Acronyms. His list of project acronyms ran to 120 pages (including 11 expansions of "PM" ranging from "afternoon" to "Prime Minister"). His full, private, collection ran to over 1300 pages.

  82. Tron Silver badge


    If I don't understand what someone says I don't Google it. I tell them to not talk bollocks and use plain English.

    1. ryokeken

      Re: Pffft

      sounds like you have a long career in corporate

  83. This post has been deleted by its author

  84. David-M

    I asked ChatGPT to put it into plain English. It immediately gave this -

    "Alright, everyone, let's come together and brainstorm some new ideas and work collaboratively across different departments to make the most of our strengths and achieve better results. Let's think creatively and make the most efficient use of our resources while staying focused on our goals. Make sure to keep each other updated on the easier tasks that can be accomplished quickly, so that we can stay on track with our overall strategy. It's important to use our flexible solutions and rely on data to make big changes and reach our ambitious targets. Let's delve into the specifics, analyze the details thoroughly, and adjust our approach if needed, all while promoting a culture of constant improvement."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      How 'boss'!

      You mean ChatGPT is good for something? Wait, that AI is better than management? Now this angle can be published on general news sites!

    2. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

      Well, that can be compressed into [pep talk] and we can all move on with our lives...

  85. ryokeken

    tl;dr shittin on the young for being young when youses wasn't half as smart at the same age

    this is just another piece on how easy it is to shit on younger people for being young, they don't understand the fooked up jargon that hides the bullshite? what's so wrong about that? If you are going to shit on younger people then i want to hear from your parents what "stoopidity"where you spouting as a teenager and a young adult and check it against today "formal business " an example from the top of my head " here's my contact info" or " feel free to contact me" at the end of a letter or resumè. boomer's parents approve of this and yet here we are

    tl;dr shittin on the young for being young when you wasn't half as smart at the same age and yet youses (royal youses) managed “¯\_(ツ)_/¯“

  86. spold Silver badge

    Oh diddums, would you like a phrase book?

  87. The Rev

    The lead in paragraph parody nails the obnoxiousness by any generational standards, I'd hope. The polled words and phrases seem less so. Is the real issue a lack of linguistic skill, the ability to think through metaphor? I'm optimistic about so much that will come from Millennials and Gen Z. The whingers who complain that a bosses text message concludes with a period...angry? unncaring?...need to adapt to the workplace. Entering any profession involves learning. Granted, business jargon needs work on its signal to noise issues. Sure is a situation!!! Bless their hearts.

  88. Cheshire Cat

    This is all Management jargon

    This is, of course, all Management jargon.

    The big difference between Technical jargon and Management jargon, is that with Technical, everyone knows and agrees exactly what it means, but disagrees on how or if it should be implemented; whereas with Management jargon, they all agree it is Necessary and Important but cannot clearly define what it actually means...

  89. neutrino_logic

    translate to cockney for comprehension

    "Alright, me ol' muckers, let's 'ave a butcher's at some forward finkin' and get the ole team workin' together to make the most of what we're good at and get the job done proper. Let's think outside the box and make the most of our time while makin' sure we're all on the same page. Remember to keep in touch and let everyone know about any easy wins, so we can keep on track with our big plans. It's important to make the most of what we've got and use data to shake things up and hit them big targets. Let's get stuck in, go into the nitty-gritty, and change direction if needed, all while makin' things better bit by bit."

  90. Spanners Silver badge

    EOD - Military

    You know what it says on Explosive Ordnance Disposal peoples shirts?

    I am an EOD engineer

    If you see me running, try to keep up.

    1. david 12 Silver badge

      Re: EOD - Military

      Captains outrank Lieutenant. Lieutenant outranks Sergeant Sergeant outranks Private. EOD specialist running at full speed outranks everybody.

  91. david 12 Silver badge

    Grown like Topsy

    Not entirely management-speak, but one I hear frequently from people who are "using a phrase they don't know the meaning of".

    I understand that most of you are too young to have read "Uncle Tom's Cabin". Here's the reference:

    "Have you ever heard anything about God, Topsy?" The child looked bewildered, but grinned as usual. "Do you know who made you?" "Nobody, as I knows on," said the child, with a short laugh. The idea appeared to amuse her considerably; for her eyes twinkled, and she added, "I spect I grow'd. Don't think nobody never made me."

    No grown large, or fast (Topsy is just a child). Grown without any source or creator. Just grow'd.

    1. Ideasource Bronze badge

      Re: Grown like Topsy

      A person grows themselves

      Others merely put the physical components in alignment for a person to manifest or not depending on specific outcome.

      Self-creaters or animated objects without free will or self-determination.

      I'm of the opinion we are self-creators.

  92. SuperGeek

    Gen Z

    In the future will tell you that you did a good job by saying, You did "lit af" today!!

    Apparently lit af means "good as f**k". Kids, Sheesh! Hella nonsense!

  93. Luiz Abdala

    BOFH jargon bingo

    Oh, the needle of the buzzword-o-meter on the wall just turned into a fan while reading this article. Good lord, I never heard anybody my age (late 70's early 80's) talking like that.

  94. decarte

    Seriously, is it possible that the young ones can't read anything more than a 6th grade level (dumbing down of schools) and only for the length of a computer screen (that's all they read now)? As well, a total lack of commitment to employment could also feed into this--instead of going with the jaron at the workplace, they rebel, perhaps why the older folks don't admit to it, to them it's just a part of the job. Just saying...

  95. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    50% v. 100%

    "Gen Z and Millennials don't know what their colleagues are talking about half the time"

    Cynically I might counter with a slight modification:

    Gen Z and Millennials don't know what their talking about all the time.

    Management/MBA-speak has always been irritating meaningless nonsense that rapiding disappears into the vacuum whence it came. I suppose words and phrases lacking real meaning have nothing to anchor them to existence. Those words that do persist are often management euphemisms for the really unpleasant.

    These are not clever people. Back in the '80 those clowns that were in what was then called Management Information Science (MIS) proudly proclaimed themselves MISmanagers - prophetically accurate for the most part. I wonder which BOFH whose revenge this was?

  96. disgruntled yank

    touch base

    In baseball, a runner may attempt to advance when a fly ball has been caught, but only after touching the base he had already reached. This is also called "tagging up". So next time I hear "touch base", I may just give it back as "tag up", and do my bit to ruin somebody's day.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like