Merriam-Webster defines a buzzword as:
Today’s post is by Christine McConnell, Account Manager at SafeSourcing.
Merriam-Webster defines a buzzword as: an important-sounding usually technical word or phrase, often of little meaning, used chiefly to impress laymen. The Dictionary of American Slang tells us that the term may have been coined in the 1940s by students at the Harvard Business School to mean: a word used to describe the key to any course or situation. In the abbreviated vernacular of the day, buzz might simply have been a shortening of the word business.
Over time, buzzwords have become a construct all their own. They are distinctively different from jargon. Where jargon is simply a technical vocabulary associated with a particular field or profession, buzzwords are designed to impress, or to freshen up what is often stagnant information. We use a bit of jargon here at SafeSourcing: e-Procurement, Procure-to-Pay, RFx, RFQ, and RFP for example, to describe our process. Buzzwords, on the other hand, tend to have their own specific agenda. Industries and institutions continue to invent their own thought-provoking, and sometimes amusing, terms to this day.
On this cold and dreary afternoon, here are ten of the silliest:
- blamestorming: when a high profile project fails and the major players put their heads together to find a scapegoat outside of their ranks
- clockroaches: employees who spend most of their day watching the clock instead of actually working
- inbox zero: Zen-like state of being, caused by the discovery that your email inbox is completely empty
- irritainment: entertainment and media spectacles that are annoying, yet still somehow compelling; for example The Bachelor or The People vs OJ Simpsonprairie dogging: the practice of popping one’s head up out of the cubicle to see what else is happening on the cube farm
- jacking: commandeering or hijacking content, from current events to the latest meme, to use for you own (usually marketing) purposes; for example newsjacking or memejacking
- plutoed: to be unceremoniously demoted without due cause or explanation
- seagull: coworker (typically a supervisor) who flies in, makes a lot of noise, craps on everything, and then leaves
- treeware: paper-based printed material, as contrasted with media that store or convey information electronically; typically transmitted via snail mail
- wantrapreneur: someone who dreams about starting their own business but just can’t seem to get motivated
Whether dreamt up in academia, coined by clever consultants, actualized on Wall Street, or conceived by our most cynical peers, buzzwords can be quite illustrative of the way we see ourselves in today’s workplace.
Interested in learning how SafeSourcing can help your company run more efficiently? Like to try a risk free trial? Please don’t hesitate to contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative. Our team is ready to assist you!
 The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D. Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.