First up are overused words that are quickly becoming jargon:
- Hacks. I get it, it’s a handy short word, which is useful in headlines. In most cases, it’s thin disguise for “tips,” as in “23 best productivity hacks of the year.”
- Killer. Again, I understand. People like to use it in headlines (along with amazing, awesome, unbelievable, etc.) because of the promise of something truly revolutionary: “6 tips to create a killer article on LinkedIn.” It never delivers.
- Resonate. A beautiful word recalling the way sound echoes, but increasingly becoming marketing-speak for reaching customers, as in “a message that resonates.”
- Eschew. I have never heard someone actually SAY this word out loud in place of “deliberately avoid,” but I keep seeing it in written material.
Next, here’s jargon and gobbledygook that just will not go away:
- Actionable. Usually means “useful” or “ways you can act.”
- Leverage. Maybe this gets more play because if you plan to “use” employees to achieve something, it sounds unpleasant. Must be better to “leverage your workforce”? No.
- Incentivize. Ugh. Please just “encourage” someone.
- Deploy. Companies love to “deploy” software or programs. How about “using” or “introducing” them instead?
- Impact (as both noun and verb). Better to “have an effect” or “to affect.”
- Unpack. I think this usually refers to examine in detail or understand the meaning of something. The fact that it’s not obvious is a good clue that it’s jargon.
- Pivot. The jargony way of suggesting a change in plan.
- Bespoke. Formerly a word that applied to suits, now it’s been hijacked to suggest custom or tailored work.
- Utilize. A perennial on my list! I just ran across “underutilized,” too, which really set my teeth on edge. “Use,” please.
What are your most-hated jargon and annoying words?
“Blah blah” image by “pakorn” and FreeDigitalPhotos.net.