Jargon sounds like blah-blahTime to get cranky, again, about jargon and annoying words. Who’s with me?

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?

Related reading:
The Ridiculous Business Jargon Dictionary has more jargon than I’ve ever heard
Getting rid of jargon is one of 7 ways to trim and tone flabby writing

“Blah blah” image by “pakorn” and FreeDigitalPhotos.net.