August 31, 2010

Banishing the Buzz

Unsuck It, a new buzzword dictionary making some buzz on the Internet, claims to "unsuck" pretentious business jargon into normal English. The online lexicon contains some apt entries of inflated buzzwords that indeed need to have hot air sucked out.

For example, a team player is translated as "helpful employee," a go-forward plan is just a "plan," and the word synergy is unsucked to mean
simply "working together." Computer jockeys who self-importantly claim to be ninjas, rockstars, or wizards are demoted to "adequate programmers." The list contains some new-fangled terms that I hadn't known existed, including timebox, upskill, and adverteasing. Other terms that I had heard before, but perhaps wish I hadn't, are mindshare, ping me, and ideation.

At the same time, Unsuck It doesn't always hit its target. Skin a cat, drop the ball, and drink the Kool-Aid are unsucked on the site, but they are perfectly ordinary English idioms. And I wouldn't consider brainstorm or ubiquitous to be buzzwords. They’re just words.

Still, the greater cause of Unsuck It, to discourage the use of inflated jargon, should be supported. Ironically, if the website becomes popular, unsuck may end up becoming a buzzword that
itself needs unsucking.

Contribute Your Comments

What business jargon drives you crazy? What buzzwords should be banished?


  1. Ahaha! Thanks for the link to the unsuck site. There's a special place in hell for the term 'best-practices'.

  2. I love it! Glad to have the awkward adverb back!

  3. I hate buzz words, thanks for sharing this great site.

  4. At my current job, the CEO and other high-ranking executives like to sprinkle in the term "enterprise" to describe our company. As in, "We continue to look for continuous improvement opportunities to benefit the enterprise." It makes me feel like I'm part of a big spaceship.