The 13 Most Dreadful Buzzwords of 2006

Dec. 4, 2006 – Those five buzzwords are among the 13 Most Dreadful Buzzwords of 2006 as selected by the readers of, home of The Buzzword Dictionary: 1,000 Pompous Translated From Pompous to English, (Marion Street Press $12.95).

“Some business people simply believe that if they sound important, then everyone will think they are important, and therefore smarter,” says John Walston, author of The Buzzword Dictionary and creator of “Among the guilty: vice president wannabes, consultants, techies, and lawyers.

“But they’re fooling no one but themselves.

“The rest of us know that you can communicate almost any idea clearly with plain, straightforward English,” Walston says.

Here’s the complete list:

1. leveraging our assets: The ultimate DUH in business. Every company attempts to leverage its assets. It only makes sense that companies put their resources, whether it’s money, location or talent, to best use in order to make a profit?
2. mission-critical: Another sign that too many people in today’s business world have read too many Tom Clancy books. What’s wrong with the word “essential”?
3. conversate: To have a conversation. Created by those who (for some bizarre reason) don’t think “converse” or “talk” are adequate.

4. information touchpoint: Any contact in which information is shared or transferred. Yes, meetings are information touchpoints.

5. synopsize: To condense the details of a boring, two-hour meeting into a briefer – yet still as boring – version.

6. electronify: The process of turning paper-based data into electronic or digital form.

7. price-optimized: Something sold as cheap as possible, particularly a stripped-down version of a previously successful, but expensive product. However, the price-optimized version is likely to have more flash and less substance.

8. targeted completion date: A comforting term that gives the impression a project will be finished by a certain date (but everyone involved knows there’s no chance in hell of it happening).

9. surgerize: To have surgery. “Her face had been surgerized.”
10. relanguage: Term used by $300-an-hour consultants when $1 words, such as reword, rephrase or rewrite, would work just as well. “I think we can relanguage that to be more effective.”
11. computerate: Computer literate. To understand how a computer works. “Are you computerate? Or do you need me to do it for you?”

12. critical path: A list of tasks necessary to complete a project. In project management, it’s the ultimate alibi. If there’s even one delay in the “critical path,” the project will not be completed on time.

13. Professional Learning Community: A school faculty.

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