Buzzwords

Buzzword of the Week: Bringing the 'Pain Point'

In its most simple interpretation, a "pain point" is exactly what it sounds like: something so unpleasant that one is likely to try hard to avoid it or fix it. But buzzwords sometimes shift meanings, and for some boardroom jargon-slingers, pain point now means something very different.

Buzzword of the Week: Passionistas Join the 'Ista' Parade

"Passionistas" are the brand addicts every company dreams about -- engaged, highly loyal consumers. This relatively recent addition to the buzzword lexicon conveys both enthusiasm and sophistication. And in an era that also features "recessionistas," companies need those loyal trendsetters more than ever.

Buzzword of the Week: Talking in Circles

In business jargon, it seems like round has come back around. We're hearing a resurgence of the defense-minded phrase "circling the wagons," as well as the extremely slippery phrase "circle back," which changes its meaning completely depending on who is saying it.

Buzzword of the Week: Kicking the Bucketize

Bucketize may not be the most odious piece of business jargon to hit the scene in the past decade, but in its short life, it has earned a barrel-full of derision for being one of the most pointless. There's just no need for another synonym for categorizing, sorting or organizing.

Buzzword of the Week: Tent Pole

In the testosterone-laden enclaves of America's business class, buzzwords tend to be a bit manly. Perhaps the best example is "tent pole," a term that refers to a company's most promising, prominent or profitable product -- except when it refers to its biggest problem.

Buzzword of the Week: Accentuate the. . .Negative?

Conventional wisdom can't make an unprofitable earnings statement disappear, or turn a falling stock into a rising one. But there's one easy way to flip those frowns upside-down: Pair that bad news with upbeat terms and turn a recession into a period of negative growth.

Buzzwords of the Week: Rightsizing and Rightshoring

You can't call layoffs downsizing anymore, and offshoring sounds just as bad to workers as "shipping your jobs to Asia." So what do you do when your euphemisms run out of juice? Replace them with better buzzwords, of course. And who could object to something so "right" as rightsizing or rightshoring?

Buzzword of the Week: Drive

Once a clearly defined term that meant "to use force to compel or control a physical thing," drive has become one of the most insidious and overused buzzwords in the lexicon. Often now, what's being driven is intangible, and the mechanics of what's doing the driving are a mystery. So, who's driving this buzzword train, anyway?

Buzzword of the Week: Open Kimono

As political correctness gets ever more pervasive, business jargon is one of the last bastions of old-fashioned, rough and tumble crudity. Little surprise, then, that boardroom buzzwords sometimes veer into racism, sexism, or -- in the case of "open kimono" -- a combination of the two.

Buzzword of the Week: Sea Change

Most buzzwords are new terms driven by the latest developments in business, technology and culture, but a special few are older words given new life. "Sea change" is a good example, moving from Shakespeare to journalists and even government bureaucrats as it takes on new meaning.

Buzzword of the Week: Double Down

Corporate buzzwords tend to come in and out of style, their popularity waxing and waning with the rise and fall of new management strategies and boardroom wordsmiths. The latest hot term has moved from the world of gambling to the management suite and beyond.

Buzzword of the Week: Wheelhouse

Buzzwords have a life cycle, gathering momentum until they grow common, then overused, then old. For "wheelhouse," a term that is currently cresting the popularity wave, this path has taken a long and curvy route, through baseball and boats, boardrooms and pop culture superstars.