Oscar Wilde said, “I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying.”
I’ve often wondered what the world’s great wordsmiths would think of the lazy land of language of today, where quite frankly, no one truly knows what you’re talking about.
Take the crime we commit every time we informally talk in jargon. Best practice. Takeaway. ROI. Paradigm shift. Going forward. Touch base. Blue sky. Thrown under a bus. Low hanging fruit. Close the loop. Think outside the box. At the end of the day…
I say, meh.
The sad thing is, meh does not get underlined in Microsoft Word as a typo because it is a real word.
Here’s the definition:
expressing a lack of interest or enthusiasm.
“Meh. I’m not impressed so far.”
“A lot of his movies are…meh.”
Here’s a bit of trivia about meh. According to Wikipedia, the word’s first mainstream print usage occurred in the Edmonton Sun in 2003: “Ryan Opray got voted off Survivor. Meh.” So congratulations to all of us in Edmonton for being…well…innovators? We were successful in replacing the word whatever with meh as a verbal shrug.
And when did the word busy become how one is feeling?
Q. How are you?
A. Busy. You?”
No, but seriously, how are you? If you answer busy, or worse, crazy busy, does that mean you feel bad or good, happy or sad, and if you are crazy busy do you have one foot firmly in the loony bin?
I read a great article from the Boston Globe, Jargon: It’s not the business world’s fault!”
Here’s an excerpt:
“In an infamous December 2012 press release, Citigroup announced that it would begin a ‘series of repositioning actions that will further reduce expenses and improve efficiency,’ resulting in ‘streamlined operations and an optimized consumer footprint across geographies.’ Translation: 11,000 people would be repositioned out the door.”
Language is a funny thing. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to chime in by circling back to the top of the page to give me your two cents. Then it’s really a win-win.
Here’s another great read if you want to work on your clichés. The title of the article alone is worth a laugh!