Language gets modified from the top down (academics and consultants) and the bottom up (the street). The changes that come from the top down promote obfuscation. The culture barons don’t want us to talk straight lest we start thinking straight. Not long ago in the AVA Bruce Anderson nailed “strategic plan” as a hollow term that sounds more important than the plain words that mean the same thing: strategy or plan.

Here are some more bullshit terms that have replaced simple –and more meaningful– words.

Human Resources     personnel

fulfillment center      warehouse   

administrative assistant secretary   

 social anxiety       shyness

replacement workers   strikebreakers, scabs      

cancel culture       blacklisting, ostracism      

passed away        died

clinical depression     sadness, despair, melancholy, loneliness, insecurity

financier       hedge-fund manager, venture capitalist, investment broker, 

advocate     advocate for

Food insecurity       malnutrition, hunger, starvation

Environmental technician    janitor, custodian, engineer

Free trade       trade

Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome     Shell shock

Reached out   called, contacted, and the more specific emailed and phoned.

Mission Statement      purpose, goals. 

Holistic Medicine      medicine

patient care assistant   Orderly

Defense (Department )         War (Department)   

four words for two:

public service power shutoff (a concoction of the Pacific Gas & Electric Company. They even pushed “PSPS” but the broadcasters w0uldn’t go for it.)      power shutoff (or just shutoff when the context makes it obvious)

outreach manager      spokesperson, publicist, flack