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