As promised (at least in my grammar universe), I am providing you with a list of innocent, well-meaning, well-intentioned words and phrases that were somehow forced to change their identity and transform themselves into something they aren’t, all for someone else’s selfish business purposes:
Action: To undertake a given task; to put into practice. Don’t bother me while I action my deliverables. Well, you can do that but not with this verb.
Anonymize: To make anonymous. I don’t even know what to say about this one.
Ballpark: To make an estimate. Can you ballpark the cost per unit for me? I can’t if you speak like that.
Band-aid: To apply a trivial solution to a problem. We’ll band-aid the situation for now. My head hurts.
Breakfast: To have breakfast. We breakfasted at a nearby restaurant, but we didn’t lunch there. Did you work on your grammar while you were eating?
Brunch: To have brunch. We brunched at Houlihan’s on the same day that we breakfasted there. You party too much. See party several lines down.
Cab it: To ride in a cab. Let’s cab it back to the condo. In the interest of grammar and the environment, let’s never cab it anywhere.
Circle back: To revisit an issue after it has been addressed. I’m heading out now, but I’ll circle back later. You won’t if I can help it.
Dialogue: To have a conversation. Let’s dialogue about the account. Let’s not; let’s talk instead.
Impact: To affect one’s business. Savvy marketing can impact your bottom line. I suddenly have a fever.
Incent: To encourage an action by suggesting a reward. I hope we can incent investors to agree with this idea. I hope we never use this word again.
Interface: To communicate. Can we interface before dinner? Will I have to learn your nonsensical language beforehand?
Lateral: To be transferred to another position at your current level. Jane was lateraled to another department. Maybe they should lateral you, too.
Leverage: I’m almost out of ideas.
Like: What I want you to do at the bottom of the page.
Operationalize: Means “to do” — but don’t do it.
Optimize: To make optimal or the most of. I need to take to my bed.
Party: To have a party. We partied yesterday in the Game Room. No, you didn’t.
Proceduralize: To make a process official. We’re going to proceduralize this protocol into a coherent business model. Do we have to?
Repurpose: To redefine how an item is used, often as an alternative to discarding it. If we don’t repurpose this production line, we’re going to waste a lot of money. We should repurpose the word repurpose.
Surface: To raise an issue. Remember to surface your concerns to all of your coworkers. It’s time for the coworkers to hide.
Uptitle: To change a job title to a more impressive-sounding one in place of an actual promotion. Does this mean that the job-title recipient will actually do a little work while at work, or will he merely continue posting every moment of his life on social media while chatting all day long with his coworkers?
Uplevel: To elevate something beyond current capabilities or perceptions. You’re starting to agree with me now, aren’t you?
Whiteboard: To convey information by writing it out on a presentation surface. Let’s whiteboard your thoughts in the meeting. @#$%*!!
Wordsmith: To edit. Let’s write down all of the ideas, and we can wordsmith them tomorrow. I’m speechless.
Please memorize this list, but use these words the way the Universe intended you to use them. However, forget everything you’ve learned here if your boss forces you to utter these nonsensical words at a business meeting. I don’t want to get into trouble.
My English Quarters
Hallie Belt, M.A. and B.A., English