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A 'Buzzword' is a word that senior types use to add credibility to what they're saying. Buzzwords can also be used when you don't actually know what you're saying. They are ideal for course work presentations. See Death by Powerpoint.

Good examples include 'synergy' and 'simultaneity', 'cohesion' and 'cogent', and words from civvy industry that can easily be gleaned from editorials in business journals. These may include utter horrors like 'business space' and 'work piece'. Only cnuts use buzzwords and actually believe them. If you're good enough, your plan will fly - especially if you're thinking outside of the box.

Buzzwords tend to change according to the latest designer management model. They are generally used by people who have very little of value to contribute but wish to sound like they know what they are talking about. Surprisingly, it works! It is advisable to get up to speed with their use, as usage proficiency can and does make even the most useless mong sound like he's been at Staff College for longer than what is generally accepted as being healthy.


There follows a classic example of buzzword (over) usage and it is the ideal cut and paste brief for young officers who have not had time to prepare one due to over egging the cake in the mess. Remember, PPPPPPP? Here's you get out option:

I think we need to hit the ground running, keep our eye on the ball, and make sure that we are singing off the same song sheet. At the end of the day it is not a level playing field and the goal posts may move; if they do, someone else may have to pick them up and run with it. We therefore must have a golf bag of options hot-to-trot from the word 'go'. It is your train set but we cannot afford to leave it on the back burner; we've got a lot of irons in the fire right now.

We will need to un-stick a few potential poo traps but it all depends on the flash-to-bang time and fudge factor allowed. Things may end up slipping to the left and, if they do, we will need to run a tight ship. I don't want to re-invent the wheel but we must get right in to the weeds on this one. If push comes to shove, we may have to up stumps and then we'll be in a whole new ball game.

I suggest we test the water with a few warmers in the bank. If we can produce the goods then we are cooking with gas. If not, then we are in a world of hurt. I don't want to die in a ditch over it but we could easily end up in a flat spin if people start getting twitchy. To that end, I want to get round the bazaars and make sure the movers and the shakers are on-side from day one. If you can hit me with your shopping list I can take it to the head honchos and start the ball rolling.

There is light at the end of the tunnel and I think we have backed a winner here. If it gets blown out the water, however, I will be throwing a track. So get your feet into my in-tray and give me chapter and verse as to how you see things panning out. As long as our ducks are in a row I think the ball will stay in play and we can come up smelling of roses.

Before you bomb burst and throw smoke, it is imperative we nail our colours very firmly on the mast and look at the big picture. We've got to march to the beat of the drum. We are on a sticky wicket. We'll need to play with a straight bat and watch out for fast balls.

I've been on permanent send for long enough and I've had my ten pence worth. I don't want to rock the boat or teach anyone to suck eggs. We must keep this firmly in our sight picture or it will fall between the cracks. If the cap fits, wear it, but it may seem like pushing fog up a hill with a sharp stick.

(Originally composed by 'Judge')

Utterly brilliant in its simplicity, this polemic says it all yet delivers nothing, and will either have your audience nodding in frenzied agreement, or shaking their heads in utter bewilderment. I'd wager on the former rather than the latter.

A Selection

Below is a basic selection of vital wordage that will enhance any communication. Feel free to add:

  • Awareness
  • Embed
  • End User
  • Engage
  • Ethos
  • Equality
  • Catalyst
  • Cohesion
  • Community
  • Co-ordinate
  • Cross-Agency
  • Diversity
  • Inclusive
  • Initiative
  • Innovation
  • Integral
  • Key
  • Outcomes
  • Objectives
  • Outreach
  • Paradigm
  • Partnership
  • Pathway
  • Pro-Active
  • Service User
  • Strategic
  • Sustainability

External Links

Discussion on ARRSE about Buzzwords