While I’m talking about words, I should mention some that I don’t like to use on principle, mostly business jargon:
- “Issue.” At some point in the recent past, “problem” disappeared as a perfectly acceptable word to be replaced by “issue.” I mostly see it in the wild as a snide, judgmental term for “difficulties.” For example, our upstairs neighbor throws temper tantrums, complete with stomping, banging and yelling, despite the fact that he’s in his twenties. He clearly has “anger issues.”
- “Liaise.” A back-formation from “liaison,” this means “to act as a liaison.” It sounds, though, like a chronic skin condition…or maybe a rancid condiment. I prefer “connect” or “coordinate.” However, in my capacity as the vice president for the Friends of the Winooski Library, I am the liaison between the library board and the Friends, so I always use “liaise” to describe what I do because it cracks me up.
- “Bandwidth.” This means “something akin to time/energy/availability.” Interestingly, I mostly hear it in a negative context, i.e., people insisting that they do not have the bandwidth for more work. I find other terms serviceable for the same concept, and I don’t wish to use a technical IT term.
- “Contact” and “reach out.” These terms are useful because they cover a variety of means of communication [E-mail, phone, in-person]. I still prefer “talk to.”
- “Pushback.” This, of course, is a synonym for “resistance.” This one really irritates me, as it seems to reflect a euphemistic tendency to avoid calling out conflict and disagreement for what it is.
In other news, I’ve gotten over my revulsion for “webinar,” if only because of its ubiquity. I’m also much more of a descriptivist these days.