As someone who has an admittedly unhealthy obsession with business buzzwords, I couldn't help but wonder which expressions were getting hurled around so much that they would catch the attention of the dictionary decision makers and make the cut.
I also have to admit that I am still mentally scarred from when ain't and funner made their ways into the dictionaries, even if only unofficially as a result of heavy usage. So it was with trepidation that I scrolled through the new word list hoping I wouldn't find anything like baking people into the process in there.
It turns out that several business buzzwords made it through the official gauntlet.
Some of you may be applauding that business terminology has been validated. Some of you may not. Some of you may be quickly exiting this article to instead search for more useful information, like the best way to out-strategize your competition.
The good news for the last group is that out-strategize has officially become a word this year. You wouldn't have been allowed to do that last year.
I did also discover a new word that isn't a business buzzword at all but has some ironic tangential significance. The new word is conlang, which describes an invented language. We have now concocted a new word to describe a newly concocted language. I don't know why, but I now feel slightly liberated from my self-imposed business buzzword misery.
Without further anticipation, here are six business buzzwords that I can no longer reprimand you for using. They now qualify as legitimate English.
For the record, let me just say that this buzzword business ain't getting any funner.
Official definition: Software that is no longer supported by its creator.
Until now, we've hurled around terminology like thoughtware (a strange way of saying "ideas"), shelfware (an even stranger way of saying "ideas that no one ever used"), and vaporware (maybe the strangest of all as a way of saying "ideas that didn't materialize into anything useful"). None of those made the cut, though.
Maybe abandonware made it through because it came from the powerful technology sector. Or maybe it emotionally connects with us because we feel genuinely badly for that poor software that has been kicked to the curb by its creator.
Regardless, you can now use it without recourse.
2. Net neutrality
Official definition: The idea, principle, or requirement that Internet service providers should or must treat all Internet data as the same regardless of its kind, source, or destination.
That seems like a complicated way of just saying that all data is equal. Then again, just saying the words net neutrality makes me feel and sound a lot smarter. I'm going with it.
3. Platform agnostic
Official definition: Not preferring a particular devise or system.
It seems as though being agnostic now has nothing to do with religious beliefs. I'm kind of relieved actually because being devise and system agnostic is a lot less politically charged (unless you work in IT where that conversation is going to get quite heated).
Official definition: To defeat with superior strategy.
I have to admit that I kind of like this term. One out of six isn't too bad.
5. Soft launch
Official definition: The release of a new product or service to a restricted audience or market in advance of a full launch.
Given how many soft launches I alone have been part of over the last 10 years, I was surprised that this term wasn't already officially in the dictionary. The good news is that those soft launches are now validated. Before this word became an officially entry this year, I would have characterized those previous launches as completely illegitimate.
Official definitions: #1) A sharp sound like that of a striking bullet. #2) The pulse of sound waves reflected from or emitted by a submerged object in submarine signaling or detection and heard by special apparatus. #3) A signal sent from one computer to another across a network for usually diagnostic purposes.
I cheated on this one. Our business version of ping, which generally means to text, e-mail, call, or contact someone, isn't one of the official definitions. I have full confidence, though, that it will become definition #4 by next year and will quickly work its way up to the top position.
Since these are all sanctioned terms now, here I go. I'll ping you all after I figure out a plan to out-strategize you with my soft launch of a platform agnostic way of ensuring net neutrality for my new system designed to track business buzzwords. And I promise that it won't become abandonware.