Turning The Tables On Business Buzzwords — Part I

Dr Stuart Woolley
Published in
7 min readMar 23, 2022


It’s time to push back against nonsense words, expose their true meanings, and maybe throw in some fun ones of our own.

Photo by ANTONI SHKRABA from Pexels

We’ve all been subjected, at one time or another (or even constantly if you’re particularly unlucky), to the never ending firehose of drivel that’s become synonymous with the managerial classes. Unfortunately in recent times this torrent of painfully high entropy has developed a kind of sentience, a life of its own if you will, and become an independent plethora of nonsensical gibberish that has evolved into something truly horrifying.

Designed to obfuscate, confuse, and deflect, the world of business speak has persisted so long that it has begun to actually take itself seriously — people have started to believe that the more and more ridiculous the phrase the more genuine gravitas and intelligence it conveys.

This is ridiculous, of course, as we all know that slapping together random trendy sounding words from a dictionary does not a language make — especially if the true meaning of these words is absolutely contrary to their newly adapted business speak use.

Let’s take a look at a few gems of business speak, what managers think they mean, what they really mean, and what us progressive engineers should replace them with (and see if managers start running with the ball).

The Old Favourites

“Close of Play”

Current usage: “Let’s wrap it up by close of play

Firstly, of all the things I consider work to be (underpaid, uninteresting, and a powerful source of mental fatigue to name but a few) play it definitely is not.

I understand that this phrase came about with reference to a game of rugby, where two teams struggled with a difficult, taxing, and violent exercise in a muddy field and probably when it was raining.

A manager uttering this phrase isn’t demonstrating their physical prowess in the way the phrase was originally intended at all, their own allusion to physical exercise being the tearing open of a new pack of filter coffee in the office or figuring our how to open their new MacBook Pro after insisting on an upgrade to ‘be like the developers’.



Dr Stuart Woolley
Editor for

Worries about the future. Way too involved with software. Likes coffee, maths, and . Would prefer to be in academia. SpaceX, Twitter, and Overwatch fan.