The Ridiculous Business Jargon Dictionary: P-wordsDo you wonder where your co-workers picked up all the ridiculous things they say? From fresh-faced interns to top management, everyone drops one of these gems occasionally. We can only hope that you're not here to actually add buzzwords to your vocabulary.
|PAC [adj.]||Perfectly absolutely clear. "… and I want to be completely P A C on this." That is some fine abbreviation irony, right there.|
Suggested by Jim J.
|Pacesetter [n.]||A product or company that dictates market standards.|
|Pain point [n.]||An area of pressing customer need. Addressed, of course, by your company's latest product offering.|
Suggested by our spies at a Fortune 100.
|PanAm [v.]||To take over; hijack. "We were enjoying a casual, light-hearted lunch until Donna came by and totally PanAm'd it with her work talk."|
Suggested by Kellie
|Paper [v.]||To document a position or transaction. "We verbally agreed to a rebate, but it hasn't been papered yet."|
Suggested by Tax Goddess.
|Paper cut [n.]||A minor negative impact. "Five reps called out this morning so expect a few paper cuts when the call volume spikes."|
|Paper shredder [n.]||Another on the long list of derogatory ways to refer to accountants.|
Suggested by Philip A.
|Parachute in [v.]||To send someone to complete work at an off-site location. "The client's legal staff are clueless so I'll parachute someone in next week."|
|Parking lot [v.]||To end the discussion of a particular item in a meeting with the intention of addressing it later. "We ran out time and had to parking lot Tim's marketing ideas."|
|Party line [n.]||Official position. "I just can't swallow the party line on these environmental standards."|
|Path forward [n.]||A dramatic metaphor for what's probably a mundane business plan.|
Suggested by Jacada.
|Pathfinder project [n.]||A new venture in an untested area. "This exciting pathfinder project will open new markets." Translation: We're new at this and making it up as we go.|
Suggested by Peter K.
|Pay grade [n.]||The limit of one's knowledge or power within an organization. "Secret monkey research? That's above my pay grade."|
|Pay the piper [exp.]||To settle a debt.|
|Payroll orphan [n.]||A laid-off employee who will no longer be receiving a paycheck.|
|Peacock [n.]||A person who insists on displaying every award, certification, and #1-dad-plaque on their cubicle walls.|
|Peanut butter out [v.]||To distribute responsibilities among team members. "Let's meet tomorrow to peanut butter out the tasks."|
Suggested by Kristine.
|Pearl diving contest [n.]||An incentive program to increase sales.|
|Peel the onion [v.]||To remove all superfluous layers and get to the heart of an issue.|
|Peer management [v.]||The art of interacting with difficult coworkers.|
|Pen-down strike [n.]||A protest in which employees are physically present, but complete no actual work.|
|Pencil-whip [v.]||To falsify records or submit a form with fabricated information. "I pencil-whipped the survey so management would take it seriously."|
Suggested by Brandon C.
|Penetration pricing [v.]||The practice of setting a low price initially in order to gain market share.|
|Penny ante [n.]||Something insignificant.|
|Percussive maintenance [v.]||The common practice of 'fixing' a piece a equipment by smacking it repeatedly.|
|Perfect storm [n.]||Unlikely event where all possible business challenges converge at once. Often used as an excuse for poor results.
Suggested by MrApples
|Phase Two [exp.]||While it once referred to a concrete part of a given project, it is now used to shelve unrealistic ideas. "That's more of a phase two idea, Jill."|
|Phenomeniche [n.]||A product or idea that is not widely known, but completely dominates a single highly-focused market.|
|Phone it in [v.]||To complete a task without much effort. "She's really phoning it in on this one."|
|Phone shui [n.]||In thick buildings, this is the art of adjusting the placement of your cellphone to find a signal.|
Suggested by Grigori.
|Photox [v.]||Improving the appearance of one's face in a using photo editing software.|
|Piece [n.]||A very trendy way to describe any issue or project. "Where are we on the recruitment piece?"|
|Pig in a python [exp.]||Slow moving.|
|Pigeon [n.]||1) Someone that is easily deceived. |
2) An absolutely useless and clueless employee. "What were they thinking hiring this pigeon?"
Suggested by Kevin L.
|Piggyback [v.]||To add to a previously stated idea. This is a common occurrence in meetings and business school classes, where the idea is usually just repeated using different wording. "I'd like to piggyback on Kim's analysis of this case..."|
Suggested by Reza.
|Pilot fish [n.]||A junior-level manager that closely tails a senior executive.|
|Pin the rose [v.]||The act of selecting someone to perform a thankless task. "Head downstairs and find me an intern that I can pin this rose on."|
Suggested by Jeffrey.
|Ping [v.]||To contact or notify. "Ping the boss about this one later."|
|Pipe, the [n.]||The never-ending source of all work. "I better hurry and finish this project because I've got three more coming down the pipe."|
|Pissing in the ocean [v.]||An action that is hopelessly trivial or meaningless. "Without the right equipment, we might as well be pissing in the ocean."|
Suggested by Jacada.
|Pivot [n.]||A shift or change. "Management has instructed us to pivot off our legacy brand message."|
Suggested by herscall
|Planful [adj.]||Describes actions taken after careful strategic thinking. "I admire your measured and planful approach."|
Suggested by LK.
|Pocket call [n.]||An unintentional cell phone call. Can often get you into trouble.|
|Poison pill [exp.]||A financial move used to discourage a takeover attempt.|
|Political equity [n.]||The hope of big business that political donations build intangible value over time.|
|Polling [v.]||Repeatedly checking Internet news sites throughout the workday, in order to be the first to 'break the story' to your colleagues when something interesting comes up.|
|Pooh-pooh [v.]||To reject, turn down.|
|Poor mouth [exp.]||To verbally deny that one is wealthy.|
|Populate [v.]||To fill out a paper form. "Can you populate that expense claim for me?"|
Suggested by Simon S.
|Post-mortem [n.]||The meeting or report that summarizes everything that was learned during a completed project.|
Suggested by Ben.
|Power luser [n.]||An employee who is incredibly good at accidentally screwing up his computer.|
|Powerpoint Bunny [n.]||Someone who is dedicated to the art of putting other people's hard work into cheesy, over-animated slideshows.|
Suggested by Alex G.
|PowerPointless [adj.]||Fancy graphics and animations in slide presentations that distract your audience instead of clarifying.|
|PR&D [n.]||The unholy union of public relations and research & development. Engineering activities performed for promotional purposes with no regard for usability, return on investment, or product application.|
Suggested by Mad Casual.
|Prairie dogging [v.]||The simultaneous pop-up of several heads when something interesting is happening around cubicles.|
|Pre-mumble [n.]||The preliminary comments of a speaker. Often an attempt at humour is made.|
|Pre-read [n.]||Subject matter, memos and other materials that should be read prior to a meeting or event. "Please forward the pre-read to my secretary before tomorrow's board meeting."|
|Prebuttal [n.]||To address an opposing viewpoint before it's brought up. Often interruptive, "Now I know what you're going to say..."|
|Presenteeism [n.]||The practice of working ridiculously long hours.|
|Press on that bruise [v.]||The act of further exposing or exploiting a known weakness to advance one's cause. "I don't mean to press on that bruise, but…"|
Suggested by Cal N.
|Press the flesh [v.]||To shake hands.|
|Pretendgineer [n.]||A young worker who has settled for a technical job after realizing that his true passion won't pay the bills. "He's still hoping for that record deal, but he's been a pretendgineer since graduation. I give it 6 months before the guitar's gathering dust."|
Suggested by JC & CM.
|Prethink [v.]||Discussing an idea or proposal with a smaller group before broader delivery. "We met to prethink our message before the call."|
Suggested by w3.
|Price point [n.]||Although a legitimate economic concept, business people are simply happy to have a much cooler way to say 'price'. "What kind of price point were you looking for?"|
|Proceduralize [v.]||To make a process official. "We're going to proceduralize this protocol into a coherent business model."|
|Productize [v.]||To turn into a product. "How do we productize our experience in this sector?"|
|Programmatically [adj.]||To complete a task with the help of a software tool. "I want to be able to track our shipments programmatically."|
|Progressive elaboration [n.]||The process by which a mediocre project is continuously modified via trial and error with the hope that it is improving.|
Suggested by Jon B.
|Project creep [n.]||The ongoing extension of a deadline by small increments.|
Suggested by Brian C.
|Promoted to customer [v.]||Fired. "Didn't you hear? Melanie was promoted to customer last Friday."|
Suggested by Gregg.
|Prostitot [n.]||A pre-teen girl who dresses provocatively.|
|Pucker factor [n.]||The degree of reaction to something that is startling or unexpected. Better not to think about the origins of this one.|
|Puff piece [n.]||An article that is purely hype.|
|Pulse [v.]||To gather information informally. "Pulse our liaisons for any changes to our contact lists."|
Suggested by Jordan M.
|Pulse check [n.]||A short meeting to discuss the status of an ongoing project. "I've got a repeating tickler on the Tuesday pulse check."|
Suggested by Tonina
|Pump and dump [v.]||To pad a list price higher so that the net profit is still palatable after a large discount is applied. "Who negotiated this corporate account? I had to pump and dump all my quotes to those guys."|
Suggested by Colin M.
|Punch the tree [v.]||To vent anger at an inanimate object in lieu of the person who caused it. "Take five, punch the tree, and come back in here with a clear head."|
Suggested by Tom NWC.
|Pushback [n.]||The opposition that one's ideas face from the rest of the company.|
|Pushing rope [v.]||A fruitless task. "You've wasted half your career pushing rope."|
Suggested by Jon B.
|Put the acid on [v.]||Applying negative pressure to motivate an individual or group. "R&D has gone full-on fantasyland. Time to put the acid on."|
Suggested by Lea C.
|Put to bed [v.]||To conclude something. "We just need to put these last issues to bed."|
|Put your feelers out [exp.]||To assess a situation using information gathered from one's professional network. "Why don't you put your feelers out to gauge the partners' interest in our latest initiatives."|
|Putting socks on an octopus [v.]||Attempting an impossible task. "Closing these latest prospects is like putting socks on an octopus."|
Suggested by Mrs. B. Trellis of North Wales.