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For the Acrobat product, see Adobe Buzzword.

A buzzword (also fashion word and vogue word) is a term of art or technical jargon[1] that has begun to see use in the wider society outside of its originally narrow technical context by nonspecialists who use the term vaguely or imprecisely. Labelling a term a "buzzword" often pejoratively implies that it is now used pretentiously and inappropriately by individuals with little understanding of its actual meaning who are most interested in impressing others by making their discourse sound more esoteric, obscure, and technical than it otherwise would be.

Buzzwords differ from jargon in that jargon is esoteric but precisely defined terminology used for ease of communication between specialists in a given field, whereas a buzzword (which often develops from the appropriation of technical jargon) is used imprecisely among non-specialists with the primary goal of impressing the listeners with the speaker's use of an obscure term rather than technical communication per se.[1]


Reasons for using buzzwords

  • Thought-control via intentional vagueness. In management, by stating organization goals with opaque words of unclear meaning; their positive connotations prevent questioning of intent, especially when many buzzwords are used. [2] (See newspeak)
  • To inflate the trivial to importance and stature.
  • To impress a judge or an examiner by seeming to know a legal psychologic theory or a quantum physics principle, by name-dropping it, e.g. "cognitive dissonance", the "Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle".
  • To camouflage chit-chat saying nothing.

Individual examples

Below are a few examples of words that are commonly used as buzzwords. For a more complete list, see list of buzzwords.

Here are samples from the automated Dilbert Mission Statement Generator, which was hosted on the United Media website[1]:

  • "It's our responsibility to continually provide access to low-risk high-yield benefits and collaboratively administrate economically sound materials while promoting personal employee growth."
  • "It's our responsibility to authoritatively negotiate market-driven technology so that we may conveniently build low-risk high-yield opportunities to stay competitive in tomorrow's world."
  • "We have committed to assertively integrate high-quality infrastructures to exceed customer expectations."

See also

External links


  • Negus, K. Pickering, M. 2004. Creativity, Communication and Cultural Value. Sage Publications Ltd
  • Collins, David. 2000. Management fads and buzzwords : critical-practical perspectives. London ; New York : Routledge
  • Godin, B. 2006. The Knowledge-Based Economy: Conceptual Framework or Buzzword?. The Journal of technology transfer 31 (1): 17-.
  1. ^ a b Lundin, Leigh (2009-12-31). "Buzzwords– bang * splat !". Buzzwords. Criminal Brief. 
  2. ^ Politics and the English Language
  3. ^ a b c Buzzword Hell
  4. ^ a b Evolt: Buzzword Bingo
  5. ^ N-Gage At E3 Showcases Immersive Games And Next-Generation Mobile Gaming
  6. ^ The Register: The Long Tail's maths begin to crumble
  7. ^ "The Buzzword Bingo Book: The Complete, Definitive Guide to the Underground Workplace Game of Doublespeak", author: Benjamin Yoskovitz, publisher: Villard, ISBN 978-0375753480
  8. ^'s Top 10 Buzzwords
  9. ^ a b Maine Today - Business: Business buzzword hall of fame
  10. ^ Good PR is Buzz-word free


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