Get your business jargon and slang down to a TTTTTT…

You may know what most of these terms mean, but their origins are often very surprising. Here is the penultimate in this series, all starting with the popular letter “T…”

One in a series of articles on business jargon and slang

Does a “thought shower” allow you to “talk turkey” and “toe the line” about “the blue economy?”

Take pot luck: (or take potluck) is usually thought to be related to the US meaning, dating back to the late 19th century, where a large meal consists of individual edible contributions from all the guests. However the term goes back farther in time, to Britain in the 16th century, when to take pot luck meant to take your chances on what you get. Interestingly, both meanings of the term are still in use.

Take something with a grain/pinch of salt: to accept something for what it appears to be, but with some reservations as to its accuracy! This term comes from the days when much food was rather tasteless and in many cases might have been poisoned. The idea was that if you were to take such food with a “grain of salt,” or a “pinch of salt,” it made it easier to swallow. The first known reference to this goes back nearly two thousand years when Pliny wrote about it (“grain of salt”) in Naturalis Historia, back in 77 A.D. The term (also as “grain of salt”) was popular in England from the 16th century in examples like John Trapp’s Commentary on the Old and New Testaments, in 1647, and F. R. Cowell (“pinch of salt”) in Cicero & the Roman Republic, in 1948. The amount of salt concerned with a “pinch” is obvious, and a “grain” is roughly .065 of a modern day gram. [Read more…]

Now for some SSSSSuccesses in English business jargon and slang…

If you spill the beans, you’d better shake a leg and sink or swim if you don’t want to go stir crazy … more fascinating origins of business and other jargon and slang in the crazy language called “English…”

English business jargon and slang, letter S

Are you as Stubborn as a mule?

Screwed, screwed up: often used as a metaphor for being damaged, or when something has happened to cause failure, e.g. “the sale of the company screwed up the engineers’ plans to create a new model of the motor.” We must assume that the term (which is officially classed as slang!) originates from the nature and usage of a screw, which is tightened by turning it around on its thread until it has fastened something. There are various other slang terms that use the word “screw,” and most of them are vulgarisms connected with action of “screwing” which, of course, also can be used as a euphemism for the sex act. However there are more innocent usages of the word, e.g. “to screw up a sheet of paper” meaning to crumple it up in your hand ready to throw away.

See eye-to-eye: this term has its origins in the Christian Bible, and its meaning hasn’t changed in the meantime… [Read more…]

Rolling the RRRs of English business jargon and slang…

Do you rock when you rise and shine, or does someone have to reach out and railroad you? More of our ridiculous language’s jargon and slang, for business and beyond.

Jargon and slang used for business in English

Do you Rock when you Rock a fashionable outfit?

Railroad: to force, or at least to press, a project or process through to rapid completion, often without proper concern for people and places that might be adversely affected by it. The term is thought to originate from the days in the 19th century when railroads (railways) were being built at speed in many countries.

Raincheck: a postponement due to unforeseen circumstances. This word – sometimes shown as two words – comes from the USA and was used when a baseball game had to be called off due to bad weather… [Read more…]

Essay writing services that help students cheat: would you be proud of a degree earned this way?

These cheating essay writing services people are so, so sneaky … I thought I could smell them when they email me offering “guest posts,” but I fell for this one who did actually write more or less what I suggested he do.

Cheating at college by buying written essaysThree things rang an alarm bell once the article arrived: one, a sub-heading wasn’t quite correct English; two, his bio at the end was incomplete, terminating in mid-sentence; and three, there was an embedded link. When I clicked the link, Microsoft warned me that it was suspicious. But I was nosy, and getting angry by this point. I avoided clicking on the link, but typed it into Chrome.

Guess what? I found myself on the most blatant cheating “essay writing services” site I’ve ever seen

[Read more…]

Writing about yourself: how not to fall into the I-ME trap

One of the most common among classic writing (and speaking) grammar goofs is the I or ME dilemma, when I-ME does something with someone else.

Is it you and I or you and me?

Did Dad and I go out for brunch yesterday, or was it Dad and me?

Without resorting to formal grammar jargon, here is a simplified but very easy to grasp illustration of the problem and its solutions…and scroll down if you want an easy trick to make sure you stay out of the I-ME trap from now on…

Writing quiz: which of the following are correct?

1.Deanna, Mike, Tom and I went to the movies last night. [Read more…]

Mind your Ps and Qs – English business jargon you love to hate

No matter how much we say we hate it, in business – and other areas of activity – jargon has become part of our lives whether we like it or not.

More English business jargon

Mind your Ps and Qs…

As we’re stuck with it, we may as well enjoy learning about its meanings and origins … so here we go with some more from my series. Enjoy…

From P to Q … business jargon for you

Pack rat: also “packrat” … a term in use in the USA since around the mid 19th century, meaning someone who hoards and keeps everything and can’t bear to throw anything away. Derived from the animal that takes small objects back to its nest and hoards them there. Can also be used as a verb, e.g. “he pack rats old newspapers saying he will read them again one day.” [Read more…]

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