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…]

N O – or rather, yes! English business jargon starting with N and O

Are you the sort of person who would take a “no brainer” “on a go forward basis?” Or would you “nuke” the idea and say “not on my watch?” More business and general English jargon, this time from N to O.

More English business jargon demystified on HTWB - this time from N to O

It’s “not rocket science” to be “on the ball” if you wear an “old school tie…”

English business jargon starting with N to O

[Read more…]

J for jokes right through to M … English business jargon

Would you dare “let the cat out of the bag” or would you do better to “keep a stiff upper lip?” Or would you do some “key smashing” instead?

Business jargon by Suzan St Maur

Do you turn into a “junkyard dog” when a “johnny-come-lately” annoys you with some “jiggery-pokery?”

English business jargon from J to M

Jiggery-pokery: any slightly underhand or potentially suspicious, dishonest activity. A British term, this is said to be variant of the Scottish “joukery-pawkery” from the 19th century. [Read more…]

HI there, business jargon … explained from H to I

Would you dare subject your “head honcho” to a “haymaker,” or would you be “in a pickle” were you to do so? More English business jargon terms and their origins – this time starting with H and I.

English Business Jargon on HTWB

Do you “have money to burn,” but find that “if you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen?

Hard head: someone who probably is very good at what they do, but does not take criticism lightly, or someone who is stubborn (or both!) convinced that they are right no matter what. A 20th century term. Can also mean someone who has hard convictions about their area of expertise and has every justification for being so. Finally, can refer to someone who is “hard headed” and so does not allow emotional issues to interfere with their business or otherwise strategic decisions, but who ultimately has everyone’s best interests at heart.

Hasn’t batted an eyelid: given that people who are nervous or stressed are supposed to blink frequently, this term – popularized in 20th century English language markets – refers to someone who has not shown any sign of concern, agitation, worry, excitement or other emotion because they are not blinking more often than they would in relaxed circumstances. [Read more…]

EEEzy-FEEEzy does it for business jargon starting with E and F

Does your company’s canteen serve food that’s “finger lickin’ good,” or does it taste “fishy” and so doesn’t “fit the bill?” Enjoy these English business and general jargon terms – and their often surprising origins…

business jargon and its origins explained

I hope you don’t expect me to “foot the bill” for this “fender bender…”

English Business Jargon from E to F

[Read more…]

It’s D-Day for business jargon … some D-terms explained

Would you find any “dead wood” at work – and could you remove it with a “double edged sword?” And do you know why we use those terms today? Check out these Deees of business jargon!

Business jargon starting with D - explained on HTWB

Have you done a “dry run” with your “doggie bag?”

Damp squib: (sometimes said as damp squid, but as squid are sea animals they need to be damp to survive!) A squib, on the other hand, is a kind of firework and as you know, if fireworks get damp, they tend not to work properly or at all. So a “damp squib” is an occasion, activity, product, event, meeting, training course etc., that does not live up to expectations and is, basically, disappointing or even a total a failure. The first known use of the term goes back to the early 19th century in England. [Read more…]

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