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Social Jargon

I have a pet peeve. It is politicians and much of our societies fascination with buzz words. Once they are adopted by speakers and the public they totally lose their impact and meaning. Examples: Dreamers, DACA, MeToo, ICE and many more. They are so overused that some assume everyone will understand them. Journalists do this all the time. They use the buzz words and sacrifice clarity.

In speech and English class, I learned you NEVER sacrifice clarity for common jargon. When speaking or writing one explains the acronym. Then and only then can it be used throughout the speech or article.

I have another example. "IED." Watching the news some time ago I heard a report on the candidacy of Senator Tammy Duckworth. It said that she lost both her legs in the Iraq war to an IED. I had never heard the term before. The newscaster never explained what the acronym meant. He just kept reporting the story as if everyone knew what it meant. Do I have you guessing now? It is an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). In other words, in common terms a homemade bomb. Of course that would be too many words and take up too much time on the air.


realdancermn 5 Jan 21

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People are lazy. They like to think they're clever, but in reality, they're just lazy.


I agree that the use of buzzwords or catch phrases allows the speaker to confuse the listener.

HOWEVER, I disagree with your examples of buzzwords.

Dreamers, DACA, MeToo, ICE, IED are not "buzzwords". They are examples of jargon as you suggested. To me, jargon are words, names, phrases particular to a subject that can't be use in any other context. No journalist would use jargon if another word can be used. Clearly, when a journalist mentions DACA, they're referring to a specific "thing". That "thing" can't be anything else but "Dreamers".

Anyway, those examples you gave, and most jargon you hear in the media, are used to get to the statement quicker. I wouldn't want a journalist to explain who ICE is and what they do.

Here's an example of a buzzword/catch-phrase-heavy memo sent to my imaginary "team leaders" in my imaginary corporation: "Thought leaders. Synergize with your team members. We need to find a strategic leverage so that we hit the ground running when we release [whatever product]. Shift the paradigm. Influence the influencers."


Agreed. Buzzwords are truly ineffectual communication from their inception. They quickly turn into recognition words only so that folks can recognize their fellow this or that. There are many examples of jargon built up around certain disciplines for the purpose of communicating complicated ideas without excessive verbiage, and that makes sense. In my careers I've had to learn three different jargon based languages. I have no problem with that. We even do that in the military to the level of being unintelligible sometimes in civilian life because it was drilled into us so well.

@realdancermn -- And there is the famous Charlie Foxtrot or clusterfuck.


I agree 100%. The buzzword I'm setting my sites on now is "community" when not used to refer to a particular geographical location. But let's keep clear the distinction between buzzwords and euphemisms!


right what drives me nuts is those buzz words when used, you get the assumption that you have a certain position on the topic. especially in the political arena. i like to research and develop my own opinion, not be told my opinion on these topics.. the media has agendas, based on who owns the company. . as far as media clarity, when a scientific discovery comes down the pike. headline missing link found!. they are all missing links, it just distorts how evolution works and panders to creationist .

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