Corporate jargon

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Corporate jargon, variously known as corporate speak, corporate lingo, business speak, business jargon, management speak, workplace jargon, corporatese or commercialese, is the jargon often used in large corporations, bureaucracies, and similar workplaces.[1][2] The tone is associated with managers of large corporations, business management consultants, and occasionally government. Reference to such jargon is typically derogatory, implying the use of long, complicated, or obscure words, abbreviations, euphemisms, and acronyms. For that reason some of its forms may be considered as an argot.[2] Some of these words may be actually new inventions, designed purely to fit the specialized meaning of a situation or even to "spin" negative situations as positive situations, for example, in the practice of greenwashing.[3] Although it is pervasive in the education field, its use has been criticized as reflecting a sinister view of students as commodities and schools as retail outlets.[4]

The use of corporate jargon is criticised for its lack of clarity as well as for its tedium, making meaning and intention opaque and understanding difficult.[5] It is also criticized for not only enabling delusional thoughts, but allowing them to be seen as an asset in the workplace.[6]

Marketing speak is a related label for wording styles used to promote a product or service to a wide audience by seeking to create the impression that the vendors of the service possess a high level of sophistication, skill, and technical knowledge. Such language is often used in marketing press releases, advertising copies, and prepared statements read by executives and politicians.[citation needed]


Many terms have straightforward meanings in other contexts (e.g., leverage in physics, picked up with a well-defined meaning in finance), but are used more loosely in business speak. For example, deliverable is used to refer to anything that has to be done by a certain date to be verified by another party.[citation needed]

The phrases going forward or moving forward make a confident gesture towards the future, but are generally vague on timing, which usually means it can be removed from a sentence with little or no effect on its overall meaning.[7]

Legal terms such as "Chapter 11" can be used: for example, Chapter 11, Title 11, United States Code is about US bankruptcy.[citation needed]

Corporate speak in non-English-speaking countries frequently contains borrowed English acronyms, words, and usages.[8][relevant?]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bryan A. Garner (28 July 2009). "Commercialese". Garner's Modern American Usage (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. pp. 168–69. ISBN 978-0-19-987462-0. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
  2. ^ a b "corporate argot" in The Jargon Jumble: Kids Have 'Skeds,' Colleagues, 'Needs', The Wall Street Journal, 24 October 2006
  3. ^ Ellen W. Gorsevski (chapter), book edited by Samuel Boerboom (2015). "Chipotle Mexican Grill's Meatwashing Propaganda". Language of Food. Lexington Books. pp. 201–225. ISBN 978-1-4985-0556-7. Retrieved 25 February 2020. {{cite book}}: |author= has generic name (help)
  4. ^ Mulheron, Maurie (August 5, 2013). "Corporate-speak reflects a sinister ideology". Surry Hills Education. 94 (7): 8.
  5. ^ Linnell, Garry (17 March 2017). "Going forward, corporatese should be confined to the dustbin". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  6. ^ Young, Molly (20 February 2020). "Garbage Language Why do corporations speak the way they do?". Vulture.
  7. ^ "going forward | Common Errors in English Usage and More | Washington State University". Retrieved 2022-07-29.
  8. ^ Cierpich, Agnieska (2018). "English-Polish Contacts in Corporate Speak" (PDF). Socjolingwistyka. XXXII: 91–106. doi:10.17651/SOCJOLING.32.6., see page 99

Further reading[edit]

  • Bryan Garner (2011). Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195384208., regarded as an authoritative guide to legal language, and aimed at the practicing lawyer.
  • Maria Fraddosio, New ELS: English for Law Students (Naples, Edizioni Giuridiche Simone, 2008) is a course book for Italian University Students.
  • BBCi (2006) "Workplace jargon isolates staff" [1]
  • IVP (2006) Press release: Investors in People 15th Anniversary IVP[permanent dead link]
  • Reef Business Information (2006) "Managers unable to communicate with staff," Personnel Today

External links[edit]