Okay, this one is just simply asinine.
I actually heard a director say this: "We need to provide four levels of service: good, better, best, bester. If we have that fourth level, that is where we'll start to see the return on investment."
Are you kidding me? My 22 month-old daughter has never made up a word that bad.
I think I was just as surprised he did not say, "Okay, I'm going to make up a word here because I'm a idiot. But you'll know what I'm talking about. It's important for our proactive progress strategy, our proprostrategeressivity"
The funny thing is that everyone knew what he was talking about. We need to take our service to the next level because that's where we make the money. We need to take it to the bester level. Only one level to go until the real money starts rolling in. Yes, that would be the bestest level.
One joy of working in a corporate environment is hearing my leaders (corporate lingo for "bosses") speak. No lie here: I truly enjoy listening to people who have spent countless hours in board room meetings, worked with billions of dollars of revenue, and taken their enterprise into the Fortune 100. If you listen closely, they'll give away the secrets of how they did it.
And they'll invent words.
Corporate vernacular grows with new buzzwords or phrases that are embraced from the board room to the mail room. Perhaps it's because corporations need words to better describe an industry version of a non-industry noun, verb or adjective. One example is "endemic." By definition the word means, "Natural to or characteristic of a specific people or place; native; indigenous; belonging exclusively or confined to a particular place." But the word has grown to also mean something characteristic of the project, environment, or culture of the industry. And now it's a sexy word because of the added meaning. So the speaker sounds very smart. Very cool.
But it's sad that a room full of MBAs lack sufficient experience with - and sometimes comprehension - of the English language. It's sad that they consciously think that using bigger words will help them sound smarter. It's sad that they invent words and think they can get away with it. Setting proper grammar aside, which is routinely abused (I'm guilty as charged on occasion), there's simply no excuse to invent words just get your point across. And it should not matter where you are, where you work, or how many words you have in your title.
These people sound dumb.
This is where I come in: the peon in the corner who takes notes. At the front of my notebook is a page dedicated to discovering new and conjured words and bringing them out of the board room and into the real world for all to see.
So without further ado, let us start with the first word: CONTUITOUS (con-TOO-i-tus).
Oooh. This is a good one. When it was used, not one other person in the room knew this was a fake word. I used it in a sentence after the violator did just to see if I had it right:
Violator: "We need make [the vendor]'s work with the pilot and the business contuitous."
Me: "But will [they] be contuitous with the other vendors who have submitted bids?"
Violator: "I believe so. Does anyone see any issues with the [the vendor]'s approach?"
It sounds soooo right, almost better than a malaprop. But it's not a real word at all. The violator, the owner of a proud MBA, slid that sucker in there like a greased hot dog through Jell-O. He pulled it off without anyone else even realizing that the "smartest guy in the room" fed them a big 'ol stinky fake word.
This doesn't say much for my colleagues either. The fact that I, out of 12 people in the room, was the only one to catch this doesn't say much.
So if you hear anyone use the word, "contuitous," you can now safely stand up, reach across the table, smack the violater in the neck fat, calmly explain the violation, sit down, and laugh a little while you jot down in your notes that you must tell all your friends about this.
But go ahead and use it when talking to dumb people. That's fun.
Another word soon...