May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Home Switchboard Unix Administration Red Hat TCP/IP Networks Neoliberalism Toxic Managers
(slightly skeptical) Educational society promoting "Back to basics" movement against IT overcomplexity and  bastardization of classic Unix

Dictionary of corporate bullshit

News Tactful communication Recommended Links Diplomatic Communication Propaganda: Journalism Vacation from Truth
Socratic Questions  Surviving a Bad Performance Review Bootlickocracy Managing Managers Expectations KISS Principle
Toxic managers Female Sociopaths The Techniques of a Female Sociopaths The Fiefdom Syndrome Gabor's Checklist
Slackerism  Ten Commandments of the IT Slackers Society Dictionary of corporate bullshit Humor Etc

There is a book published Lois Beckwith with the title The Dictionary of Corporate Bullshit An A to Z Lexicon of Empty, Enraging, and Just Plain Stupid Office

Having spent years in corporate America, I can really identify with these terms. 

Here is a quote taken from Amazon:

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


accounts payable

1. department responsible for processing the fulfillment of invoices rendered to a company

2. one of the least glamorous and most underappreciated departments of any organization, as its staff members are seen as merely number-crunchers and paper-pushers; identified by sprawling and depressing cube farms, big calculators, and the palpable sense that the employees there know that no one knows their names and, really, doesn't care, and/or the thought, "I went into accounting because I thought it would grant me job security . . . but this sucks. And PS: Screw these elitist liberal arts grads hounding me for checks."

3. may behave as policy Nazis, due to the fact that any previous deviation from departmental rules (perhaps encouraged by an office flirt) has resulted in serious repri-mand and multiple departmental memos

4. a black hole for invoices; when you inquire about the status of an invoice, you will inevitably be met with the uncaring statement that there is no record of it and it must be resubmitted, indicating the need to begin the process all over again, even though your job depends on delivering a check the next day; and, resubmitting means securing sign-off from your boss, who is too busy having lunch at a nice restaurant to approve the payment of a bill. In extreme circumstances you will have to venture to the accounts payable department to physically retrieve an unsigned invoice, check, etc., to ensure payment and the avoidance of the cancellation of a priority contract.


1. a term formed with some of the letters (often the initials) of a phrase, used as an abbreviation

2. "words" that are so prevalent in business that people will often string them together with a few articles to form a complete sentence, and worse, not even realize they are doing it. The fact that people constantly ask them to translate what they have just said does not deter them from doing this.

3. terms that are frequently indecipherable to those not "in the know" (i.e., people who speak plain English), and which therefore serve to alienate them and make them feel stupid. People may enlist the use of acronyms for this very purpose.

action items

1. issues on a meeting agenda that require decisions

2. issues that are classified as such because no one wanted to deal with them/take responsibility for them in the last meeting, that suddenly require vetting, a deep dive, etc., and therefore will be tabled until the next meeting. Also see parking lot.


1. giving grounds for legal action

2. that's right, this is a legal term, and doesn't actually mean "the things that can be done," as it's repeatedly hijacked by the smarty-pants who went to Bschool

3. the things that can actually be accomplished or moved forward on, e.g., boss: "Tom, how many of the eight items in this proposal would you say are actionable in the next six months?" Tom: "Uh, maybe two."


1. to increase the worth of something by supplementing it with services, products, or access to resources

2. classic sales and marketing speak used to justify charging more than the competitor by offering frequently intangible and often unquantifiable things like "knowledge" or "experience," which are referred to as "value adds." Employees will continually be hounded by management to find ways of adding value to products so that the company can jack up the price.

3. means nothing in terms of quality, especially since anything can be claimed to add value

administrative assistant

1. junior employee who supports an executive or department through the execution of administrative tasks

2. whatever you do, do not call these people secretaries, because they really don't want to be associated with those people. PS: Depending on how long they've been around or the status of the exec they support, they might make a lot more money than you, so when you're wondering why they have Prada boots and you shop at T.J. Maxx, now you know.

3. employees who are highly valued for their attention to detail, in part because their boss claims to be focusing on the big picture and doesn't "do details," but in fact can't balance his own checkbook and would be rendered helpless if he had to do his administrative assistant's job; for administrative assistants who have taken a job with the hope that they can move from within, their rigorous attention to detail and achievement of excellence may in the end be used against them, as these qualities will not be seen as a reason to advance them to another job that challenges them; instead, they will be pigeonholed as a member of support staff, and the person they report to will fight like hell to keep them in their current position, because, you know, good help is so hard to find these days.


1. one who supports a person or issue

2. what senior members of an organization avow they will be for a junior employee or cause, a promise they immediately forget when the opportunity to do so presents itself

3. employees may be told they need to be an advocate for themselves, which is the boss's way of saying, "Although it is my job to be aware of your performance and reward you for doing good work, I'll never do that unless you tell me exactly what it is you do around here. You should not count on me to know this information, or certainly, to give you a raise or promotion unless you hound me about it."


1. medication used to manage depression

2. a prescribed medicine that in the past, you never really felt a need for, but when you started having crying jags in your cube, losing your mind, and couldn't concentrate on anything, your therapist suggested you should check them out. And by God, you don't know how you would go to work every day without them! See also Zoloft, Zyban.


1. abbr as soon as possible

2. a last-minute qualifier delivered to junior employees that is always preceded by "I/we need this"; the "as possible" implies some flexibility, and a recognition that a late-breaking request may encroach on other, perhaps equally urgent matters already being attended to. However, it really means "stop everything you're doing and take care of this now. I don't care what else you have going on."

3. often used when requesting something that the person making the demand knows full well, due to normal business hours, red tape, the sign-off of an SVP currently vacationing in Tahiti, etc., will require several days to accomplish

ass kisser

1. a person who engages in kissing ass. Also known as a brown-noser. See kissing ass.

as you know

1. a phrase invoked to indicate that what is about to be said is information the audience is well aware of

2. a phrase invoked to indicate that what is about to be said is information the audience is probably not at all aware of, but probably should be aware of (because it was on the front page of the New York Times or discussed in a high-priority memo they received the week before or was in all of the trade publications) but that the speaker is going to give them a pass on and tell them about so they can act like they knew about it all along. Used in ass-kissing situations like sales presentations or any forum in which the speaker has something to gain from the people they are speaking to; otherwise, the individuals receiving the information would be quizzed on the subject in an attempt to bust them.

at Stanford/Wharton/Princeton/Harvard . . .

1. a conversational reference to where the speaker went to school and its philosophy/culture; most often citing work at the graduate level

2. sign of a major elitist tool who in reality probably isn't that smart, as he wouldn't need to mention his Ivy League credentials when recommending a good burger joint if he were; it's not enough that these people went to a premier/expensive school and may have secured an interview or job through a particularly rousing night of drinking scotch or by attending a delightful tea at the club, they need to let you know.

3. major irony: many titans of the corporate world went to Joe Blow University and really don't give a shit where people went to school, in fact, may regard highly credentialed colleagues as nancy boys or softies. Also see Bschool.

at the end of the day

1. not the literal end of the day, as in sunset, 5:30 p.m., 7:00 p.m., etc. The end result, The final analysis, When all is said and done, When the pedal hits the metal, When the shit hits the fan, When I'm reviewing my mutual fund balances and realize my kid is going to a state school . . . A phrase uttered in conclusion by managers who are supposedly explaining a somewhat nonsensical corporate tenet/idea/policy/decision that probably does not make sense. ("At the end of the day, it is what it is.") A nice way to end a thought, thrown in to infuse a statement with an air of authority, common sense, and definitive finality. A common leitmotif; it just sounds good. See also bottom line, net-net.

attention to detail

1. diligent and focused concentration on the smaller components of one's job

2. if you are a junior staffer, this will be your downfall; any mistake you make will be attributed to your lack of attention to detail, regardless of how many details you did pay atten...

From Amazon reviews:

J. Schram

If you liked Office Space.... February 15, 2006

This is the only dictionary you need in your office. It includes phases and definitions for all the annoying, humiliting and hysterical moments we endure from 9-5. DOCBS makes a great gift for anyone who's ever had to make small talk at the microwave, play with the boss's kids, gone through diversity training or had to sing happy birthday to someone you despise.

Bradford Hubert (Phoenix, AZ)

A must-read for B-School, May 7, 2008

I bought this in my first month of business school and despite being a satire, it was actually useful in assisting with the usage of the proper jargon for presentations and papers. It is also extremely funny to watch other people use the terms without any hint of irony.

Top Visited
Past week
Past month


Old News ;-)

[May 30, 2013] The Dictionary of Corporate Bullshit RE CORPORATE BULLSHIT New York City NYC Product

February 10, 2006

Please be advised that the brand new Dictionary of Corporate Bullshit will be released this Tuesday, February 14.

Effective immediately, it should be considered mandatory reading for all corporate employees in our ongoing effort to make your workplace conditions more bearable.

Excerpted definitions:

"Checking In": Passive-aggressive intro to e-mail or phone call roughly translated as "I know you have not done this or are avoiding it, so I am hounding your ass about it."

"Circle Back": A way of saying, "I don't have time to deal with this right now, so I'll put you at number thirty-six on my 'to do' list, and when you rise to the top, if ever, I'll be in touch." Also: "I'm not sure if this is worthy of my concern. Let me talk to eight people who are impossible to get an answer out of, and when I hear from them, I'll be in touch. Like in four years maybe."

"Reinvent the Wheel": Common usage: "We don't need to reinvent the wheel on this one," which means, "Let's do all we can to make sure we don't do any work on this. Can't we just take the deck we created for the Blimpo account and slap a new cover on it?"

"Coming Along": A casual assessment of the status of a project, which really means "I haven't started it yet, but after this conversation I'm going back to my desk to find that file/e-mail and try to remember what you wanted so I don't bust myself by having to ask you about a project I'm claiming to have almost done."

"No Idea is a Bad Idea": A complete and total lie; a corporate cliche, usually disproved by the first ten seconds of any discussion following its declaration during which someone has a bad idea, which is met with blank stares, sympathetic nods and the facilitator of the meeting saying "great" and writing it down.

"Attention to Detail": If you are a junior staffer, this will be your downfall; any mistake you make will be attributed to your lack of attention to detail, regardless of how many details you did pay attention to. No crises will result from your oversight, it will just be an error made, which happens to humans, who are made of flesh and blood and are infallible, unlike machines and computers-oh wait, they make errors, too.

"Let Me Know Your Thoughts": Common close to e-mails; in reality, not a request for feedback, but a veiled solicitation of support. Should not be responded to unless you are in complete agreement with the subject being discussed.

"Thanks": A subtle bitch-slap in the form of a pleasantry, e.g., "If you are going to be away from your desk for more than fifteen minutes, you need to let me know. Thanks," "That report needs to be completed by Monday first thing. Thanks," "Going forward, I need you to make the filing of my personal bills your top priority. Thanks."

Read more:
Follow us: @UrbanDaddy on Twitter | UrbanDaddy on Facebook

[Oct 3, 2006] Quote "Figures for new orders - which indicate future growth - remained stable"

Real meaning "orders can be cancelled anytime"

[Aug 2, 2006] MC MCSE Corporate Speak Dictionary for programmers. Even if you are in a technical position, you may still find yourself dealing with sales people and other corporate types. You may also discover that they speak a different language and use an arsenal of corny phrases that might just give you the hives. This article is a glossary of our 35 favorite terms and phrases.

[Jun 02, 2013] Fear the Embarrassing Bodies webcam by Alistair Dabbs

The Register

Anonymous Custard


A multi-tiered, hybrid approach that differentiates between infrastructure and service-level competition can drive an optimum balance between national economic interests, free-market economics and a healthy telecommunications industry, that is able to provide affordable leading edge ICT services so necessary for economies going forward.

That's a full house on my bullshit buzzword bingo card...



Groupthink : Two Party System as Polyarchy : Corruption of Regulators : Bureaucracies : Understanding Micromanagers and Control Freaks : Toxic Managers :   Harvard Mafia : Diplomatic Communication : Surviving a Bad Performance Review : Insufficient Retirement Funds as Immanent Problem of Neoliberal Regime : PseudoScience : Who Rules America : Neoliberalism  : The Iron Law of Oligarchy : Libertarian Philosophy


War and Peace : Skeptical Finance : John Kenneth Galbraith :Talleyrand : Oscar Wilde : Otto Von Bismarck : Keynes : George Carlin : Skeptics : Propaganda  : SE quotes : Language Design and Programming Quotes : Random IT-related quotesSomerset Maugham : Marcus Aurelius : Kurt Vonnegut : Eric Hoffer : Winston Churchill : Napoleon Bonaparte : Ambrose BierceBernard Shaw : Mark Twain Quotes


Vol 25, No.12 (December, 2013) Rational Fools vs. Efficient Crooks The efficient markets hypothesis : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2013 : Unemployment Bulletin, 2010 :  Vol 23, No.10 (October, 2011) An observation about corporate security departments : Slightly Skeptical Euromaydan Chronicles, June 2014 : Greenspan legacy bulletin, 2008 : Vol 25, No.10 (October, 2013) Cryptolocker Trojan (Win32/Crilock.A) : Vol 25, No.08 (August, 2013) Cloud providers as intelligence collection hubs : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2010 : Inequality Bulletin, 2009 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2008 : Copyleft Problems Bulletin, 2004 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2011 : Energy Bulletin, 2010 : Malware Protection Bulletin, 2010 : Vol 26, No.1 (January, 2013) Object-Oriented Cult : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2011 : Vol 23, No.11 (November, 2011) Softpanorama classification of sysadmin horror stories : Vol 25, No.05 (May, 2013) Corporate bullshit as a communication method  : Vol 25, No.06 (June, 2013) A Note on the Relationship of Brooks Law and Conway Law


Fifty glorious years (1950-2000): the triumph of the US computer engineering : Donald Knuth : TAoCP and its Influence of Computer Science : Richard Stallman : Linus Torvalds  : Larry Wall  : John K. Ousterhout : CTSS : Multix OS Unix History : Unix shell history : VI editor : History of pipes concept : Solaris : MS DOSProgramming Languages History : PL/1 : Simula 67 : C : History of GCC developmentScripting Languages : Perl history   : OS History : Mail : DNS : SSH : CPU Instruction Sets : SPARC systems 1987-2006 : Norton Commander : Norton Utilities : Norton Ghost : Frontpage history : Malware Defense History : GNU Screen : OSS early history

Classic books:

The Peter Principle : Parkinson Law : 1984 : The Mythical Man-MonthHow to Solve It by George Polya : The Art of Computer Programming : The Elements of Programming Style : The Unix Haterís Handbook : The Jargon file : The True Believer : Programming Pearls : The Good Soldier Svejk : The Power Elite

Most popular humor pages:

Manifest of the Softpanorama IT Slacker Society : Ten Commandments of the IT Slackers Society : Computer Humor Collection : BSD Logo Story : The Cuckoo's Egg : IT Slang : C++ Humor : ARE YOU A BBS ADDICT? : The Perl Purity Test : Object oriented programmers of all nations : Financial Humor : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2008 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2010 : The Most Comprehensive Collection of Editor-related Humor : Programming Language Humor : Goldman Sachs related humor : Greenspan humor : C Humor : Scripting Humor : Real Programmers Humor : Web Humor : GPL-related Humor : OFM Humor : Politically Incorrect Humor : IDS Humor : "Linux Sucks" Humor : Russian Musical Humor : Best Russian Programmer Humor : Microsoft plans to buy Catholic Church : Richard Stallman Related Humor : Admin Humor : Perl-related Humor : Linus Torvalds Related humor : PseudoScience Related Humor : Networking Humor : Shell Humor : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2011 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2012 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2013 : Java Humor : Software Engineering Humor : Sun Solaris Related Humor : Education Humor : IBM Humor : Assembler-related Humor : VIM Humor : Computer Viruses Humor : Bright tomorrow is rescheduled to a day after tomorrow : Classic Computer Humor

The Last but not Least Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage and those who manage what they do not understand ~Archibald Putt. Ph.D

Copyright © 1996-2021 by Softpanorama Society. was initially created as a service to the (now defunct) UN Sustainable Development Networking Programme (SDNP) without any remuneration. This document is an industrial compilation designed and created exclusively for educational use and is distributed under the Softpanorama Content License. Original materials copyright belong to respective owners. Quotes are made for educational purposes only in compliance with the fair use doctrine.

FAIR USE NOTICE This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to advance understanding of computer science, IT technology, economic, scientific, and social issues. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided by section 107 of the US Copyright Law according to which such material can be distributed without profit exclusively for research and educational purposes.

This is a Spartan WHYFF (We Help You For Free) site written by people for whom English is not a native language. Grammar and spelling errors should be expected. The site contain some broken links as it develops like a living tree...

You can use PayPal to to buy a cup of coffee for authors of this site


The statements, views and opinions presented on this web page are those of the author (or referenced source) and are not endorsed by, nor do they necessarily reflect, the opinions of the Softpanorama society. We do not warrant the correctness of the information provided or its fitness for any purpose. The site uses AdSense so you need to be aware of Google privacy policy. You you do not want to be tracked by Google please disable Javascript for this site. This site is perfectly usable without Javascript.

Last modified: May, 28, 2020