18 annoying buzzwords you need to stop using at work

4 Things You Should Never Say at Work
4 Things You Should Never Say at Work

We all know business jargon is obnoxious. Yet, so many of us continue to use (and abuse) annoying buzzwords and clichés.

Darlene Price, president of Well Said, Inc., previously told Business Insider that most business language clichés were once a fresh, creative way of expressing a popular thought or common idea. "But because of long, excessive use, each phrase has lost its originality, impact, and even meaning," she said.

Thankfully, "buzzword backlash is growing," says Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and the author of "Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job."

Here are some of the most common — and annoying — jargony phrases you're using at work, along with commentary from Taylor:

'Break a leg'

It's well-meaning, but trite and needs a reboot. "It's like saying, 'Good luck ... oh, and end up in ER!' How about something more heartfelt, like, 'Go for it, and hey ... no broken bones,'" says Taylor.

'Open up the kimono'

"The open kimono phrase should be put away once and for all; stored in a distant space capsule, for everyone's sake," she says.

'Boil the ocean'

"An interesting metaphor suggesting impossibility, but with climate change, it cannot be ruled out," Taylor jokes. "Sadly, this expression can make your blood boil, though."


'Hit the ground running'

"This must have come from the same sadist who created, 'Break a leg,'" she says.

'At the end of the day'

"I've witnessed this phrase in corporate America for many years, but now I fear it could outlive the cockroach," she says.

'Lots of moving parts'

"Precisely describes the 'soul' of the business droids who use such vexing language."


"This sign-off just tells me the user still has a weakness for pizza."

'Robust and scalable'

"If you don't push back, this is the very future of 'Repeated Buzzword Fury,' and it's not pretty," she warns.

'The enterprise'

This jargon has been around forever — and it's one of the most annoying phrases.

'Run it up the flagpole'

"Can humans successfully run anything up a flagpole other than a flag?" Taylor asks. "Exactly."


Eliminate it from your workplace vocabulary right now ... please!

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'We must move the needle'

"A ridiculous, annoying and mechanical way of saying 'shape up' without pointing fingers," she explains.

'Peel the onion'

"If they had true feelings and tear ducts, Buzzword Bots would not say this," Taylor jokes.

'Our signals were crossed'

In other words: you misunderstood.


"People who use jargon like 'ping me!' love complicating things and making them sound foreign, cool and geeky."

'Mission critical'


'Take that off-line'

So, you're saying you want to speak in private? Okay, then just say "I want to speak in private."


Just use normal words, like "time" or "energy."

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