Examples of Jargon in the Workplace

, Staff Writer
Updated June 3, 2022
jargon in the workplace
    jargon in the workplace
    Tom Werner / DigitalVision / Getty
    Used under Getty Images license

There are many examples of jargon in the workplace. Whether it is corporate-speak commonly used in business meetings or the stuff that you might say or hear around a water cooler in the office, workplace jargon is very common. Explore a selection of workplace jargon words and phrases.

General Workplace Jargon Examples

There is no shortage of jargon in the business world. No matter what kind of business a company is in or how many employees or customers it has, jargon just someone seems to find its way into the world of work. Explore some examples of common workplace jargon phrases.

  • land and expand - to sell a small solution to a client with the goal of later convincing the client to expand their purchase
  • drink our own champagne - indicates that business leaders and employees should use the same products they sell to their customers
  • end-user perspective - considering how a product would look, feel or work from the perspective of those who will actually use it
  • heavy lifting - handling the most difficult aspects of a project
  • face time - spending time with a customer, vendor or team member in person as opposed to on the phone or virtually
  • hard copy - a physical printout of a document rather than an electronic version
  • no-call, no-show - an employee, prospective customer or vendor who does not show up as scheduled without calling in to let anyone know
  • cubicle farm - a section of a workplace that contains many cubicle workstations
  • win-win scenario - a solution in which all parties are fully satisfied with the results
  • desk job - a sedentary office job in which all, or most, duties are performed from one's desk, as opposed to requiring a lot of standing or moving around
  • kept in the loop - keeping interested parties informed about what's going on with a project or plan
  • pick the low hanging fruit - focusing on the things that will be extremely easy to accomplish
  • take this offline - to discuss something in another time and place, such as a private discussion for something brought up in a meeting
  • it is what it is - things are the way they are; there are some things that can be expected to change

Jargon for Work Processes and Procedures

Some workplace jargon is specific to certain approaches to doing work or interacting with other members of the team. Consider a selection of jargon words and phrases related to this aspect of the business world.

  • big picture - a quick overview that covers key results or points without much detail
  • helicopter view - viewing a project or product from a broad perspective rather than focusing on details
  • high-level - upper management or executive level; focusing on a broad perspective rather than minutiae
  • get our ducks in a row - to fully prepare; to organize things efficiently and effectively
  • hammer it out - to focus on working through something until it is complete
  • circle back - to revisit a decision that has previously been made; to reconsider an idea that was previously shelved
  • moving forward - making progress on the work at hand, even if some decisions have yet to be made or some materials are unavailable
  • parking lot issue - to note that something needs to be addressed, but to set it aside to deal with later
  • put a pin in it - to remember what was suggested so it can be discussed at a later time
  • ping me - reach out to via any type of communication technology so we can discuss further
  • all-hands meeting - a meeting that all employees are expected to attend
  • at capacity - lacking the ability to take on any more tasks, projects or clients

Workplace Creativity and Innovation Jargon

With so many companies seeking to innovate, it shouldn't be surprising that a lot of business buzzwords related to creativity have become part of ordinary communication in organizations everywhere.

  • blue-sky thinking - a visionary idea without always having a practical application
  • brain dump - a brainstorming session where all ideas are welcomed, without judgment
  • boil the ocean - to attempt to do something believed to be impossible
  • think outside the box - to think creatively in the hopes of coming up with unique options to consider
  • pushing the envelope - to go outside of what is expected or even believed possible in order to attain a goal or secure a target
  • storyboard it - to create a rough sketch of what an idea might look like if implemented
  • testing the waters - to run a creative idea by leadership or potential customers to get a sense of whether it might be viable
  • bleeding edge - seeking something so unique that it is beyond being considered as leading edge
  • change agent - taking a leading role in implementing change, even in light of resistance to change
  • buck the trend - seeking a different solution rather than just jumping on the proverbial bandwagon of what is popular
  • game changer - something that is so unique or innovative that it will fundamentally change the way things are done
  • paradigm shift - letting go of old ways of thinking to allow innovation to occur

Examples of Workplace Jargon Words

The workplace jargon examples above are all phrases, but not all jargon involves multiple words. Explore a few workplace jargon terms that often come up in the business world. These are just a few of the many corporate buzzwords in common use.

  • bandwidth - having time or space to fit something else into one's workload
  • leverage - to utilize something that works in the company's favor to create a competitive advantage
  • pivot - deciding to move away from an old strategy toward a new one that is very different
  • vertical - a particular line of business, such as products that target accountants or nurses
  • scale - having the ability to adjust the scope of something so that it will work for customers with different levels of need
  • takeaways - lessons that can be gleaned after looking at the results of an initiative
  • churn - this refers to losing customers; could also refer to high levels of employee turnover
  • empower - to give employees a say in how work should be done
  • stopgap - a temporary measure that will be put in place while attempts to identify a better solution continue
  • robust - something that is a powerful solution as opposed to having only minimal functionality
  • scalable - something that can be adapted to work in organizations of all sizes or with varying levels of need
  • tailwinds - capitalizing on the momentum that occurs when an idea or product first starts to catch on
  • transparent - making information available and readily accessible to team members who want to know

Workplace Jargon Examples in Sentences

To get an idea of how some of these catchphrases might be used in the workplace, explore a few examples of sentences that include jargon words and phrases.

  • This could lead to a bleeding edge solution.
  • It’s time for a paradigm shift.
  • Do we have the bandwidth?
  • We're really pushing the envelope here.
  • Bill is doing all of the heavy lifting on this project.
  • We need that kind of blue sky thinking around here.
  • I won't do business with any vendor that pulls a no-call, no-show.
  • I'm tired of having this project hanging over my head. I'm going to stay late tonight and hammer it out.
  • If sales don't turn around in that vertical, we're going to have to pivot.
  • What are the key takeaways from our first social media influencer campaign?
  • To capture the small business market, we need to make our application scalable.
  • If you're looking for a robust tool, this is it.
  • This new product is going to be a real game changer.
  • I know you want to win that account, but we can't keep putting our resources into trying to boil the ocean.

Communicating in the Corporate World

When you hear these phrases in the corporate world, you'll now have a better understanding of what they mean. Remember, every business and every industry has its own jargon. You'll need to know not just general slang but also the industry-specific jargon specific to your job. Get prepared to communicate effectively in the world of work by exploring different types of jargon or how to use layman's terms for those who aren't familiar with your industry jargon.