Workplace Jargon Dictionary

Last Updated:

March 22, 2024

Table of Contents

Ever heard your manager say something like “I need this by EOW” or “Let’s save some dry powder” and thought… Huh?? Here’s a corporate jargon dictionary for all of your workplace needs (that means, this is what you’ll hear people say… and what they really mean).

Did I miss any terms? Please use this Google Form and I’ll add you to the acknowledgments list at the bottom of the page!



2.0 means the improved version of something.

Used in a sentence: "Let's call this the Strategic Plan 2.0"

"30,000-feet view"

30,000-feet view means looking at something in the broadest sense.

Used in a sentence: "At the 30,000-feet view, the problem is..."


80/20 means finding the way that will lead to the most progress with the least amount of work.

Used in a sentence: "We don't have time to do a full analysis. Let's 80/20 this.”


"Action item"

Action item means something that has to get done.

Used in a sentence: "Did any action items come out of the meeting?"


To make something actionable is to make it clear what someone needs to do.

Used in a sentence: "Your email isn't actionable enough. What do you want the reader to do with your message?"

"Add value"

To add value is to contribute something useful.

Used in a sentence: "That was a value-added comment you made."


To adjourn is to officially announce the end of a meeting

Used in a sentence: "Meeting adjourned."


An agenda is a list of topics that will be covered in the meeting

Used in a sentence: "Make sure you send an agenda before the meeting to give people an idea of what to expect and so people have a chance to suggest changes."

"Align upon"

To align upon something is to agree on it.

Used in a sentence: "Let's align on the meeting agenda first."


AP stands for "Accounts Payable”, which typically references the department inside of a company that is in charge of paying people the organization owes money to.

Used in a sentence: "Your reimbursement is an AP of the company."


Apologies means sorry for professionals who don't want to say 'sorry'.

Used in a sentence: "Apologies for the delay in responding."


AR stands for "Accounts Receivable", which typically references the department inside of a company that is in charge of receiving money from people who owe the organization money. 

Used in a sentence: "Our AR is over the top. So many clients still haven't paid us for our services.”


ASAP means "As Soon As Possible" and is a marker for something you should probably do immediately.

Used in a sentence: "We need to respond to this ASAP."

"At the end of the day"

At the end of the day means the most important consideration in the end.

Used in a sentence: "At the end of the day no one is going to read this."



B2B means "Business to Business", which typically references a company that sells something to another organization.

Used in a sentence: "This furniture company makes most of its money selling B2B--by selling office chairs to companies."


B2C means "Business to Consumer", which typically references a company that sells something to an individual.

Used in a sentence: "This other furniture company primarily sells B2C to families and college students."


Backburner means something that is a lower priority or that is being postponed for later.

Frontburner means something you should be working on as a top priority

Used in a sentence: "Let's put this project on the backburner for now."

"Ball in [someone's] court"

Ball in [someone's] court refers to whoever is responsible for making the next move.

Used in a sentence: "The ball is in the legal department's court. We need their approval before we can proceed."


Bandwidth means how much time you have.

Used in a sentence: "I'm not sure I have bandwidth right now."


Bellwether means something that hints at the potential beginning of a trend.

Used in a sentence: "The fact that so many customers are rating our product highly is a bellwether that this might be a hot product."


Benchmark means something to compare to.

Used in a sentence: "50% margin sounds high. Is this in line with industry benchmarks?"

"Best practice"

Best practice means the most trustworthy, correct, or acceptable way of doing something.

Used in a sentence: "We should look up some best practices from industry associations."

"Bite the bullet"

Bite the bullet means suck it up and do something difficult.

Used in a sentence: "Let's just bite the bullet and fire this person."


Blessing means to get approval from someone higher up

Used in a sentence: "This report has been blessed by the VP."

"Blocking and tackling"

Blocking and tackling means the basic work needed to get something done.

Used in a sentence: "The last week was spent on the basic blocking and tackling."

"Blue ocean (or “red ocean")

Blue ocean means a new market where there is little to no competition. (The ocean is blue because the sharks haven’t been feasting).

Red ocean means an existing market where there is a lot of competition. (The ocean is red because the sharks have been feasting.)

Used in a sentence: "We need a blue ocean strategy because the ocean where we’re playing is red."

"Blue sky thinking"

Blue sky thinking means brainstorming as many ideas as possible without thinking about whether something is actually possible.

Used in a sentence: "We need some blue sky thinking around here."

"Boil the ocean"

Boil the ocean means to overcomplicate something by analyzing too many things at once.

Used in a sentence: "Just do this one calculation. Don't boil the ocean."

"Brain dump"

Brain dump means to give another person all the files or knowledge that one holds.

Used in a sentence: "Would you have 30 minutes in the coming days to do a brain dump on this project before you leave for vacation?"

"Broken record"

Broken record means to say something over and over again to the point where it's annoying.

Used in a sentence: "Forgive me if I sound like a broken record on this, but I think it should be shorter."


Buckets means dividing lots of information into different categories.

Used in a sentence: "We collected a lot of feedback from our customer surveys. What are the major buckets of feedback?"

"Business case"

Business case means sharing why it makes sense for a business to try something new.

Used in a sentence: "If you are selling to a for-profit, the business case typically needs to be about how your solution will increase revenues and/or decrease costs.”


Buy-in means to get someone's endorsement on something.

Used in a sentence: "Submitting this proposal to the procurement department before getting the department heads’ buy-in is a surefire way of getting nowhere. Set up a meeting with him first."



Cadence means a certain routine or pattern.

Used in a sentence: "Would you like to meet on a weekly cadence?"

"Can of worms"

Can of worms means a seemingly small issue that gets turned into a much bigger issue. 

Used in a sentence: "Let's not open that can of worms."

"Canary in the coalmine"

Canary in the coalmine means warning that some danger is ahead.

Used in a sentence: "A lack of pre-orders may be a canary in the coalmine that this product will not sell well."


Chair means the person in charge of orchestrating the meeting or leading a group of people (committee). 

Used in a sentence: "Can you chair this meeting?"


Champion means either "a mentor who will advocate for you when you are not in the room" or "a person who is going to push a certain project through to approval".

Used in a sentence: "This project will die on the client side unless we find an internal champion who can own everything."

"Chatham House Rules"

Chatham House Rules means you can go ahead and use whatever information I'm about to tell you, but you didn't hear it from me and you definitely shouldn't share it with others.

Used in a sentence: "Chatham House Rules apply to this meeting."

"Chime in"

Chime in means to contribute to a discussion. 

Used in a sentence: "Please chime in if you have any ideas." 

"Circle back"

Circle back means to meet back.

Used in a sentence: "Let's circle back once you've had a chance to draft something up."


COB means"Close of Business," which typically means at 5:00pm.

Used in a sentence: "If someone tells you to get something to them by COB, they probably actually mean by 4:00pm to give them time to review your work before they leave at 5:00pm. If you aren't sure, ask for clarification."

"Committee / Taskforce / Working Group"

Committee (also taskforce or working group) means a group of people who meet to discuss a certain set of topics and to make a certain set of decisions.

Used in a sentence: "Let's split this large group up into sub-committees who can investigate each topic further and then return with recommendations." 


Consult means to ask for someone's opinion

Used in a sentence: "You should consult your manager before sending out a mass email."


Context means the background information others need to have to understand your point

Used in a sentence: "Before you dive in with the numbers, provide the audience with some context behind your research."

"Core competency"

Core competency means what we are really good at.

Used in a sentence: "Design is not our core competency."


Counterfactual means what could have happened if a certain situation did not occur.

Used in a sentence: "Sure, if we didn't hire this person we wouldn't end up with this big mess, but we don't have a counterfactual. Maybe this is an innocent mistake that everyone would have made."

"Critical path"

Critical path means the essential steps that must be completed to finish a project.

Used in a sentence: "Identifying the critical path of a project helps you determine the minimum time needed to complete a project."


CYA means "Cover Your Ass" (To do something so that you don't get blamed for something later).

Used in a sentence: "You should write down what you agreed upon in email as a CYA move, just in case he changes his mind later."



Deck means a PowerPoint presentation.

Used in a sentence: "Please update this deck with the latest numbers."

"Deep dive"

Deep dive means to look into something more closely. 

Used in a sentence: "Let's do a deep dive on this topic tomorrow."


Deliverable means anything that needs to be produced

Used in a sentence: "The deliverable is a 10-page report."


Delta means the difference. 

Used in a sentence: "The delta between the top-selling product and the second best selling product is massive."

"Dive right in"

Dive right in means to start right away with whatever you want to discuss.

Used in a sentence: "Let's dive right in. What do you need?"

"Dotted line vs. Solid line (reporting)"

Dotted line reporting means a situation where two people work with each other, but where neither person has managerial authority over the other person.

Solid line reporting means a situation where person A is person B's boss.

Used in a sentence: "I am dotted line to Eric and solid line to Lea. In other words, I work with Eric–and he sometimes gives me work–but Lea is the person who has the power to fire me."

"Dry powder"

Dry powder means extra, unused, resources (especially money)

Used in a sentence: "We have plenty of dry powder left for the upcoming quarter."

"Ducks in a row"

Ducks in a row means to prepare everything necessary.

Used in a sentence: "Let's meet with the VP once we have our ducks in a row."

"Drop the ball"

Drop the ball means to screw up.

Used in a sentence: "Good job not dropping the ball on that presentation."

"Due diligence"

Due diligence means to research to try and understand how legitimate something is.

Used in a sentence: "I haven't done my due diligence on this candidate, but if you have, I'll trust your opinion.” 



EA means "Executive Assistant" (to someone important).

Used in a sentence: "When setting up a meeting with someone important, work with that person's EA."

"Elephant in the room"

Elephant in the room means an uncomfortable topic people would rather not discuss.

Used in a sentence: "That was a useless meeting. People talked a lot, but never once addressed the elephant in the room."


Engage means to talk to / contact / work with.

Used in a sentence: "Don't forget to engage with the other team."


EOM means "End of Message", which is an acronym people put on a short message to signal that they are done–usually reserved for higher-ups who don't have to care about being polite and professional.

Used in a sentence: "Can you come to my office? EOM."


EOD/EOW means "End of Day" / "End of Week". (Either end of the workday / week / 5am / Friday / 12am / Sunday, so make sure you clarify if you aren't sure.)

Used in a sentence: "I will get back to you by EOW."


ETA means "Estimated Time of Arrival". (When you expect to show up somewhere.)

Used in a sentence: "What's your ETA?"

"Executive decision"

Executive decision means to make a decision yourself without putting a topic up for a group vote. 

Used in a sentence: "Don't waste people's time with a long poll for food preferences. Just make an executive decision."

"Executive summary"

Executive summary means a bullet point list of the most important information, usually presented as a slide at the front of a long PowerPoint 'deck'

Used in a sentence: "When explaining ideas to people, start with the executive summary–then pause and let others react, rather than dive straight into the details." 


"First pass/quick pass"

First pass/quick pass means the first draft of something / a quick skim of something.

Used in a sentence: "Please find attached my first pass at a draft email for Joe. Let me know if you have any edits."


Framework means to put some structure around a bunch of information (e.g. by putting it into 'buckets' or themes) or to create a methodical way of making a decision (e.g. creating a framework for deciding what types of initiatives to pursue).

Used in a sentence: "Given the many ideas floating around the team for blog posts, I suggest that we look at new content through the following framework: (1)"


FTE means "Full-Time Employee", which is someone who works for 40 hours per week or however many hours is considered full-time.

Used in a sentence: "This company has 5,000 FTEs."

"Function vs. Industry"

Function means the department inside of a company (e.g. Engineering, Human Resources).

Industry means the type of company (e.g. Technology, Retail).

Used in a sentence: "Pretty much all companies, regardless of function, have the same functions."


FYI means"For Your Information" (Information you are sharing and that people don't need to reply to).

Used in a sentence: "FYI – the 2pm meeting has moved to room 203." 


"Gantt chart"

Gantt chart means a chart that lists a series of tasks that need to get done as part of a project along the side, a list of upcoming dates on the top, and a series of bars in the middle showing when each of the tasks will get done.

Used in a sentence: "Please put this project plan on a Gantt chart so that we can visually see all the overlapping tasks that we need to get done at the same time."

"Get the ball rolling"

Get the ball rolling means to start something.

Used in a sentence: "James – how about you get the ball rolling by giving your update first?"

"Give a heads up"

Give a heads up means to tell someone ahead of time.

Used in a sentence: "Just a heads up that I will be on vacation starting tomorrow."

"Going forward"

Going forward means from this point on.

Used in a sentence: "Going forward, Jen will be your main contact."


Grandfathering means to allow whoever signed up earlier to follow the old rules and be exempt from the new rules.

Used in a sentence: "Should we raise our prices for everyone, or should we grandfather in our existing clients?"


Granular means specific.

Used in a sentence: "This explanation is too vague. Can you be more granular?"

"Gut feel"

Gut feel means an immediate reaction.

Used in a sentence: "What's your gut feel towards this color scheme?"


"Hard copy"

Hard copy means a print-out of a document.

Used in a sentence: "Can you give me the next draft in hard copy?"

"Hard stop"

Hard stop means a time when I definitely need to leave; otherwise, I will be late for my next appointment.

Used in a sentence: "I'd love to chat, but I have a hard stop at 2:25pm. Is that okay with you?"

"Has legs"

Has legs means has potential.

Used in a sentence: "This idea may have legs. Let's bring it up in our next team meeting."

"Headwinds vs. Tailwinds"

Tailwinds means situations or factors that make something grow more or move higher.

Headwinds means situations or factors that make something move more slowly or move lower.

Used in a sentence: "Falling gas prices are a tailwind to trucking companies because it costs less money to fuel their trucks, but are a headwind to gas companies that want to make more money."

"High level"

High level means the one-breath-or-less version of whatever you want to explain.

Used in a sentence: "No need to explain it to me in a meeting.  Just tell me the high level takeaway right now."


HiPPO means the "Highest Paid Person's Opinion" or "Highest Paid Person in the Office".

Used in a sentence: "Just sit and take notes. There won't be much of a discussion because it's all up to the HiPPO."

"Hit the ground running"

Hit the ground running means to be useful right away, without needing to bother others for help.

Used in a sentence: "Can you meet with Carl so he can hit the ground running?”


Hypothesis means your guess as to what will happen given what you know about the situation.

Used in a sentence: "Before you begin analyzing any data, come up with a hypothesis." 


"In the loop"

In the loop means to be included in the conversation / made aware.

Used in a sentence: "Keep me in the loop on how things go."

"In the pipeline"

In the pipeline means things that people expect to happen or tasks that people expect to do.

Used in a sentence: "What new product features do we have in the pipeline?"

"In your wheelhouse"

In your wheelhouse means your specialty.

Used in a sentence: "Python isn't quite in my wheelhouse."


Incentivize means to give someone a reason to do something.

Used in a sentence: "$20 gift cards could help incentivize people to take our survey."


Inherit means to take over for someone else.

Used in a sentence: "I am inheriting John's financial model."

"Institutional memory"

Institutional memory means the history and processes of an organization that employees might know but not necessarily write down. Typically, the longer someone has been on a team, the more institutional memory they have, so the more work it will take to replace this person.

Used in a sentence: “OMG, half of my org quit last week, so we have zero institutional memory now.”


Invite means to send a calendar invitation (typically from Outlook or Gmail).

Used in a sentence: "Send me an invite for this Thursday 2pm and we can catch up then."

"It is what it is"

It is what it is means something we can't change.

Used in a sentence: "Jane leaving means more work for the rest of us, but it is what it is."


Iterate means to work on multiple versions of something until it is perfect.

Used in a sentence: "Don't just send. me the final version. Let's iterate upon this together." 


"Key takeaway"

Key takeaway means the main point, idea, decision, or summary. 

Used in a sentence: "When others ask you for the key takeaways, first summarize everything into a single sentence, then offer to elaborate if others want more details." 


"Lagging indicator / Leading indicator"

Lagging indicator means a signal that can give a sense of past performance.

Leading indicator means a signal that helps us measure future performance.

Used in a sentence: “Be careful about companies that are growing super quickly! Hyper-growth can be a leading indicator for a company that’s going to be the next big thing. Or, it could be a leading indicator of lots of layoffs ahead. Managers can sometimes get over-eager about a certain initiative, hire a ton of people, realize their idea doesn’t actually work, and then fire the people they just brought on. At the same time, be sensitive to how self-aware the leaders of a company are. Self-aware managers can often be a leading indicator of a company that will treat its people well.”

"Level set"

Level set means to go over a topic so that everyone in the group has the same understanding of what is going on.

Used in a sentence: "Since not everyone was able to attend last week's meeting, let's begin by level setting."

"Lever... to pull"

Lever to pull means an action you can take to get a certain outcome.

Used in a sentence: “When you’re up against a difficult coworker, going to someone’s manager to complain about can be a tempting lever to pull. It could work, but it could also backfire if the other person finds out and sees you as going behind their back.”


Leverage means to use.

Used in a sentence: "Leverage the people around you. Don't be afraid to ask questions."

"Light a fire under (someone)"

Lighting a fire under someone means to pressure someone to do something.

Used in a sentence: "Unless the CEO lights a fire under the team, I'm not sure it will go anywhere."

"Lipstick on a pig"

Lipstick on a pig means to try and make something low quality look high quality.

Used in a sentence: "Let's not put lipstick on a pig. This idea is terrible."

"Loop in"

Loop in means to include / involve someone (in a conversation).

Used in a sentence: "Mind looping me in on the email thread? CC me."

"Low-hanging fruit"

Low-hanging fruit means something that's easy to do, yet makes an impact.

Used in a sentence: "Let's complete the low-hanging fruit tasks before tackling the tasks that will take several days." 


"Marginal benefit"

Marginal benefit means the extra gain or advantage you get from doing something.

Used in a sentence: “The marginal benefit of schedule sending your emails so that your message arrives when the other person is most likely to see it (and want to see it) is huge. It could mean the difference between the other person seeing your email and wanting to respond and not!”


Material means substantial enough that people will notice. 

Used in a sentence: "Changing this assumption is material to the company’s growth."

"Mission critical"

Mission critical means the most important task that will make or break something.

Used in a sentence: "We are in a hurry. Don't worry about anything that is not mission critical."


Model means an Excel file with a bunch of assumptions and formulas used to calculate something.

Used in a sentence: "Can you model out our costs over the coming year?"

"Move the needle / Move the dial"

Move the needle / move the dial means something substantial enough that people will notice.

Used in a sentence: "This decision will move the needle."


MECE means "Mutually Exclusive and Collectively Exhaustive".

Mutually exclusive means categories that do not overlap.

Collectively exhaustive means everything being analyzed fits into one of the categories.

Used in a sentence: "When structuring your ideas, make sure that you are MECE. Categorizing high school students into 9th grade, 10th grade, and 12th grade is MECE because high school students can only be in one of those categories. Categorizing high school students into teenagers, video gamers, and women is not MECE because someone can sit in more than one of those categories." 



Net-net means the final result after everything is taken into account.

Used in a sentence: "Net-net, it was worthwhile to attend that conference."

"No worries"

No worries means don't worry about it. 

Used in a sentence: "No worries, I've made the same mistake before." 


"Off the record"

Off the record means to discuss something without the conversation being recorded or shared with others.

Used in a sentence: "Let's keep this conversation off the record."


Offline means not reachable.

Used in a sentence: "I will be offline during. My hiking trip.”

"On board"

On board means to be in agreement with.

Used in a sentence: "Make sure that Claire is on board with the email before sending it out to the rest of the group."

"On my radar"

On my radar means to draw to your attention.

Used in a sentence: "I wanted to put this on your radar."

"On the same page"

On the same page means to be in agreement or have a common understanding on a certain topic.

Used in a sentence: "Before you go off and start on an assignment, make sure that you and your manager are on the same page around when you should check in."


OOO means "Out of Office", typically when someone is on vacation or not available.

Used in a sentence: "Make sure you set an email OOO greeting before you go on vacation."


"Out of pocket"

Out of pocket means either "not reachable by any form of communication" (because the person is on an exotic island) or "paid for by yourself".

Used in a sentence: "I will be out of pocket next week because I will be at a conference. I will be paying for the flights out of pocket because my company is stingy."

"Open the floodgates"

Open the floodgates means permitting others to do something that will overwhelm certain people.

Used in a sentence: "Let's double-check this form before we make it live since we don't want to open the floodgates to questions from confused customers"


Optics means how people perceive the situation.

Used in a sentence: "It's bad optics if the intern presents to the client."


Optimize means to find the most efficient or effective method of achieving a certain goal.

Used in a sentence: "If you find yourself doing the same thing multiple times, try to optimize the way you approach the task by looking for a shortcut or more efficient approach."


Optionality means to give people the freedom to choose.

Used in a sentence: "It's helpful to give your manager multiple options to choose between. Even if they choose the one you wanted all along, people appreciate optionality." 



Panacea means something that will solve every problem.

Used in a sentence: "This solution may not be a panacea, but it will at least help us meet this upcoming deadline."

"Paradigm shift"

Paradigm shift means something that fundamentally changes people's thinking.

Used in a sentence: "Good luck trying to convince the team. I'm not sure they are ready for this paradigm shift."

"Pencil in"

Pencil in means to roughly agree on (a date, usually).

Used in a sentence: "Let's pencil in next Monday at 2pm on the calendar and we can confirm on the morning of."

"Pick your brain"

Pick your brain means to ask for your perspective.

Used in a sentence: "I'd love to pick your brain about this new project."

"Ping (someone)"

Ping (someone) means to contact (someone).

Used in a sentence: "Ping me tomorrow at 2pm and we can chat then."


Pivot means to change directions, especially when it comes to a business’s strategy or focus.

Used in a sentence: "At first, we thought we were selling our software to international students on an H-1B work visas. After further market research, however, we realized that our most avid paying customers are actually immigration lawyers, so we pivoted from selling B2C to selling B2B."


Plenary means a gathering of everyone involved in a project or committee who otherwise meet and work in smaller subgroups.

Used in a sentence: "Let's host a plenary kickoff so that everyone has a chance to meet one another before splitting off into subcommittees."


POC means "Point of Contact".

Used in a sentence: "Who is the right POC for this initiative?"


POV means "Point of View" or someone's opinion. 

Used in a sentence: "My POV is that it's too early to ask for a raise."


"Pressure test"

Pressure test means to find exceptions or a rule, weak points to an argument, or something that was overlooked.

Used in a sentence: "Have you pressure-tested the assumptions in your Excel analysis? I'm not sure this number is correct."

"Push back"

Push back means to give a counterargument.

Used in a sentence: "My only push-back to this idea is that it will take more than six months before we know if it will work."

"Put on the backburner"

Put on the backburner means to deprioritize whatever you are doing.

Used in a sentence: "Let's put this on the backburner for now.” 



QC means "Quality Control", or to double-check something to make sure it works and that there are no mistakes.

Used in a sentence: "Let's QC this report one more time before sending it out."

"Quarter / Q"

Quarter / Q means a three month period in a company's financial calendar (e.g. Quarter 1, or Q1, represents the first 'quarter' of the year, which is usually January, February, and March).

Used in a sentence: "Our sales increased by 20% in 1Q2019."

"Quick wins"

Quick wins means something that is impactful and that doesn't take a lot of time or effort.

Used in a sentence: "Acknowledging that John came up with this idea in the meeting is quick win for getting on John's good side." 


"Red tape"

Red tape means bureaucracy.

Used in a sentence: "The approval involves a lot of red tape."

"Red ocean (or “blue ocean")

Red ocean means an existing market where there is a lot of competition. (The ocean is red because the sharks have been feasting.)

Blue ocean means a new market where there is little to no competition. (The ocean is blue because the sharks haven’t been feasting).

Used in a sentence: "We need a blue ocean strategy because the ocean where we’re playing is red."

"Reinvent the wheel"

Reinvent the wheel means to redo something from scratch rather than make use of other people's work.

Used in a sentence: "When starting a new assignment, resist the urge to reinvent the wheel. Start by digging around to see if others have attempted a similar task before."


Resonate means whether you like something.

Used in a sentence: "Please see below for my list of questions for the podcast. Does this resonate?"


Revenue means money that an organization makes from others (via customers).

Used in a sentence: "Every business is interested in increasing its revenues and decreasing its costs.”

"Reverse engineer"

Reverse engineer means to examine someone else's work to try and figure out how they did it.

Used in a sentence: "This company says it made over $5 million last year. Dig through the prices of their products and whatever you can find about their store volume to reverse engineer how many customers they must have served."


RFP means "Request for Proposal”, typically when an organization announces to the world that they would like other organizations to send them a plan for solving one of their problems or meeting one of their needs. 

Used in a sentence: "This RFP is super long."


Roadmap means a plan, calendar, or timeline.

Used in a sentence: "Before you hide away for a month to work on this project, present your roadmap to your manager so you both agree on what needs to be done."

"Rocket science"

Rocket science means something that is really difficult. 

Used in a sentence: "This is not rocket science. Just update the slide."

"ROI (Return on Investment)"

ROI means how much benefit you get for putting in a certain amount of money or time. 

Used in a sentence: "Let's rank these initiatives by their ROI." 


"Save up"

Save up means to save a document that is currently being worked on as a new file with a new version stamp (such as “v3”) and date stamp (such as 2023-12-10) so that the prior version can be preserved in case someone needs to refer back to it. means to do more of something with far less time or energy than it takes to do something once. 

Used in a sentence: “Please save this file up a version and then send me the latest.”


Scalable means to do more of something with far less time or energy than it takes to do something once. 

Used in a sentence: "Allowing every customer who calls to speak with a human being within 10 seconds is not scalable because we'll need to hire more people."


Scope means the boundaries for a project, where in-scope represents all the tasks that one can/should do in a project and out-of-scope represents all the irrelevant tasks.

Used in a sentence: "Is pricing in scope for this conversation, or should we not talk about price at all–because it might turn people off–and wait until the next meeting?"


Segment means to categorize.

Used in a sentence: "Our customers can be broadly segmented into three categories: parents, ."

"Shiny objects"

Shiny objects means attractive things that distract people. 

Used in a sentence: "Be wary of all the shiny objects you will come across. Focus on the main project."

"Shoot yourself in the foot"

Shoot yourself in the foot means to screw yourself over. 

Used in a sentence: "Let's not shoot ourselves in the foot by setting a deadline we cannot meet."

"Skip manager"

Skip manager is your manager's manager. 

Used in a sentence: "Going to your skip manager with questions without first asking your manager can embarrass your immediate manager."

Skunkworks (or Skunk Works Project)

Skunkworks or Skunk Works Projects means a small group of people in an organization working on a sometimes-secret project meant to help a company launch a new and innovative idea.

Used in a sentence: "Let’s stand up a skunkworks."

"Slippery slope"

Slippery slope means a situation where doing something permits something worse to happen.

Used in a sentence: "It's a slippery slope to promote this person ahead of schedule because it will lead to others asking for an early promotion too."


SME means either "Subject Matter Expert" or "Small and Medium-sized Enterprise".

Used in a sentence: "Davis is an SME on SMEs." (A ridiculous sentence you will hopefully never hear.)


Socialize means sharing an idea with others to get their endorsement before a big group decision is made.


Used in a sentence: "Make sure you socialize an idea around the team before you present it in a big meeting. If you don't, you run the risk that someone pushes back and embarrasses you publicly."


SOW means "Scope of Work" or "Statement of Work" – a contract that states what work needs to be done, by when, and according to what timeline, for a project to be considered a success.

Used in a sentence: "Can you please draft an SOW with our partners for me to review?"

"Spin your wheels"

Spin your wheels means to put a lot of effort into something but not make any actual progress toward a certain goal.

Used in a sentence: "If your manager asks you to write a 500-word blog post, set up a meeting or send an email to your manager after you brainstorm a few topics and after you write an outline of what you plan to write. If you don't, you risk spinning your wheels by polishing up an essay on the wrong topic and needing to start all over again." 


Stakeholders means anyone who is affected by something.

Used in a sentence: "Parents are a stakeholder of their child's education."


Strawman means a rough draft or outline of something.

Used in a sentence: "Don't just hide away for weeks and come back with a 20-page report. Give your manager a strawman first."

"Swim lane"

Swim lanes means whatever you are responsible for.

Used in a sentence: "Samir needs to stay in his swim lane and stop doing other people's tasks." 


Synergy means some extra benefit arising from two things being combined. 

Used in a sentence: "Since our teams are working on similar topics, there are a lot of synergies from us sitting close to each other."


Synthesize means to look at the situation as a whole and summarize the main points (like the abstract or thesis statement of a paper)

Used in a sentence: "Can you synthesize this whitepaper?" 


"Table (something)"

Table (something) means to postpone discussion on a topic in a meeting. 

Used in a sentence: "Let's table this issue for now because we are running short on time."

"Table stakes"

Table stakes means the bare minimum expectation. 

Used in a sentence: "Following instructions is table stakes in a new job. What really matters is whether you can go above and beyond what you were explicitly told to do."

"Take this offline"

Take this offline means let's follow up one-on-one later, rather than discuss in front of everyone right now.

Used in a sentence: "Let's take this offline."

"Take to the next level"

Take to the next level means to improve.

Used in a sentence: "Let's take this analysis to the next level."

"Think outside the box"

Think outside the box means to think more creatively / tell me something I don't already know.

Used in a sentence: "I need you to think outside of the box more."

"Throw under the bus"

Throw under the bus means to make someone look bad. 

Used in a sentence: "Wow, way to throw the intern under the bus!"



Timebox means to set a time limit for finishing something.

Used in a sentence: "Let's timebox the next item on the agenda because we are running short on time and I want to make sure we end the meeting on time.”

"To your point"

To your point means I am mostly interested in hearing myself speak, but I want to give you the sense that I was listening when you were talking earlier by relating my idea to whatever you said.

Used in a sentence: "To James' point earlier about needing to keep the videography team in the loop, perhaps we could send out a blast email with everyone CCed?"

"Too many cooks in the kitchen"

Too many cooks in the kitchen means that many people are involved in getting something simple done. 

Used in a sentence: "Let's limit the meeting to 4 people so we don't end up having too many cooks in the kitchen."

"Top of mind"

Top of mind means something that is someone’s top priority or concern.

Used in a sentence: “What’s top of mind for you these days?”

"Touch base"

Touch base means let's discuss further. 

Used in a sentence: "Let's touch base about this report."


Traction means to have measurable progress towards a goal or acceptance among a group of people.

Used in a sentence: "Our tweet is getting traction on the Internet. It's been re-tweeted 100+ times."


Triangulate means to arrive at an estimate by piecing together a bunch of available data points.

Used in a sentence: "I couldn't find any data on customer traffic for the winter holidays of 2010, but, given that we have data for the rest of the year and customer traffic increases by 20% from November to December, I triangulated customer traffic by multiplying November's customer traffic by 1.2."

"Two cents"

Two cents means your opinion.

Used in a sentence: "I think we can make this email shorter, but that's just my two cents. Feel free to send it if you want." 



User Interface or “UI” means whatever the user touches or interacts with.

User Experience or “UX” means the process that a user takes to do something.

Used in a sentence: "The UX of this form is terrible. There are so many buttons I need to click to get even simple things done. The UI also looks like it was made in the '90s."


Unpack means to explain in more detail.

Used in a sentence: "I'm not quite familiar with this concept. Mind unpacking this concept for me?" 



V means an abbreviation for “version” and is used for documents that are edited multiple times. If a document has a “v12” or “V12” in its name, that means that there are 12 versions of a document, with the highest version being the most recently edited version.

Used in a sentence: “I’m editing v3 of the memo.” 

"Value engineering"

Value engineering means finding a way to minimize the cost of doing something while sacrificing quality to the least extent possible.

Used in a sentence: "We’re in a commodity business. If we don’t do more value engineering, we’ll be outcompeted." 

"Value prop / Value proposition"

Value prop / value proposition means what makes something attractive.

Used in a sentence: "The value proposition of this new service is that it helps companies cut costs." 


vF means a tag people use on the “final” version of a file, where “v” stands for “version” and “F” stands for “final.” Sometimes, people will make further changes to the “vF” of a file, in which case the next version of the file will be labeled as “vF1,” “vF2,” and so on or “vFF” and “vFFF.”

Used in a sentence: “I can’t believe we’re working on vFFFF of this slide deck. This project will never end!”


"Wrap (one's) head around"

Wrap (one's) head around means to try to understand.

Used in a sentence: "I'm still trying to wrap my head around whether this is even feasible." 



YTD means "Year to Date”, or the time between January 1st of this year and now.

Used in a sentence: "What is our YTD website traffic?"