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June 16, 2010


Val S.

I read on some blog (this one?) about how kids are using versus now as a verb, as in "We're versing the team from Eastlake on Friday." Hmmm. Don't know if I like that or not. A good site for other fun ones is buzzwhack.com (although it doesn't seem to have been updated lately).

David Kay

Uh-oh. I use quite of a few of these. May I make a modest defense?

1. "Baked in." Have you ever been disappointed by a cinnamon roll that had a great icing, but tasted like Wonder Bread inside? (Yes, I'm talking about you, Cinnabon.) It's much better when the cinnamon is baked in. Or the cheese in a breadstick.

"Baked in" is an evocative way of saying that something is an intrinsic attribute, not just a thin veneer. It's overused, certainly--ought we really say that "compliance with industry best practices" is baked in to a software package? But it's a good phrase anyhow.

2. I know incent is one of these terrible backformations of a verb from a noun...but it's a verb we need, by golly, and I don't know what other one to use. "How shall we incent attrition?" One could use encourage to, or motivate by incentive, or something, but...

I expected you'd really hate "disincent."

3. I guess I'd say the same for "scale," in the sense of "grow without non-linear restrictions." This is really an old word: people would build scale models and scale them up. We just apply it to more virtual things. "Selling hummingbird tongues over the Internet is a nice little business, but I don't think it's going to scale."

4. "Federate" is actually technical jargon that is drifting imprecisely into common usage. I'd be happy to explain its precise meaning, but perhaps you'd be happier if I didn't?

5. Re: space, what other word would you use..."market?" "Industry?" Industry is a kind of funny old-school world, now that we don't use machines so much...

Of course, I cannot defend "decisioning" under any circumstances. One simply decides.

Leslie O'Flahavan

Comments from Janice Naragon, posted with her permission:

If I hear the word "enterprise" used once more as an adjective, I might just attrit myself!

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