What’s Jargon?


Particular words or expressions used by a profession, group, or industry that are challenging for others to understand. In the Business content, these expressions are widespread and significant. Understanding jargon is crucial to effective communication. 

There’s some kind of debate about whether you should or shouldn’t use Jargon. For example, in the website plainlanguage.gov (a webpage from the United States government), we can read this “Jargon is unnecessarily complicated language used to impress, rather than to inform, your audience.” 

Here is a brief list of what they consider is meaningless Business Jargon:

  • Thinking outside the box
  • Value-added
  • Best practice
  • For all intents and purposes
  • Touch base
  • Integrating quality solutions
  • Promoting informed and synergistic teams
  • Strategically engaging departments, and so on…

As an English speaker/communicator, using jargon is neither necessary nor mandatory. Actually, if we are talking to other non-native speakers, it would be great to avoid using it.

There’s a lot of cultural background in understanding jargon and we don’t know if our listeners are used to listening/using/understanding jargon.

Anyways, as an English learner, you need to be aware of the expressions people commonly use in the office so you can confidently understand any conversation. 

Here I’ll show you some common expressions used at work:

Boil the ocean: describes an action or project that wastes a lot of time.

It is what it is: refers to the lack of control or care for a specific situation or project result.

Trim the fat: connotes the act of removing unnecessary details, resources, or individuals from a company or project.

Jump the shark refers to a company or product struggling to stay relevant to the public or its consumers and clients.

An 800-pound gorilla: is used to describe dominating or uncontrollable because of significant size or power.

Over the wall: refers to sending important information to a client or customer.

Make hay: is used to describe an opportunity to be productive during working hours. It is short for the phrase “make hay while the sun shines.”

Low-hanging fruit: connotes a straightforward project or new idea that could produce immediate and beneficial results.

It describes going for the easy win, maybe while the more complicated stuff gets shoved to the “back burner.”

Tiger team: is a group of individuals who share an area of expertise that a business or organization assembles to develop an action plan for a specific problem or challenge.

S.W.A.T. team: refers to a group of individuals that work to enact a plan or solution developed by a company’s tiger team.

Blue sky thinking: used to describe highly creative problem-solving and innovative new ideas.

Out of pocket: This is another way for business people to say that they will be unavailable or out of the office for a disclosed period.

Best practice: is a term for the most beneficial or superior method of accomplishing a task or project.

Bleeding edge: is used to define an innovative product or service.

Moving the goalposts: connotes changing an expectation or parameter of an ongoing project in a way that makes the task more difficult to complete.

Game changer: is a phrase used to describe a significant change to a company or project.

Giving 110%: refers to people requesting that you exert extra effort into the task.

Thought shower/brainstorming: is a group discussion or meeting to generate new ideas or clever solutions to company challenges.

Lots of moving parts: is used to describe a system or business with many departments, employees, and processes—May reference high complexity.

Bring to the table: often used to describe a skill or expertise that an individual can offer to a company or project. The phrase is most often used as a question.


“Linguistic supersizing is on the increase, and it may show the influence of advertising-speak and corporate jargon on language, in which everything needs to be hyped to get noticed. It means that some of our greatest words are losing their power.” Susie Dent




Lingo: a foreign language or local dialect.

Overused: used too much.

Vulgar: lacking sophistication or good taste; unrefined.



Be down

“Laura’s been down since her partner left her.”

Be fed up

“I am fed up with the boss’s complaints.”

Angle for

“Tyson’s been angling for an invitation, but I don’t want him to come.”


Want to practice even more?…