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January 12, 2006

A new dictionary definition from the OED!

The compilers of the Oxford English Dictionary have made an important addition to the vocabulary catalogued in the definitive comiliation on the evolution of the English language. It joins a number of new words including "Bling" - a "Gangsta" speak word that means - as far as I am able to determine, jewellery, particularly gold and sparkly, totally over the top, jewellery.

The new "Word" approaches the German word creation referred to as "Schlangenworten" or "Snake words", a combination of words which, together give a sucinct and very accurate description of the subject. The new word in the OED is a good example of English snake words, even though it is only a combination of two words. It is:


management-speak, n. DRAFT REVISION Jan. 2006 [< MANAGEMENT n. + -SPEAK suffix.]

Freq. depreciative.

A form of language considered typical of business managers or consultants, esp. in being obfuscatory, needlessly complex, or empty of useful meaning. Cf. MANAGEMENTESE n., NEWSPEAK n.

I would say that the compilers got it exactly right. The only thing I would add to that is the civil service which is, I suspect, the origin of all obfuscatory and meaningless language. It fits very well with the Civil Service dictat that replies to any question by a member of the public (or an MP for that matter) must be:

1. Polite,
2. Accurate, and
3. Add nothing to the sum of knowledge the enquirer already holds.

Classic "management-speak".

Posted by The Gray Monk at January 12, 2006 10:32 AM

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