Top 50 Business Buzzwords of 2013

Global Language Monitor’s First Annual Global Survey 

Complements the Tops Words of 2013, click here.


AUSTIN, Texas  Holiday Weekend (Nov. 29 – Dec. 1, 2013) — The Global Language Monitor has announced its first annual Top 50 Global Business Buzzwords, a global survey.

Top 50 Global Business Buzzwords of 2013 represent some five continents, which continues to confirm the ever-expanding nature of the English language.”

Methodology:  GLM’s Word of the Year and Business Buzzwords of the Year rankings are based upon actual word usage throughout the English-speaking world, which now numbers more than 1.83 billion people.  To qualify for these lists, the words, names, and phrases must be found globally, have a minimum of 25,000 citations. and the requisite ‘depth’ and ‘breadth’ of usage.  Depth is here defined as appearing in various forms of media; breadth that they must appear world-over, not limited to a particular profession or social group or geography.

Top 50 Business Buzzwords
GLM employs its NarrativeTracker technologies for global Internet and social media analysis. NarrativeTracker is based on global discourse, providing a real-time, accurate picture about any topic, at any point in time. NarrativeTracker analyzes the Internet, blogosphere, the top 275,000 print and electronic global media, as well as new social media sources as they emerge.
The Top Business Buzzwords of 2013 follow Rank / Word / Comments
  1. Content — Far and away the No. 1 BizBuzz leader
  2. Social Media — Reality: Social media impacts less than 15% of the Web
  3. Sustainability – No. 1 Word in 2007; have been rising in BizBuzz every year
  4. Transparency – Remains a goal far from corporate reality
  5. Literally – Principally used in non-literal situation, eg, Literally, “an explosion of laughter”
  6. Guru – Someone moderately skilled in a subject or particular field (cf ‘rocket scientist’ or ‘brain surgeon’)
  7. Utilize (rather than use) – Please deflate the diction and utilize the word ‘use’
  8. Robust – Applies to oh-so-many products: software, tablets (computer and otherwise), coffee, perfume, mileage, and hundreds of others
  9. Ping — High tech lingo seeping into the mainstream; now it means ‘get back to you’. Originally, a tool to send message packres to a network address to measure the time & quality of the response.
  10. Big Data — Soon Human Knowledge will be doubling every second. ’Big’ does not begin to describe what’s coming at us. 
  11. Any noun used as a verb – to concept. to ballpark, and the like ….
  12. Seamless – Seldom actually seamless (Cf Obamacare website), often merely ‘seemless’ or meaningless
  13. Moving Forward — From the results of those countless ‘moving forwards’, moving sideways might be more appropriate
  14. The Cloud — Everything (and every one) now apparently ‘lives in the cloud’ though networking clouds pre-date the web by a decade or two
  15. Offline – ‘I’ll be offline’. The statement is meaningless unless one includes cell phones, tablets,smarty TVs, not to mention all atomic clocks.
  16. Bandwidth – Measurement of electronic communications devices to send and receive information with upper and lower limits
  17. New paradigm – Revolutionary new ideas that change the then-existing worldview; think Copernicus, think Newton, think Einstein, most definitely not your next product
  18. Synergy – The interaction of two efforts that result in a greater return than the sum of the two
  19. At-the-end-of-the-day — More likely the end of the quarter or fiscal year
  20. Win-Win — Much more positive than tie-tie or lose-lose
  21. Game changer – A step below a paradigm-shift but exaggeration nonetheless
  22. Pro-active – Evidently better than amateur-active
  23. Rock Star – What’s the hierarchy among Guru, Rocket Scientist, Brain Surgeon, and Rock Star?
  24. 30,000 ft level – Let’s decide if we are viewing the topic from the 30,000-, 40,000-, or 100,000 ft level. Airlines actually fly at a 35,000 ft cruise level
  25. Out-of-the-Box (experience) – OOBE is number 25 on the list of TrendTopper 
  26. Resonate – produce or be filled with a deep, full, reverberating sound, belief or emotion
  27. Monetize – The attempt to transmute Internet lead into gold.
  28. Double Down – To double an investment in an already risky proposition
  29. Deliverable – An output, product, result, or outcome; a term of great flexibility.
  30. 110% — We believe it’s time to synchronize the exertion scale. As a hiring manager how do you compare 110% from an Ivy school with an exertion level of 130% from the Big Ten? 
  31. Multi-task – Swapping in and out of tasks quickly is the key to multi-tasking not doing many things as once which actually decreases productivity (as imagined by Dave Nelson and other tech industries in the 1970s).
  32. Rocket science – One step up (or down) from a guru; equivalent to a Brain surgeon).
  33. Ballpark – Another name for a ‘guesstimate’.
  34. Flounder – In history a fish found plentifully off the coast of New England, while a ship might ‘founder’ along it’s rocky coastline. Over time the act of foundering became collated with the fish. Your grasp of the language is telegraphed by this confusion.
  35. As if it was — As if it were, please. You know, conditional voice.
  36. In the Cloud — Yes, dwelling within the Cloud merits a special mention.
  37. Net-Net – Consider a sportswriter for the Brooklyn Nets basketball team: “The net-net for the Nets was the netting of the final shot.”
  38. Value-add – P+E+VA, where Product (is P) + Enhancement (is Ε ), and Value add (is VA)
  39. Future proof – In reality an impossible feat because it assumes you are cognizant of future events , in Marketing, just another day of concepting.
  40. Glass is half-full – Since 90% of new companies (and new products) fail, it might be better to adjust this cliché to: “Is the glass 1/10th full or 90% empty?”
  41. Face time – Before it was a product, it was a meeting with a C-Level executive.
  42. Re-purpose – Finding a new use for an old ‘solution. Unfortunately anything thing can be re-purposed ,including your job (or yourself).
  43. Brain surgery – One step up (or down) from a guru; equivalent to a Rocket Scientist.
  44. Rock-and-a-hard-place – A supposedly intractable situation though it usually gets back on track
  45. Bleeding edge – Leading edge of the leading edge
  46. Quick-and-dirty – Cited tens of thousands of times; we prefer ‘quick-and-clean’
  47. Push the envelope – A phrase few actually understand; Originally a descriptor of breaking through the sound barrier by X-Series Test Pilots (e.g., X-15)
  48. Touch base – Another baseball allusion: if you don’t actually touch the base you are ‘called out’. Cf Cricket allusions, such as using ‘sticky wicket ‘ for a quandary.
  49. Herding cats – Used in high tech circles for several decades regarding controlling headstrong engineers, a seemingly improbable task.
  50. Low-hanging fruit – Easy pickin’s for the sales force; unfortunately, obsolete since 2008
Word count: 1078 Draft saved at 9:54:02 am. Last edited by GLM on February 10, 2014 at 2:54 pm


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 Published on: Nov 4, 2013 @ 13:17 Edit



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About The Global Language Monitor
Austin-Texas-based Global Language Monitor analyzes and catalogues the latest trends in word usage and word choices and their impact on the various aspects of culture, with a particular emphasis upon Global English.
For more information, call 1.512.815.8836, email, or visit




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