Tracking the wild jargonist: A field guide to gibberish

Sometimes professionals in a particular field have no choice but to use technical language. Other times, it’s clear that the writer/speaker is just shoveling fertilizer. Check your shoes.

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Jargonism is all around us, especially in the worlds of social media and computers. You might think you’re immune to its effects, but that’s not giving it the weight it deserves. Jargon is not just overenthusiastic use of a thesaurus, nor is it merely harmless pretension.

Jargon makes it harder for your brain to process information, which is why jargonists use it: It makes what they have to say sound more significant than it actually is.

Jargon is a confidence trick.

There’s nothing wrong with the mundane. It’s OK to do stuff people might think is boring; it’s never boring if it’s your job. Be proud of it, be good at it, and don’t call a “spade” a “precision terrain sculpting tool” to make people respect digging. Make them respect it by virtue of its value to the world. We’d be lost without the ordinary; it’s valuable.

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