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Give me your most jargon-filled work-related statements
August 14, 2014 7:47 AM   Subscribe

I love jargon, especially among sub-genres of things. This week a web developer friend uttered a sentence about frameworks and databases that made sense but sounded so ridiculous I had to stop and ask him to repeat it. I'd like to hear more of these. Please give me the most jargon-filled sentence that you might have uttered at work in the past few weeks and made complete sense to coworkers, but sounds utterly ridiculous to outsiders, and state what your occupation/context was for it.
posted by mathowie to Writing & Language (33 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
 
Do you want sentences with field-specific acronyms (libraries have a TON), or mainly sentences where all of the words are actual English language words but used in a context that is highly field-specific?
posted by MsMolly at 8:04 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


The latter, I'm not a fan of abbreviations.
posted by mathowie at 8:10 AM on August 14


I actually sent an email last month with the subject line "BP and JA for PM LAV FSR TOR". It was totally understood by the recipient, but my spouse was looking over my shoulder and laughed at how impenetrable it was.
posted by Etrigan at 8:11 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


I work for the government! Here is a recent entry in my inbox(actual acronyms and names changed). Stunningly, this is a very exciting email for me.

We've started work at GLOAM on documenting DNAB aspects of certification, and are recognizing that one likely path forward would call for integration of QAPTOM into our workflow in the near future. From previous inspection, we feel that this is feasible for GLOAM to do on its own, though it could divert substantial resources from other DNAB activities.

I had a brief conversation with Travis about this, and we agreed that this might be an opportunity for ARMs and (perhaps) OIIM to collaborate on implementation. I'm posting to start assessing need and interest, so please let everyone know if:

Your ARM has a perceived need to implement QAPTOM (i.e. like GLOAM, you ingest data from non-federal sources)
posted by rockindata at 8:11 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


All Things Considered has been doing a series on insider jargon - Trade Lingo.

As for my own job... we basically only speak in TLAs1, but for something I've been doing recently: "The FEA2 model generates singularities3 at hard edges, so we did a discrete analysis4 on the welds and the HAZ5. The Alcoa6 handbook says the T67 reverts to H8 immediately after the weld, but will reseason9 to about a T410 after a couple months."

1 - Three Letter Acronym
2 - Finite Element Analysis; using a computer program to break up engineering problems into small discrete chunks that can be linearized so the computer can actually do the math
3 - FEA doesn't handle sharp corners well - the math tends to go to infinity when you have perfect corners, so the results get wonky.
4 - This is a polite way of saying I pulled out a pencil and paper and did it the old fashioned way.
5 - Heat Affected Zone; when you weld aluminum you need to worry about the weld as well as a certain distance away from the weld, since aluminum is such a good conductor of heat.
6 - Aluminum Corporation of America publishes a handbook for structural design considerations for aluminum
7 - this is a level of temper in the aluminum
8 - Hardened; not tempered. Basically when you weld aluminum it loses its temper.
9 - Seriously, this is what the handbook calls it. Aluminum oxidizes readily in air and will naturally retemper itself after a weld operation.
10 - Another temper indication. Not quite as strong as T6.

posted by backseatpilot at 8:13 AM on August 14 [3 favorites]


We are in the process of finalizing SBA growth levers to achieve our $65MM goal and $80MM Q4 run rate target. Value prop and awareness activities include:
•Presenting value prop of both conventional and SBA solutions side by side
•Integrate SBA conversations into WEAVE process
•Launched $2500 Guarantee Fee Waiver Promo
•Targeted mailers in SBA centric industries
•SBA LEADS loading into SRM
•Updated banker job aids
posted by ersatzkat at 8:24 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


A vending machine broke at my girlfriend's office the other day. It started spitting out dozens of quarters at anyone who bought anything. The repair guy they sent in referred to this malfunction as "jackpotting," as in "we've got a unit on five jackpotting again!"
posted by theodolite at 8:25 AM on August 14 [8 favorites]


I was working on a complex Aran cable and noticed I'd miscrossed an inch back. I tried laddering down, but that was a mess, and I tried tinking back but the gauge was too tight to do that easily. I would have had to frog the whole damn thing but I had in a lifeline, thank goodness I'd had the foresight to do that!

An experienced knitter will cluck sympathetically.

I love the terms of art in processing bast fibers; scutching, retting, threshing, rippling, heckling, and dressing a distaff are all steps between "growing flax plant" and "linen yarn". Shive, strick, and boon are things that are either removed or kept along the way (the strick is the form the linen is in right before spinning.)

At work I once wrote a note to myself: "Post article about A's PNAS being out." I only giggled about it later.

I'm never sure how widespread Diner Lingo is, but when I waited tables we used a few of them.
posted by tchemgrrl at 8:28 AM on August 14 [4 favorites]


I'm a cataloging librarian. We frequently speak in MARC, and so you'll hear sentences like "My point was that DBO and LIC are usually put in 588's, not 500's since the 2011 CONSER update, and I was wondering if 588 was what was intended." This would be entirely clear to anyone who's ever cataloged a serial, but completely incomprehensible to anyone else.

Also, here's a paragraph from a procedures document I wrote recently:
"OCLC sends enhanced records when certain criteria have been met triggering the delivery, such as the addition of a 505 field, an upgrade to RDA or an increase in the encoding level. These updates can appear as soon as the day after holdings have been attached. When an existing record in the database has been overlaid with an upgraded version of the record in this way, there will be a 946 identifying it as an OCLC Record Update. That note will frequently be followed by a 947 describing the reason for the record update. We retain local edits noted in the 945 of the record to be replaced."
posted by rabbitrabbit at 8:56 AM on August 14 [3 favorites]


Railroads have had almost 200 years to work up some jargon.

Wikipedia has an incomplete list
posted by pjern at 9:00 AM on August 14


Sorry, I just noticed you want real words. I can translate the above into Plain English, which actually is funnier because it's just as incomprehensible:

I'm a cataloging librarian. We frequently speak in Machine Readable Cataloging, and so you'll hear sentences like "My point was that Description Based On and Latest Issue Consulted are usually put in Source of Description fields, not Note fields since the 2011 Cooperative Online Serials Program update, and I was wondering if Source of Description was what was intended." This would be entirely clear to anyone who's ever cataloged a serial, but completely incomprehensible to anyone else.

Also, here's a paragraph from a procedures document I wrote recently:
"OCLC sends enhanced records when certain criteria have been met triggering the delivery, such as the addition of a Formatted Contents field, an upgrade to Resource Description and Access or an increase in the encoding level. These updates can appear as soon as the day after holdings have been attached. When an existing record in the database has been overlaid with an upgraded version of the record in this way, there will be a [local processing field] identifying it as an OCLC Record Update. That note will frequently be followed by a [different locally defined field] describing the reason for the record update. We retain local edits noted in the [yet another local field] of the record to be replaced."

posted by rabbitrabbit at 9:19 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Last night I called my co-worked because "the headmaster is bypassing to the receiver and I don't have the headpressure I should, but the pressures are too low for it to bypass - where is the pressure in this system!?"

It turned out the condenser fans simply run far too often and subcool the condensate too much.

Sometimes you get caught up and miss the obvious things.
posted by Naib at 9:34 AM on August 14


I just stole a few lines from emails/chats from the last few days:

"The allochthonous salt diapirs on this passive margin are sourced from autochonous salt sheets with episodes of reactive diapirism from overburden progradation, and in this process we found multiple episodes of deformation: turtle structures, salt welds, and rafting." (looking at salt domes off the coast of a continent)

"The accommodation space in this depocenter is from extensional faulting but we clearly see transgressive surfaces" (talking about the sediment fill in a basin and sea level change)

"that pig was screaming so loud the pusher had to yell at the worms" (talking about cleaning a pipe and the reaction of the rookies; the pusher, or toolpusher, is the boss)

Me: ...are you POOHing? Colleague: We're weighing up. We tripped out last night. (talking about pulling pipe out of a well and adding some kind of weight (barite, bentonite) to drilling mud (fluid) for pressure purposes)

"Okay I have MVD [measured vertical depth] and I've got the deviation profile and where you kicked off but what's the depth below the kellybushing?" (deviation is how the drilling goes from straight vertical to some degree of horizontal - the profile would be how it looks in X-Y-Z space, kicking off is that turn; the depth at the KB is a common reference, the KB is the adapter that connects the rotary table to the kelly, is what turns the drillstring...um here's a picture.)

"Downlapping surfaces but I just have apparent dip, and I think they brutestacked it." (talking about the direction of dip in a seismic profile and the way they put the profile together)

"Haha when I went to the shaker I met him, that mudlogger's so new you could ask him to find the key to the V-door. Or go to the moon pool and he'd look up." (went to the mud shaker where the cuttings - bits of rock brought up with the drilling fluid -are separated from the drilling fluid; and about a a new guy who monitors the drilling fluid and logs it; the vee door is a special shaped door that allows pipes onto the rig floor (it has no key, it's a common joke to ask rookies to go get one) and the moon pool is the opening in the rig floor for the drillstring through which you can see the ocean)

"The imbricate thrust faulting formed horses and in turn created antiformal stacks." (Talking about the fault-bounded slices of sediment and their weird geometry on a seismic profile.)

-a geologist
posted by barchan at 9:52 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


"In the Test Region, do we have to do a formal data prep or can we just dork the data?"
posted by CathyG at 11:07 AM on August 14


I was just at a Site Council meeting for my sons' elementary school yesterday. I was very amused when a graph was shown that tracks kindergarteners scores on the Nonsense Word Fluency test.
posted by Joh at 11:17 AM on August 14


From a presentation I gave a few days ago:

"While drilling the riserless sections, PAD mud density was used to calculate downhole EMW. Pressure While Drilling data was collected and compared against the pre-drill Shmin and fracture gradient (FG) curves to monitor fracture margin. The ECDs during this section ranged between 8.94-10.22 ppg, which allowed for sufficient drilling margin"

Basically saying that the drilling mud density wasn't high enough to fracture the formation we were drilling.
(a geopressure geologist)
posted by thatwhichfalls at 11:21 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


"I'm going to need you to deliver two cases of fits*, along with matching works, and six stems. Please bring two buckets. You'll be picking up three large containers."

Translated: Deliver two cases (1,000) syringes, along with 1,000 of the cookers, waters, filters, and the appropriate number of ties and VitC, and six crack pipes. Bring two large yellow biohazard buckets for the client, and make sure you have room in the trunk of your car for three large sharps containers.

* "fits" may also be called rigs, gear, darts, sharps, needles, or any number of random or non-random seeming words.
posted by VioletU at 11:58 AM on August 14


Things I have said recently at work:

Grab me a tray of medium, I've got one ball left and 4 on the screen. Oh, great, thanks, can you toss three balls in the dust?

Rack me up a dozen skins large and half a dozen medium sticks.

I'm dropping pies here, need some help on the peel!

No, to hell with the LTO, DO wants us offering the 3 top mon through wed and the 5 top the rest of the week.

I patty placed and downstacked 3 stacks, and the ones I didn't have colors on the bottom. Cheese got rotated, opened, and fluffed. Scraper's back in the bag.
posted by The Almighty Mommy Goddess at 12:12 PM on August 14


I coach a swim team. I recently wrote this:


activation (10:00):
100 jumping jacks (SL pos)
25 burpees (fast hips)
10 pushups (scap set)
4:00 arm circles (not elbow)

warmup (1000m/18:00):
400fr/bk by 50 br 3,5,7,3/4
300 50br/25fly for rhythm
200RIM strong kick
100sc hip pos

alactic (550m/18:00):
4x12.5m starts. obs kinetic chain, for b/o speed
150ez, spine forward through b/o
3x10m b/o, from a push, feather transition
175ez, neutral head @ b/o
2x15m turn (5/10m) time foot leave to head@10m

aerobic cap (2400m/39:00):
12x200@3:15
1,5,9: fr or bk, -split
2,6,10: same as above, build 50s
3,7,11: choice, HiHO!
4,8,12: IM SL kick, 200im PB + :30

warmdown (600m/9:00):
600 fr/bk as 100 low stroke count, 50 for feel.
posted by mce at 12:56 PM on August 14




I recently came across a note in the engineer's log at work that made me laugh.
"Flying starfish to 23."

Makes perfect sense to all of us, but the log is supposed to be written to not need insider interpretation. The "starfish" is the nickname for a piece of refueling equipment. The refueling complex has a series of towers connected by habitrail-like enclosed walkways, each one typically set up for the next work task that's going to be done in them. They're pretty neat, with platforms mounted to the walls inside so we don't need scaffolding for tall objects, in-house cranes, and retractable roofs. They were moving the "starfish" via crane from the house on top of the ship to work on it in another house (House 23) in the refueling complex.

You can see one of the houses on the back of the ship in this photo. The big grey vent-duct-looking thing coming from the house off to the right is actually a walkway to the rest of the complex so we don't have to walk out in the weather. The big blue thing is the legs of the crane - same one that they used to fly the starfish, probably.
posted by ctmf at 2:08 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


(We usually get funny looks from ships' force when they see "install dance floor" and "remove pizza pan" on the plan of the week. We like our silly equipment names.)
posted by ctmf at 2:17 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


I'm a book editor. I have the following production events scheduled in my calendar for the book I'm currently working on:

FPOs to design
INDD to copub
Disc out ENG
Italian black-plate only
Hi-res to printer ENG
Hi-res to printer ITA
Plotters in
Plotters correx out
F&Gs
Ex-works
Delivery LA port
posted by scody at 2:35 PM on August 14


At shift change in the hospital, there is usually a half-hour overlap so that the nurses who are leaving can tell the nurses who are arriving about what's going on with the patients. Our hospital recently changed from doing this at the nurses' desk, to doing it in the individual patients' rooms. It seems to helps patients feel more confident about their care. But it means we're supposed to avoid jargon, and instead speak in "patient-friendly language" so that the listening patient can understand, add things, and ask questions if needed. The transition has been a little difficult.

We were warned ahead of time to avoid saying things like, "The COW's in here" (computer-on-wheels, if the room's usual computer isn't working), or "He's a little SOB" (short of breath) to avoid insulting patients. But it wasn't until I got a snort of laughter from a patient that I realized it was bad to call someone "a little tachy" (tachycardic, i.e. her heart rate was fast). She informed me, laughing, that it's pretty tacky to call someone tacky right to their face.

Luckily we still get to write shift summaries for our coworkers too, because I still get a kick out of "PIV SL R AC, 3L PICC LUE" being totally comprehensible. (peripheral IV, saline locked, in the right antecubital space [a normal IV, not currently getting fluids, in the right elbow crease], triple-lumen peripherally-inserted central catheter in the left upper extremity [a fancier and more complicated IV in the left arm]). It's also pretty common to see a patient history that's almost entirely acronyms: DM2, CAD, CKD3, DJD, OSA on CPAP, COPD, MRSA, etc. Every once in a while we get one that nobody recognizes, and it takes a quick google to figure out that it's a typo.
posted by vytae at 3:59 PM on August 14


Real estate development here.

You're in contract to sell a property and during the due diligence or contingency period, the buyer discovers property conditions such as hazardous materials on site and makes a demand to lower the purchase price. This is called "getting a haircut".

You're buying a property and have completed the due diligence and are ready to remove contingencies. When you do so, the deposit in escrow, which had previously been fully refundable, becomes non-refundable. This is called "going hard".

I always get a chuckle out of that one.
posted by rekrap at 4:55 PM on August 14


Two excerpts from emails I've sent this week. Hover over the acronyms, minor redactions in [brackets]:
Have we heard anything back on whether we need the talkby/overrun logic to send a C6 against the current of traffic? Are we staying non-ICS?

At the moment, between displaying green with a C1, but downgrading to FR, and the overrun C6 logic, plus making the overload timers fixed, we’re at 17 equation changes, which is pushing the limits for a reduced. We’ve done SNF on a reduced, but not in conjunction with anything else. I think there is an ICS-SNF DXO seed that we might be able to do the other stuff on top of, but I don’t think we have a non-ICS SNF DXO to start from, so I think we’re looking at a rack test.

It’s now an ICS A-DXO with SNF, [client's former initials] codes, so [coworker]’s [Location X] will make a great seed. Already has LOSR, switch overload is fixed at 40 sec (though [project lead] needs to verify the switch machine voltage for this project), so that cuts 8 equation changes. Since the switch in the last OS when entering ABS against the current of traffic is trailing point, and we’re ICS, the issues we had with the logic won’t come into play here (same as [Location A]), though we’ll have to deal with them at [Location C].


We design the signalling systems for railroads; I write and test the location specific software that runs on the field equipment. I'm working on two locations (B & C) where the type of operation changes from CTC (the signals give the trains permission to move, the dispatcher controls the signals) to Current-of-Traffic ABS (two tracks, one for each direction, the trains get permission to move explicitly from the dispatcher, and the signals are automatic (just to keep the trains from rear-ending each other)). I've spent the last few hours trying to figure out how to explain what specifically is going on, but suffice it to say it's complicated, and if you want the specifics, you'll have to meet me in person for a beer.
posted by yuwtze at 6:15 PM on August 14


Not mine, but here's an actual verbatim quotation from someone I know. It's so awesome I left the dinner table to write it down, because I knew I would want to quote it someday.

"Why are there compliance bot unicorn workers on the elephant?"

Unfortunately, I have only the vaguest idea what that means: compliance bot is some kind of monitoring system, unicorn workers are (I think) a kind of actor in that system, and the elephant is a monitoring system for a shared database used by the compliance bot. I believe he said this because the unicorn workers are spawned rarely and tend not to run queries long-lived enough to appear in the elephant, but I'm only guessing.

Weirdly enough, this guy is a lawyer. Apparently law is getting pretty high-tech these days. I don't know.
posted by d. z. wang at 10:41 PM on August 14 [3 favorites]


"Our orginaztion suffered a nonconformance in our attempt to fufill our obligation."
posted by vapidave at 5:25 AM on August 15


I was at a seminar the other day that included a session on some data analysis software that went way over my head. One sentence I wrote down as an example was "The robustness depends on your skewness and Kurtosis."
posted by Rock Steady at 8:41 AM on August 15


"It's a PBAOE/DD and DOT/self HOT with a CC breaker." (It's a point blank area of effect/direct damage and damage over time/self heal over time with a crowd control breaker.)

I'm a game designer, discussing a (very powerful) spell.
posted by liet at 9:44 AM on August 15


"Well, we need to figure out if Webscheduler can hold the Rovi and Tribune data and pass it along to Morpheus. If it can, we need to scrub it out of the playback feed after the embargo triggers are inserted. I think we can use the Evertz 7721, but the Cisco guys say they can do it in the AnyRes as well. Once we get it reinserted into baseband with the correct SCTE triggers, we can hand it off to Anvato, or use it as the Direct Connect feed to virtual MVPD partners."
posted by Argyle at 2:05 PM on August 29


At one point in high school I had a summer job at KFC. The manager there was adamant about never using language that might have been sexual, so rather than ask for "6 thighs, 4 breasts and 2 whole chickens for the drive through," he would yell things to the fry cooks like, "drop 6 dark and 4 ribs, and give me 2 head for the drive-through".

Yeah, somehow "head" was less suggestive than "chicken".
posted by Tara-dactyl at 7:26 AM on September 11


If you love jargon you'll love Master and Commander, which is essentially written in 18th century seafaring jargon without further explanation and is just understandable enough to be thoroughly enjoyable.

For example
"Hitch on the runners," said Jack. "No, farther out. Half way to the second quarter. Surge the hawser and lower away." The yard came down on the deck and the carpenter hurried off for his tools. "Mr. Watt," said Jack to the bosun, "Just rig me the brace pendants, will you?" The bosun opened his mouth, shut it again and bent slowly to his work: anywhere outside Bedlam brace pendants were rigged after the horses, after the stirrups, after the yard-tackle pendants (or a thimble for the tackle-hook, if preferred): and none of them, ever, until the stop-cleat---the narrow part for them all to rest upon---had been worked on the sawn-off end and provided with a collar to prevent them from drawing in towards the middle. The carpenter reappeared with a saw and a rule. "Have you a plane there, Mr. Lamb?" asked Jack. "Your mate will fetch you a plane. Unship the stuns'l-boom iron and touch up the ends of the stop-cleats, Mr. Lamb, if you please." Lamb, amazed until he grasped what Jack was about, slowly planed the tips of the yard, shaving off wafers until they showed new and white, a round the size of a halfpenny bun. "That will do," said Jack. "Sway her up again, bracing her round easy all the time square with the quay. Mr. Dillon, I must go ashore: return to the channel. We must sail before the evening gun. Oh, and Mr. Dillon, all the women must go ashore."
posted by alms at 6:51 PM on September 15 [1 favorite]


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