This covers absolutely nothing of importance, but it struck me in conversation today. I was the victim of a needless buzzword.
“Reach out” is useless verbiage. It means the same as “call” or “contact” or “get in touch with” or whatever, but it sounds like it’s a “sincere” version of all that stuff I just named.
Reach out? It sounds like we needed the helping hand so they graciously “reached out” and saved the day.
I would think the opposite action to “reach out” would be to “reach in.” You could “reach in” and “pull our butts out of trouble.” If so, those are buzzwords that would at least have some meaning.
“Reaching out” has infiltrated into our office. I asked one of the guys to give another guy a call:
“Sure, I’ll reach out. I need to reach out to a couple of other people while I’m at it.”
Why can’t you just say “call?” It uses fewer syllables. What ever happened to the K.I.S.S. rule?
Here’s a Wikipedia definition of “Buzzwords”:
“A buzzword (also fashion word and vogue word) is a vague idiom, usually a neologism, that is common to managerial, technical, administrative and political work environments. Although meant to impress the listener with the speaker’s pretense to knowledge, buzzwords render sentences opaque, difficult to understand and questionable, because the buzzword does not mean what it denominates, yet does mean other things it ought not mean.”
Okay, key points to the buzzword definition were: “vague” and “meant to impress.” Nothing in the definition mentioned words or phrases such as “necessary,” “vital” or “abolish the designated-hitter rule.”
This is a valid point because those two guys Idiom and Neologism said so.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about not adding new words. After all, we’re changing.
Flatulence, the Greek God of Wind, said it best: “With change shall come a bunch of new words.”
Some words and phrases — ones we don’t need anymore — can be easily discarded. They include “gas wars,” “typewriter repair” and “tax cut.”