Thursday, March 31, 2005

New Office Slang

404 - Someone who is clueless. From the Web error message, “404 Not Found,” which means the document requested couldn’t be located. “Don’t bother asking John. He’s 404.”

Adminisphere - The rarified organizational layers above the rank and file that makes decisions that are often profoundly inappropriate or irrelevant.

Alpha Geek - The most knowledgeable, technically proficient person in an office or work group. “I dunno, ask Rick. He’s our alpha geek.”

Assmosis - The process by which some people seem to absorb success and advancement by kissing up to the boss rather than working hard.

Batmobiling - putting up emotional shields. Refers to the retracting armor that covers the Batmobile as in “she started talking marriage and he started batmobiling”

Beepilepsy - The brief siezure people sometimes suffer when their beepers go off, especially in vibrator mode. Characterized by physical spasms, goofy facial expressions, and stopping speech in mid-sentence.

Betamaxed - When a technology is overtaken in the market by inferior but better marketed competition as in “Microsoft betamaxed Apple right out of the market”

Blamestorming - A group discussion of why a deadline was missed or a project failed and who was responsible.

Blowing Your Buffer - Losing one’s train of thought. Occurs when the person you are speaking with won’t let you get a word in edgewise or has just said something so astonishing that your train gets derailed. “Damn, I just blew my buffer!” (Synonym: “Head Crash”)

Body Nazis - Hard-core exercise and weight-lifting fanatics who look down on anyone who doesn’t work out obsessively.

Bookmark - To take note of a person for future reference. “After seeing his cool demo at Siggraph, I bookmarked him.”

Brain Fart - A byproduct of a bloated mind producing information effortlessly; a burst of useful information. “I know you’re busy on the Microsoft story, but can you give us a brain fart on the Mitnik bust?” Variation of old hacker slang that had more negative connotations.

CGI Joe - A hard-core CGI script programmer with all the social skills and charisma of a plastic action figure.
Chainsaw Consultant - An outside expert brought in to reduce the employee head count, leaving the top brass with clean hands.

Chip Jewelry - Old computers destined to be scrapped or turned into decoration. “I paid three grand for that Mac and now it’s nothing but chip jewelry.”

Chips and Salsa - Chips = hardware, salsa = software. “First we gotta figure out if the problem’s in your chips or your salsa.”

CLM (Career Limiting Move)- Used by microserfs to describe an ill-advised activity. “Trashing your boss while he or she is within earshot is a serious CLM.”

Cobweb - A WWW site that is never updated.

Crapplet - A badly written or profoundly useless Java applet. “I just wasted 30 minutes downloading that crapplet!”

CROP DUSTING - Surreptitiously farting while passing thru a cube farm, then enjoying the sounds of dismay and disgust; leads to PRAIRIE DOGGING..... 

Cube Farm - An office filled with cubicles.

Dead Tree Edition
- The paper version of a publication available in both paper and electronic forms.

Dilberted - To be exploited and oppressed by your boss, as is Dilbert, the comic strip character. “Damn, I’ve been dilberted again! The old man revised the specs for the fourth time this week.”

Dorito Syndrome - The feeling of emptiness and dissatisfaction triggered by addictive substances that lack nutritional content. “I just spent six hours surfing the Web, and now I’ve got a bad case of Dorito Syndrome.”

Egosurfing - Scanning the Net, databases, etc., for one’s own name.

Elvis Year - The peak year of popularity as in “1993 was Barney the dinosaur’s Elvis year”

Flight Risk - Used to describe employees who are suspected of planning to leave a company or department soon.

 Generica - Fast food joints, strip malls, sub-divisions as in “we were so lost in generica that I couldn’t remember what city it was”

Glazing - Corporate-speak for sleeping with your eyes open; a popular pastime at conferences and early-morning meetings. “Didn’t he notice that by the second session half the room was glazing?”

Going Postal - Totally stressed out and losing it like postal employees who went on shooting rampages

GOOD job - A "Get-Out-Of-Debt" job. A well-paying job people take in order to pay off their debts, one that they will quit as soon as they are solvent again.

Gray Matter - Older, experienced business people hired by young entrepreneurial firms trying to appear more professional and established.

Graybar Land - The place you go while you’re staring at a computer that’s processing something very slowly (while you watch the gray bar creep across the screen). “That CAD rendering put me in graybar land for like an hour.”

High Dome - Egghead, scientist, PhD

Idea Hamsters - People whose idea generators are always running.

Irritainment - Entertainment and media spectacles that are annoying, but you find yourself unable to stop watching them. The O.J. trials were a prime example.

It’s a Feature - From the old adage, “It’s not a bug, it’s a feature.” Used sarcastically to describe an unpleasant problem you wish to gloss over.

Keyboard Plaque - The disgusting buildup of dirt and crud found on some people’s computer keyboards.

Link Rot - The process by which web page’s links become obsolete as the sites they’re connected to change or die.

Meatspace - The physical world (as opposed to the virtual) also “carbon community” “facetime” “F2F” “RL”

Mouse Potato - The online generation’s answer to the couch potato.

Ohnosecond - That minuscule fraction of time during which you realize you’ve just made a terrible error.

Open-Collar Workers - People who work at home or telecommute.

Percussive Maintenance - The fine art of whacking the crap out of an electronic device to get it to work again.

Perot - To quit unexpectedly. “My cellular phone just perot’ed.”

Plug-and-Play - A new hire who doesn’t require training. “That new guy is totally plug-and-play.”

Prairie Dogging - When something loud happens in a cube farm, causing heads to pop up over the walls trying to see what’s going on.

Ribs ‘N’ Dick - A budget with no fat as in “we’ve got ribs ‘n’ dick and we’re supposed to find 20K for memory upgrades”

Salmon Day - The experience of spending an entire day swimming upstream only to get screwed in the end. “God, today was a total salmon day!”

Seagull Manager - A manager who flies in, makes a lot of noise, shits over everything and then leaves.

Siliwood - The coming convergence of movies, interactive TV and computers; also “Hollywired”

SITCOMs - What yuppies turn into when they have children and one of them stops working to stay home with the kids. “Single Income, Two Children, Oppressive Mortgage”

Square-Headed Spouse - Computer

Squirt the Bird - To transmit a signal up to a satellite. “Crew and talent are ready...what time do we squirt the bird?”

Starter Marriage - A short-lived first marriage that ends in divorce with no kids, no property and no regrets.

Stress Puppy - A person who thrives on being stressed-out and whiny.

Swiped Out - An ATM or credit card that has been used so much its magnetic strip is worn away.

Tourists - Those who take training classes just to take a vacation from their jobs. “There were only three serious students in the class; the rest were just tourists.”

Treeware - Hacker slang for documentation or other printed material.

Umfriend - One with whom one has a sexual relationship; as in, “this is Dale,”

Under Mouse Arrest - Getting busted for violating an online service’s rule of conduct. “Sorry I couldn’t get back to you. AOL put me under mouse arrest.”

Uninstalled - Euphemism for being fired. Also: decruitment.

Vulcan Nerve Pinch - The taxing hand position required to reach all the appropriate keys for certain commands. For instance, the warm re-boot for a Mac II computer involves simultaneously pressing the Control key, the Command key, the Return key and the Power On key.

WOOFYS - Well Off Older Folks.

World Wide Wait - The real meaning of WWW.

Xerox Subsidy - Euphemism for swiping free photocopies from one’s workplace.

Yuppie Food Coupons - Twenty dollar bills from an ATM.


UPDATE: September 25, 2005  11:42 pm

Although this was originally sourced from an email (no author mentioned), several readers have commented that  much of this was originally in Wired Magazine.

If someone would be so kind as to point me to a link, I could credit them (I couldn't find any comprehensive post at

Posted at 10:15 AM in Games | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference New Office Slang:

» New office slang. from Open Cubicle
... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 25, 2005 1:15:30 AM

» Its Always Better On Holiday from Starting a Landslide in My Ego
Something to distract from the Monday doldrums for a minute: New Office Slang. [The Big Picture] ... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 26, 2005 12:55:54 PM

» Blowing away the truth from MeMo
1. Ooooh. Interesting story on the heinous crimes of Katrina, some of which seem never to have taken place. I knew the old saying that the first casualty of war is truth, but I didn't know that applied to hurricanes... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 26, 2005 4:18:04 PM

» Geek? Me? from The Critter Connection
Ok, since I've been building my own website (albiet poorly.. I think I've redesigned the thing like 4 times) I've heard a lot of techo buzz words in chat rooms, support forums and all those places where true geeks hang out. My office seems to think... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 28, 2005 9:42:35 AM

» New Office Slang from peabody
New Office Slang [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 7, 2005 7:28:25 PM

» NEW OFFICE SLANG from Deliverance
I found this post of new office slang via Life after Work who found it at essays effluvia. It's pretty accurate. My favorites:Blamestorming- A group discussion of why a deadline was missed or a project failed and who was responsible. [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 11, 2005 9:06:02 AM


thanks for wasting my time, fucker. get some real slang that isn't so esoteric and nerdy. kthxbi.

btw switch the words in your site's name; at the moment it misrepresents the relative content levels.

Posted by: momo | Sep 25, 2005 5:51:02 AM

I disagree and somehow this post bridges my sentiments exactly - so how about a new definition to pull it all together for momo

??gutterstumped?? - the inertia that exists within the alpha geek or idea hamsters synaptic grasp that usually precursors coppin a brain-fart. Can also be defined as lil-ganglia link-rot, but should not be confused with the glazing on your el locol dohnut.

the morejority of treeware states that too much gutterstump often leads plug'n'play eggheads to complete cycles of salmon days bakeoff and usually results in a flurry of blamestorming before the inevitable uninstall.

soyo, i think it's totally sick, dawg ;)

Posted by: skirt.justice | Sep 25, 2005 7:54:52 AM

zip + four

one level higher than "postal"

Posted by: friday | Sep 25, 2005 10:57:45 AM

'Monkey zero, Football four': sfw language used to describe someone failing misreably at a task. ALSO: 'Looked like a monkey f*cking a football.'

Posted by: mONKEYmONKEYmONKEY | Sep 25, 2005 12:01:16 PM

Those were pretty funny. I got a good chuckle out of: Ohnosecond and Beepilepsy.

Posted by: davo | Sep 25, 2005 12:05:17 PM

How about sourcing some of this stuff?

Posted by: Aaron | Sep 25, 2005 12:26:41 PM

Most, if not all of this comes from Wired Magazine. Perhaps you'd like to mention that.

Posted by: capt squash | Sep 25, 2005 12:41:54 PM

Where did you get this stuff? Did you make it up?

99% of these sayings are never used!

Posted by: Eric | Sep 25, 2005 1:10:33 PM

brain fart: when a person, sometimes in mid-sentence, totally loses track of what they were explaining, also related to when someone has the answer somewhere in there head, but completely forgot.

Posted by: free | Sep 25, 2005 10:43:14 PM

Cool site... first time here... so allow me to apologize in advance for being a bit cranky... but...

Capt Squash and Aaron are correct... this stuff has been appearing in Wired for some time, and sources should be acknowledged. Google "jargon watch." Please give credit where credit is due. Wired didn't coin these terms, but they have "collected" and published them previously (and perhaps originally).

And this is obsolete... "brain fart: when a person, sometimes in mid-sentence, totally loses track of what they were explaining, also related to when someone has the answer somewhere in there head, but completely forgot."

Although you'll find support for the "short circuit" definition on the web, the following is the more current meaning:

Brain Fart:
A byproduct of a bloated mind producing information effortlessly. A burst of useful information. "I know you're busy on the Microsoft story, but could you give us a brain fart on the Mitnik bust?" Variation of old hacker slang that had more negative connotations.

Oh... "...somewhere in there head..." It's "their." Learn the difference between "their," "there," and "they're."

"There are the idiots." "Their IQs are low." "They're stupid."

Apparently, we're experiencing a fairly high bozon count. Sheesh.

Posted by: RixMax | Sep 25, 2005 11:55:26 PM

I'm not sure Wired collects them all in one place... but here's an entry from some years back:,1284,1534,00.html

This page hasn't been updated in a while, but Dave Tubbs has many of these terms collected here:


Posted by: RixMax | Sep 26, 2005 8:11:25 AM

How bout PICNIC? Problem in Chair, Not in Computer....your A typical computer blamer

Posted by: Spark | Sep 26, 2005 11:51:18 AM


Posted by: [email protected]; [email protected] | Sep 26, 2005 2:44:35 PM


Dual Income with No Kids

Posted by: hswerdfe | Sep 26, 2005 4:56:33 PM

Nit picky responses piss me off. How do you source and attribute slang? And do you dorks send the same complaint to Wired?

And nitpicking online typos? Very 20th century! This is a blog, not a frickin dissertation.


Posted by: Stan | Sep 26, 2005 5:44:57 PM


Lots of money but a real Dick!

Posted by: Scout | Sep 26, 2005 11:39:25 PM


Does it look like i give a F***?

Posted by: Gutz | Sep 27, 2005 12:01:32 AM

One we use a fair bit where I work:

PIBCAK: Problem Is Between Chair And Keyboard

(Meaning, it wasn't a problem with the software.)

BTW, I saw some of these about 15 years ago, and it wasn't in Wired. Those guys get email like the rest of us...

Posted by: anon | Sep 27, 2005 7:30:48 AM

I remember getting this same exact email 10 years ago, except for one thing. It was Yuppie Foodstamp instead of Yuppie Food Coupon (I have been the using the former since). This list has been pretty well circulated before and since then.

Posted by: Patrick | Sep 27, 2005 9:21:50 AM

WAD: works as designed. "The software vendor told me it's not a's a WAD"

Posted by: coral | Sep 27, 2005 10:18:25 AM

I think the someone had to dig long and hard into archives that are a decade old to find this list.

Chip jewelry? Cobweb? Never heard of 99% of these phrases and most people would be caught dead before using some of this outdated "slang."

Posted by: eej | Sep 27, 2005 11:36:52 AM

Uh, guys? Get a life. It's just a harmless giggle.

:: sheesh ::

Posted by: sean | Sep 27, 2005 12:52:50 PM

Typos Stan? Or the ongoing debasement of our language.

Posted by: RixMax | Sep 27, 2005 10:44:50 PM

While you can't credit the source of slang very well, as it sort of grows of its own accord, the dictionary references used here (about 75%) came with verbatim descriptions from Wired. It is those entries that probably should be cited.

In 1998, one of the issues came with a little booklet with a majority of these in them, compiled. I used to carry it with me to amuse people. My favorite was "Salmon Day," which I use(d) as my screen name, my email, and my attempt at a webcomic over four years ago.

I can tell you which of these appeared in that booklet if anyone cares.

Posted by: Salmon Day | Sep 27, 2005 10:48:56 PM

How about CRIS: Cranial Rectal Insertion Syndrome - refers to someone whose head is stuck up their own @ss

Posted by: rich | Sep 28, 2005 10:22:42 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.