Ideation, disambiguate and… bake? The 15 worst buzzwords in business revealed


Are you creating curated content, to disambiguate fake news going forward? Are you reaching out for human capital in the time of COVID-19? Well stop.

Comms tidying up tool Buzzsaw has released its list of the worst jargon words of 2020 so far, and you’re in violation of it.

Buzzsaw allows users to paste their press release, blog, speech or other comms into an online tool, and identifies nonsense words and overworn cliches that are all too often found there.

The 2020 awards list those that appear, and are struck out, most frequently.

It’s put together (certainly not ‘curated’) by PR strategist and Buzzsaw founder Hamish Thompson, and lists the most commonly struck out phrases the tool tends to find, based on submissions in the UK, US and Australia.

It also includes scathing comments from anonymous judges.

Some of the classic buzzwords of the business world include ‘content’ (“it’s like calling literature or journalism ‘words’,” the judges decry), ‘human capital’, ‘circle back’ and ‘ideation’.

The word ‘bake’, as a noun, makes a surprising entrance in 10th place — perhaps after seeing a pandemic-related resurgence.

Relatedly, ‘in the time of COVID…’ enters the list, presumably for the first time, at number six.

“Gabriel Garcia Marquez it ain’t,” the judges comment, and we are inclined to agree.

The phrase ‘going forward’ also predictably pops up in 14th place. “I long for the day someone writes ‘going backward’,” the nameless judges quip again.

And finally, a long-time placeholder in the top-15 cringeworthy comms words, we have ‘solutions’.

If you have a solution, but can’t describe it further than that, then, well, you probably don’t actually have one.

This may be a lighthearted list of language shenanigans, but there’s a serious point to be made here.

Words matter. Use the wrong ones and you could alienate your customers, potential partners, and press.

Trust us, we know.

These are the top 15 buzzwords caught, and cut out, by Buzzsaw’s anti-jargon tool:


  1. Curated
  2. Content
  3. Disambiguate
  4. Human capital
  5. The new normal
  6. In the time of COVID
  7. Reach out
  8. Circle back
  9. Ideation
  10. Bake (noun)
  11. Fake news
  12. Mainstream media
  13. We remain cautious
  14. Going forward
  15. Solutions


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