Posted by: episystechpubs | November 3, 2014

Editor’s Corner: Word of the Day – Leverage

Good morning!

For giggles, I subscribe to the Word of the Day. But I also have a fun desk calendar that gives me the Urban Dictionary word of the day, and these are usually words that are not recognized by any professional dictionary. They are often slang terms (and they are typically off-color; so if you look them up, consider yourself forewarned). Occasionally, these words or phrases catch on in our everyday speech, but usually they just make me laugh.

For example, a while back Urban Dictionary introduced the following word and definition:

voluntold: The exact opposite of volunteering. Always used in reference to an unpleasant task to which you have been assigned by your boss.

Co-worker 1: I hear you got a transfer.
Co-worker 2: Yeah. I didn’t want to, but I was voluntold.

And then sometimes, the Urban Dictionary word of the day ridicules our misuse or overuse of a word. That’s what happened last Thursday when the following word and definition came up and made me high-five my imaginary cubicle-mate.

leverage: After much misuse, the word leverage no longer describes anything or has any meaning to anyone who has ever worked in an office. In business circles this word is most commonly used in place of the word use or get.

Can we take this offline? I’m starving and need to leverage a sandwich.

The word leverage is seriously overused in our communication and documentation. We are using this longer, less precise word when a shorter, clearer word does the trick. You really don’t need to say that a product “leverages a fully-automated scheduling system.” You can just say that the product uses one. If you want to be understood, it’s best to keep your writing simple and jargon-free.

Donna Bradley Burcher | Technical Editor, Adv. | Symitar®

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123 | Ph. 619.278.0432 | Ext: 765432

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