Don’t pet my peeve

I googled “pet peeves” and got 1.2 million results. That’s a lot of peeves. Merriam-Webster traces the term back to “pevish” (Middle English, spiteful; first use circa 1530), while the Oxford English Dictionary links it to “perverse.” Either way, I think we can agree that it’s overused.

Other candidates for retirement:

  • At the end of the day
  • Change agent
  • Leading (or, God forbid, bleeding) edge
  • No-brainer
  • Open the kimono
  • Paradigm shift
  • Proven track record
  • Push the envelope
  • Ramp up
  • Results-oriented
  • Win-win

Which terms set your teeth on edge?

9 Replies to “Don’t pet my peeve”

  1. As businesses become more and more global, I think many words and terms have to go, especially all of the sports metaphors Americans use a lot in business such as ball park, throw a curve, nothing on the scorecard, not playing with a full deck as well as the above-mentioned proven track record. But the one business term or expression that has always annoyed me is “Do we understand?” or “Are we clear?” when the question belongs in the second person.

  2. I agree with all of your candidates save one. I really like “open your kimono” (and never heard it used outside of its literal context) if only for the image it conjures up in my feverish little mind. Dishonorable mention goes to “at the end of the day.” I’ve hated that phrase ever since I worked at Starwood (more than ten years ago). It seems that in that illustrious organization, no one could complete a thought without summing up using that tired string of words.

  3. Sorry…”open the kimono” not “open your kimono.” Must have been a Freudian slip…or a Freudian bustiere (or camisole if that suits you better).

  4. My least favorite business cliche may be “think outside the box,” but I love the New Yorker cartoon in which a man standing next to a litter pan lectures his kitty to never, ever think outside the box. As for pet peeves, here’s two:

    * First, I hate it when people claim over 100 percent effort or commitment to appear especially gung ho; OJ Simpson, you’ll recall, plead “absolutely, positively 110 percent not guilty.”

    * Next, I never understand any of the expressions involving “forward.” When someone wants to “push a deadline forward,” do I have more time or less to complete the task? If a new practice should be implemented “going forward,” does that mean now (including the current circumstance) or starting after some precipitating future event? I never know.

  5. In any event…
    To tell you the truth…
    The short of it is…
    That being said…

    I have a coworker who uses these phrases all the time. They don’t mean anything; they are melamine* in her speech and just as toxic.

    *Poisonous filler found in some Chinese food products.

  6. At the end of the day is one of the worst. I had a cow-orker who used it dozens of times a day. I wonder what the ends of his days look like. Busy, I guess. But really, I think the intent is to say that “…” is the salient, important point. And that’s annoying, because it instead drawing attention to the speaker. I suspect the speaker is struggling to sound important.

  7. I used to think “at the end of the day” was the worst, but now I think “it is what it is” has eclipsed it in badness. The fact that some billionaire hedge fund manager is actually trying to claim credit for coining the phrase makes it all the more loathsome to me.

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