Weasel Word Wednesday #1

Welcome to Weasel Word Wednesday edition #1.

As you are here, I’m guessing you have heard the term ‘weasel words’. If not, check out Don Watson’s Dictionary of Weasel Words, Contemporary Cliches, Cant and Management Jargon and his weasel words web site.

After many years working in public relations in the information technology industry, I could also fill a book with the crimes committed against the English language using management-speak and unintelligible jargon. Instead, I’ll be fighting it one word at a time. This week’s entry is:

to drive (verb)

It has loads of meanings, most nothing to do with vehicles. In business it mostly seems to mean improve or increase, at the same time attempting to make the activity sound more important. For example, ‘the new campaign will drive attendance at the conference‘.

There is a lovely example in a ‘strategic plan’ (another pet hate – so is it a strategy or a plan?) released by Australia’s National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) this week:

“…we have produced our plan to clearly show our stakeholders the directions we are taking to drive the adoption of e-health.”

See this article in The Australian for even more gems from the report.


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