Monthly Archives: January 2011

Weasel Word Wednesday #19 – gala

The use of this word isn’t restricted to corporate event types. Charities and not-for-profit clubs are amongst the worst offenders. It first came to my attention (or started to grate) as a member of a car club in NSW, when the club’s president decided that adding the word ‘gala’ to the front of every event made it sound more important. I was reminded of it today in an email I received about a fundraising dinner. And I can only imagine how many Australia Day ‘gala events’ are going on around the country as I type. In many cases, I think it’s used to indicate that the event is black tie or formal – why not say that?

Since the car club gala overload, I’ve heard it used often, for example:

  • gala dinner
  • gala presentation
  • arts gala
  • comedy gala
  • gala ball
  • gala party

In short, I think it’s a word that has lost its impact. Here’s a couple of suggestions:

  1. use it on its own – hold a ‘gala’ meaning festival rather than use gala as an adjective meaning ‘festive’
  2. drop it altogether and come up with a more creative name for your event.
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Weasel Word Wednesday #18 – clock speed

I work in the IT industry, so of course I have heard the term clock speed in relation to how fast the processor in a computer goes. Nerdy perhaps, but perfectly acceptable. However, lately I have been hearing it more and more in relation to people, as in:

Jane has a very high clock speed.

What they really mean is that Jane is very productive or a quick worker. I dislike it because it’s another way of referring to people as an inanimate object, a resource or product, like ‘human resources’ and ‘alignment‘.