What did you say? – Solution! Why?

I’d like to nominate the word ‘solution’ as the most overused word in Australian business. It’s so overused that it is losing it’s real meaning.

 According to the very large Macquarie Dictionary on my desk, the word solution means “the act of solving a problem” and when used in that context (and a few others) it’s a really lovely word.

 However, you’ll find it splashed about on company websites and in most cases it doesn’t mean ‘the act of solving a problem”. It often means “we didn’t know what other word to use so we went with ‘solution’”. A lot of the time company’s are swerving away from the age old favourites like ‘product’ or ‘service’ and instead going with ‘solution’. I think they feel it has more oomph or something.

 So next time you go to type the word solution, just reflect briefly and think about what alternative and more appropriate word could be used instead. Reserve the word ‘solution’ for when you really mean ‘SOLUTION’.

 On a closing note my absolute unfavourite term for pairing with ‘solution’, is ‘end-to-end’ to make that awful and very meaningless term – ‘end-to-end solution’. Can someone please explain what that really means? Where is the end and where is the other end??????????????

 In case you’re wondering, the word ‘solution’ is also ‘solution’ in the French language (I’m currently learning the language of romance before embarking on a holiday) and I hope they don’t use it in the same way as we English-speakers! In any case it sounds much sexier when pronounced the French way.

 I’d love to hear from others who have found other words that rankle them. By the way I also have a few others but that can wait for another time.



4 Responses to What did you say? – Solution! Why?

  1. graemebowman says:

    A word that rankles me is ‘issue’. People can’t call a problem a ‘problem’ any more … it’s an issue. Or if it’s not an issue, it’s a ‘challenge’ or, dare I say, an ‘opportunity’.

    People who constantly replace normal, meaningul words with buzzwords instantly lose credibility with me. And this is from a guy who deliberately uses jargon in his work as a hoax speaker and corporate comedian. Then again, I guess the jargon is laughable, which is why I poke fun at it.

  2. Dennis Rutou says:

    I have a hate phrase and Federal Teasurer Wayne Swan used it tonight on ABC TV News. It is ‘we’ve created 350,000 jobs’.The number is meaningless,as is also the phrase. Both sides of Australian politics use it, so I am not just pcking on ‘the Goose’. What have they done? Are they paying the wages of 350,000 people? The phrase is totally empty and meaningless (like working Australian families) and should be struck off. On the other hand they could mean that by creating these jobs in an economic sense they are provided an ‘end-to-end solution”.

    – Dennis Rutzou

  3. Jo says:

    What’s worse than solution – ‘The total solution’ – implying that all my problems can be solved, I don’t think so!

  4. Jo says:

    I’d like to add another one that gets me fired up everytime – ‘Brave New World’ – which is used with no real reference or idea of what it really means or where it came from. Aldous Huxley people, do your research before using the cliche!!

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