I heard a great joke the other day: "If you gave an infinite number of monkeys an infinite number of typewriters, eventually one of them would write Hey Hey We're the Monkees!" I liked it so much that I used it on my website. It came back to me this morning as I was thinking about buzzwords. I mean, how do people come up with the jargon that gets stuffed into press releases and so on?

I don't know where it comes from but Buzzword Hell is good place to send it. It's the Room 101 for words you hate. You can nominate words you don't like (like "paradigm shift" and "blogosphere") and people can vote for them.

Dilbert's mission statement generator is delightful. (My business, Articulate, has a mission statement too: "We help large IT companies and their marketing partners use the written word to achieve their business goals." — I don't know if it's much better but at least it is jargon free.)

Buzzword bingo is a favorite but this website generates new playing cards on a random basis and seems to be pretty up-to-date in terms of the jargon it uses.

Lastly there are a couple of buzzword dictionaries. The first is Buzzwhack. There are some nice ones here. Finally, there is the fabulous and still-poignant Devil's Dictionary.

The point of all this harmless fun is to make a serious point: jargon and buzzwords do not clarify meaning. They destroy it. Don't use them if you want to be understood.

Click here to read more articles from "Bad Language".

Columnist Matthew Stibbe is Writer-in-chief for Articulate Marketing, a specialist copywriting agency. His clients include Microsoft, the British Government and leading magazines like Wired and Popular Science. Matthew also writes a blog called Bad Language. Click here to read more articles by Matthew Stibbe.

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