Most Cringe-worthy Phrases/Words Uttered in the Workplace

By: Marie Donlon

Do your eyes roll into the back of your head whenever you hear the word “synergy”? Do you black out at the mere suggestion that we should “think outside the box”?

Then you are not alone.

According to the results of a new survey conducted by OnePoll and Jive Communications, there are a number of phrases and words uttered in the workplace most likely to evoke an emotional and/or physical (i.e., eye rolling, gagging) response from coworkers.

Based on data about the communication behaviors of 2,000 U.S. workers, researchers concluded that the following are the worst words/phrases uttered in the workplace:

  1. Give 110 percent
  2. Think outside the box
  3. Hammer it out
  4. Heavy lifting
  5. Throw them under the bus
  6. Don't count your chickens before they've hatched
  7. Pushing the envelope
  8. Let the cat out of the bag
  9. Let's circle back
  10. Win-win situation
  11. Blue-sky thinking
  12. Boil the ocean
  13. Synergy
  14. Low-hanging fruit
  15. Take it to the next level
  16. Barking up the wrong tree
  17. Going forward
  18. Let's ballpark this
  19. Run this up the flagpole
  20. Back to square one
  21. There's no I in team
  22. Back to the drawing board
  23. Paradigm shift
  24. Elephant in the room
  25. Raise the bar
  26. Drill down
  27. Best thing since sliced bread
  28. Deep dive
  29. Skin in the game
  30. Reach out
  31. Touch base
  32. Play hardball
  33. Don't reinvent the wheel
  34. Kept in the loop
  35. The bottom line
  36. Down the road
  37. I'll loop you in
  38. Hit the nail on the head
  39. ASAP
  40. Team player