8_3_Business Jargon (1)

Understanding confusing business conversations

Learn what people in the business world are talking about


accurately; carefully 精確地;細心地;仔細地

  • to describe/define/time something precisely 精確地描述/闡釋;精確計時
  • She pronounced the word very slowly and precisely. 她緩慢而清晰地讀出這個字。

jargon noun 

/ˈdʒɑː.gən/ /ˈdʒɑːr-/ [U] usually disapproving

special words and phrases which are used by particular groups of people, especially in their work

military/legal/computer jargon

Compare: terminology

Baseball jargon.

Get exposed yourself to it


A lingo is a range of words or a style of language which is used in a particular situation or by a particular group of people.

Chip & Winnie

Have you ever attended a meeting only to leave wondering what it was about? If so, you may be a victim of business jargon.
Jargon –
words used by a group of people that aren’t generally understood – has both advantages and disadvantages. Many professionals use specialized terms that help them communicate specific ideas that are hard to describe in simple language.
Unfortunately, the use of jargon can
result in confusion. This is especially true when speakers use terms that their listeners misunderstand or don’t understand at all.
These examples of commonly used business jargon may help you figure out what’s going on. But use them carefully – don’t leave your audience struggling to interpret what you are talking about.

interpret verb (FIND MEANING)

/ɪnˈtɜː.prɪt/ /-ˈtɝː-/

[T] to decide what the intended meaning of something is

It’s difficult to interpret these statistics without knowing how they were obtained.


jury should not interpret the silence of a defendant as a sign of guilt.

Water under the bridge
This phrase refers to events of the past. Generally, the term suggests that the past should be forgotten and people should move forward. Last year’s mistakes are water under the bridge.
Touch base
When people touch base, they get in contact with each other. The term is often used
in reference to(when mentioning) meetings. Lets touch base on Thursday afternoon.


Ashley & Ken

K: (sigh) Ashley, I’m so sorry. I spilled water all over the table. I got one of the books wet too.

spill verb  /spɪl/ [I or T usually + adverb or preposition](spilled or UK ALSO spilt, spilled or UK ALSO spilt)

to (cause to) flow, move, fall or spread over the edge or outside the limits of something

I spilt coffee on my silk shirt.

You’ve spilt something down your tie.

Let’s see if I can pour the juice into the glass without spilling it.

He dropped a bag of sugar and it spilt all over the floor.

Crowds of football fans spilled onto the field at the end of the game.

A: Ah, it’s OK, Ken. We have enough paper towels to clean it up. It’s water under the bridge now.

towel noun  /taʊəl/ [C]

a piece of cloth or paper used for drying someone or something that is wet

She came downstairs after her shower, wrapped in a towel.

The school provides paper towels for the children to dry their hands on.


K: Hey, I was just reading about that idiom, water under the bridge. Are there more water idioms?
A: Well, Ken, have you ever been in deep water?
What kind of a question is that? Of course I’ve been in deep water. I’m a good swimmer.
A: I’m not talking about swimming. To be in deep water means to be in a difficult situation. If you don’t pay your bills, you are in deep water. Or if you don’t study for a test, you are in deep water.
K: Or if you spilled water on one of the books at the library like I did,
Eh(huh), good points. There is another idiom that Doris can talk to us about. Why don’t we go to her?
K: Okay.

D: Everyone knows that it’s hard to keep your head above water if you can’t swim. In English, to keep your head above water means to barely survive financially. Someone who lives from paycheck to paycheck is keeping his head above water. So spend your money wisely in order to keep your head above water.

barely adverb  /ˈbeə.li/ /ˈber-/

by the smallest amount; almost not

They have barely enough (= no more than what is needed) to pay the rent this month.

She was barely (= only just) fifteen when she won her first championship.

K: Okay.
Are there any other water idioms that I should know about?
A: Yes, another common English idiom is
don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. After you give the baby a bath, you have to throw out the dirty water. The dirty water represents the situations in life where there are bad qualities while the baby represents the good part. Just because you don’t like someone’s ideas, it doesn’t mean you should throw the baby out with the bath water. Doesn’t mean they are a bad person.
K: And just because studying English can be hard, it doesn’t mean I should throw the baby out with the bath water and quit studying.
A: That’s right.
Keep focusing on the things you’re learning.
K: I will. Thanks Ashley.

今天這一課提到water under the bridge,我們不妨再學幾個跟水相關的短語,in deep water字面上是在深水中,我們可以想像一個不會游泳的人掉入高過頭頂的深水中是什麼樣的狀況,因此in deep water就是陷入困境、有麻煩了。另外一個相關的短語是keep your head above water(使頭維持在水面上),這當然是要避免滅頂。這個短語大多是用在跟經濟相關的事物,指的是不欠債,維持生計,避免挨餓或者破產。另外一個是throw the baby out with the bath water,什麼叫做把嬰兒和洗澡水一起倒掉?我們知道洗澡用過的髒水是沒有用的東西,那是要倒掉的,嬰兒卻是無價之寶,絕對不能拋棄,所以這個短語常常用在否定句,Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water,意思就是不要把好東西連同壞的東西一起拋棄。

In deep water指陷入困境、有麻煩了。Keep your head above water(尤用於經濟上)指不欠債、維持生計、避免挨餓或破產。Throw the baby out with the bathwater通常用在否定句,Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.意思是不要把好東西連同壞東西一起拋棄。
Beware of silent dog and still water 警惕無聲之狗會咬人,平靜之水會覆舟。
You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. 師傅引進門,修行在個人。
All water runs to his mill. 好事都讓他碰上了。(指某人走運)
Bring water to someone’s mouth (or make someone’s mouth water)使某人垂延、流口水、羨慕。
Carry fire in one hand and water in the other 口是心非,施展兩面手法。
Come hell or high water 無論碰到什麼困難。
*I’ll get you to the airport by noon, come hell or high water!
Draw water to one’s (own) mill 事事為自己打算,抓住每個利己的機會。
Draw water with (or in) a sieve (= pour water into a sieve) 白費力氣。
Fish in troubled (or muddy) waters 混水摸魚。
*He often buys up stock in companies declaring bankruptcy; fishing in troubled waters generally pays off.
Wade not in unknown waters 不知水深淺,千萬莫輕涉。
We never know the value o



Have you ever attended a meeting only to leave wondering what it was about?  
only to ~ however or but
*Jessica thought she was late for the party only to discover that she was actually the first one to arrive.
*Paulo’s family moved to the city for better job opportunities only to find themselves in poverty.


Disadvantage (n.) 不利條件,弱點。[C or U]
*The disadvantage of international travel is the extremely high cost.
After weighing the advantages and disadvantages, we decided to move to the suburbs.
Interpret (v.) 1. 詮釋,說明,解釋。2. 口頭的翻譯。
*Few people can accurately interpret confusing
stock market figures.
*The non-native speaking audience member had to ask someone to i
nterpret the speech for him.
Reference (n.) 有關,涉及。
In reference to (phrase) 有關某個對象。
*The CEO made no reference to the possible bank merger in the meeting.

  • a merger between the two banks 兩家銀行的合併
  • our proposed merger with the university 我們與這所大學提議中的合併

*What should we do in reference to Richard’s tardiness?
Jargon (n.) [U] 術語。
*technical, scientific, legal, medical etc jargon
*She uses so much jargon I can never understand her explanations.
Specialize (v.) 1. {+ in something} be or become a specialist 成為專家,專門從事,專攻。2. give particular attention to (a subject, product, etc); be well-known for 專注於(某項目、產品等),以聞名。
Specialized (adj.) 專門的,專業的。
Specialization (n.) 專業化,特殊化。
Specialty (n.) 專長,擅長。
Specialist (n.) (= expert) {+ in subject}專家。
*In collage I
specialize in organic chemistry.
*A secondary area of specialized academic study, requiring fewer courses and credits than a major.
*Technological change may
undermine a country’s basis for specialization.
*His specialty is ancient French.
*A specialist in English linguistics.

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