January 19, 2011 at 6:54 pm #120887
We want to put together a government glossary of terms/ acronyms used in government.
What are some unique government slang and jargon used in your agency?
Do you know of any websites that already exist with this information?
January 19, 2011 at 8:03 pm #120959
There’s a couple government acronyms examples – https://www.govloop.com/page/government-acronyms-and
Would be fun to have a translator to plain language.
January 20, 2011 at 2:40 am #120957
I get into a bad habit of using jargon/slang
Some common jargon at my unemployment office
WBA – Weekly Benefit Amount
BYB – Benefit Year Beginning Date
Late Cert – Late certification for benefits
607B – The part of the law that says if you get a second year of benefits
EUC – The Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act of 2008, referred to the media as “The Extension”
EB – Extended Benefits – The last 20 week extension that let’s people hit 99 weeks of benefits
Used in two sentences
The claim should have been on a regular year, but was put on the EUC instead. Make the transitional claim 607B eligible and late cert him and everything should be ok.
January 20, 2011 at 5:16 pm #120955
Buzzwhack (http://buzzwhack.com/) has been around for years and captures lots of good buzz words and frustrating language. Not all of it is tied to government-speak, but a lot is and the rest is just fun to read. I was a gov’t contractor/consultant for years and I think that community probably invented most of these!
January 20, 2011 at 7:12 pm #120953
In my current org, we use SOW (scope of work) many times as a reference for what needs to be done and then referenced regularly when people stray from what they are supposed to be doing on that project. Sometimes we overlap our abbreviations. For example, we use CRA, meaning Community Redevelopment Agency. However, coming from a local govt background, I continue to reference and conjure up images of the Community Reinvestment Act.
January 21, 2011 at 4:22 pm #120951
Some of acronyms we come across in the acquisition & management of GSA (General Services Administration) Schedule Contracts:
BOA – Basis of Award
CAV – Contractor Assistance Visit
CSP – Commercial Sales Practices
CTA – Contractor Team Arrangement
EPA – Economic Price Adjustment
eSRS – Electronic Subcontracting Reporting System
FAS – Federal Acquisition Service
FPR – Final Proposal Revision
GWAC – Government Wide Acquisition Contract
ID/IQ – Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity
IFF – Industrial Funding Fee
IOA – Industrial Operations Analyst
MAS – Multiple Award Schedule
SIN – Special Item Number
TAA – Trade Agreements Act
Specific GSA Schedules:
AIMS – Advertising & Integrated Marketing Solutions
FABS – Financial and Business Solutions
MOBIS – Mission Oriented Business Integrated Services (the GSA Schedule for management consulting & training)
PES – Professional Engineering Services
TAPS – Temporary Administrative & Professional Staffing
January 21, 2011 at 4:29 pm #120949
Some from my edge of the community:
do you have the right ticket or badge to enter the SCIF?
are you a blue light special?
January 21, 2011 at 4:33 pm #120947
I just learned what a SCIF is on Elliot in the Morning’s radio program – believe it or not!
January 21, 2011 at 6:14 pm #120945
Thanks, great feedback from everyone!
By the way had to look this up SCIF- Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (pronounced “skiff”) is is an enclosed area within a building that is used to process Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) level classified information.
January 21, 2011 at 7:58 pm #120943
In the intelligence community we used to say OBE, as in overcome by events. Does anyone else use this?
January 24, 2011 at 5:35 pm #120941
I had wanted to do a podcast on ‘How to speak Government-ese” as a blatant and willful rip off of the The Signal’s podcast, “How to speak (swear in) Chinese”. I decided I’d rather attempt having a life. #browncoat
February 3, 2011 at 5:18 pm #120939
I heard part of that interview too, Heather, and frankly I was disappointed with the content and nature of it. SCIF’s are not new, certainly not in the DC area, so it was kind of surprising to hear them talk about it as if this was some new revelation. No, people completely outside the Intel Community (IC) might not be familiar, but shouldn’t really be surprised. Also the idea that some very senior leaders might have a SCIF at their residence, and other secure resources; shouldn’t be surprising either, has existed for many, many years. In general I just thought the interview was bad, showed a lack of understanding of DC/gov’t culture. Heck, it came many months after the Top Secret Washington series in the Wash Post, which revealed to many folks some of the inner workings and culture of the IC and Dept of Defense. And again for me, like the radio interview, I was more surprised that people didn’t know the info in that Wash Post series.
End of rant, stepping off soap box now. 😉
February 4, 2011 at 3:07 pm #120937
I have a 27 page document that consists solely of acronyms and I still see/hear acronyms that aren’t on the list. We need an acronym counter to tally how many acronyms are created in government every minute. Here are a couple of websites that I also use: http://www.ulib.iupui.edu/subjectareas/gov/docs_abbrev http://www.acronymfinder.com
February 4, 2011 at 10:39 pm #120935
To date the best one I have heard is LEC. When I was stationed in Norfolk, VA I was assigned to LEC.
LEC is the abbreviation for Lantcom Elint Center, Which is the abbreviation for Atlantic Command Eletronic Intelligence Center
February 4, 2011 at 11:23 pm #120933
In our agency, “OBE” is used as an adjective and a verb. 🙂 e.g., “That incoming letter is so OBE’d by now.”
February 4, 2011 at 11:53 pm #120931
Yes, we used it as an adjective and a verb too. I was with ODNI before I retired.
February 5, 2011 at 5:14 pm #120929
Interesting – why was Elliot in the morning talking about it? What was the framework?
February 7, 2011 at 2:04 pm #120927
He was interviewing Brad Meltzer and discussing his book, The Inner Circle.
October 14, 2011 at 12:12 pm #120925
Tammi Terrell PurkinsParticipant
I do now. 🙂 And in working for the IRS, I do believe that acronym will catch on quite rapidly.
October 14, 2011 at 1:07 pm #120923
Great-you needed an acronym for an acronym!
We use LEC for Local Exchange Carrier (telecommunications).
October 14, 2011 at 1:27 pm #120921
As can be seen by the responses so far, terms and acronyms vary dramatically from department to department or across business areas. The only constant is the sense that govies (itself a coined term) are probably too quick to create them and they can create problems when we are talking to clients or others.
In meetings I have taken to interrupting when someone (usually from IT) starts reeling off acronyms when talking, holding up my hand and stating, “point of acronym?”; a play on “point of order”. While the immediate reaction is negative at being interrupted, they quickly get that they were not being understood and explain…then go on using other acronyms.
The debate over jargon.acronyms/&c as efficient shorthand (shortspeak?) versus a mechanism for exclusion, self-aggrandisement or obfuscation goes on forever. I find the ones that bother me the most are those that make the idea under discussion more important than it really is. For example, “artefact” in information architecture. Are you referring to a document, what???? Too pretentious for my liking.
October 14, 2011 at 4:38 pm #120919
While I have no objection to informal writing when used with judicious restraint, I do not believe that such language belongs in any communications to the public we serve. That includes jargon, acronyms and abbrevations exclusive to federal agencies, and new words, all of which would be confusing to many. I would also respectfully suggest that you review “The Plain Writing Act” signed by President Obama in 2010. You may find it at http://www.plainlanguage.gov.
October 14, 2011 at 4:38 pm #120917
James … do you text at all, e.g., TTYL, OMG, LOL, etc? Acronyms are nothing new in government-speak or in everyday life.
October 14, 2011 at 4:53 pm #120915
October 14, 2011 at 4:59 pm #120913
Tammi … I hope you enjoy working for the IRS. I spent 7.5 years of my federal career there and loved it!
October 14, 2011 at 5:02 pm #120911
I agree, but they only work when all in on the communication know them (there are pages of stories about people, usually across generations, getting LOLspeak wrong). Too often there is the assumption that everyone gets a certain micro-language, when in fact, people are being left out.
I argue hard for the acceptance of jargon/shortforms when the group is closed and homogenic. I’m not so supportive when the edges are wider and the crowd more diverse.
October 14, 2011 at 5:07 pm #120909
Thank you for your response. To clarify, when texting friends, I do indeed employ the most commonly used abbreviations. However, I also know that these abbreviations would be unknown to many of my older workplace colleagues, especially those who are not Gen Xs, Ys, or millenilals. I myself am a baby boomer, but I have always strived to communicate with those younger than I, and so I happily adopt and use the language that works best with my friends and colleagues in those groups.
October 14, 2011 at 5:44 pm #120907
Acronyns mean different things at different organiations so you may never accomplish your intention!
try not to use them expect US and ASAP for this reason.
Additionally when one does want to abbreviate in writing they should spell it out As Soon As Possible (ASAP) and then list in the abbreviation in open and parentheses if they will be used again in the same document.
October 14, 2011 at 9:14 pm #120905
IRS has so many acronyms and special terms that we have to have access to a special glossary, as each division has lots of acronyms and terms that they use but are not familiar to employees in other divisions. I would estimate the list for all divisions combined would run to 30 pages or more.
October 14, 2011 at 9:26 pm #120903
Hmmmmm….slang that is printable I assume….lol.
October 14, 2011 at 11:40 pm #120901
Terms I have heard in gov but not elsewhere:
“Workaround” – when you can’t eliminate the red tape
“Socialize” – the idea to get people comfortable with something new
“Acronym Hell” – trying to read documents full of insider abbreviations
And my all time favorites:
“EFFICIENT AND EFFECTIVE”
October 15, 2011 at 4:19 am #120899
(Smile) Yes, I remember all the acronyms from my IRS days! IRS, as an agency, is huge.
November 14, 2011 at 4:30 pm #120897
Gary M. MorinParticipant
And what about all the agencies that have been renamed, using the same initials or acronym, but based on the agency’s culture or reputation, e.g.,: NIH: Nerds in Heaven. I’m sure there are others out there, though not always positive or publishable.
November 14, 2011 at 4:33 pm #120895
Tammi Terrell PurkinsParticipant
My kids refer to the IRS as the Eternal Revenue Service…
November 16, 2011 at 5:48 am #120893
These are not unique to my agency; but are probably rarely used by those outside some incarnation of the budget and finance community. Only including a few so as not to bore everyone 😉 :
ATB = Across-the-Board (which in and of itself is generally shorthand for an across-the-board reduction or an across-the-board recission) [of funds]
EOFY = End of Fiscal Year
PB = President’s Budget
ADA = Anti-Deficiency Act
November 16, 2011 at 6:13 am #120891
Interesting that in the “budget” world, ADA is an acronym for Anti-Deficiency Act. For those of us who are EEO practitioners, ADA is an acronym for Americans with Disabilities Act.
November 17, 2011 at 12:30 am #120889
Yeah; I remember being confused the first time I heard it used as well, actually 🙂 , as I was familiar w/ the use of ADA for Americans with Disabilities Act since it’s sometimes referenced in the newspaper, etc.
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