A Guide to Business Jargon

By Kelly Quigley, REALTOR® Magazine

Green Weenies and Due Diligence: Insider Business Jargon—Raw, Serious and Sometimes Funny by Ron Sturgeon (Mike French Publishing, 2005)

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Ever been stumped by a phrase you heard on the job? Maybe a colleague told you that he suspects his new customer is a “looky loo,” or your broker says his twice-delayed deal is getting “nibbled to death by ducks.” A normal dictionary won’t be much help, but this book will be. Although there are some serious and better-known business terms such as “exit strategy,” most of the terms covered in this book are more unusual—and in some cases, downright silly. (Equally as silly are the illustrations by Gahan Wilson, whose work has appeared in The New Yorker magazine.) The author got the idea for the book after first hearing the phrase “green weenie” while conducting business. “As I sat in on meetings with other dealmakers … it became obvious that they had many words and sayings the rest of the world likely didn’t use or even understand,” the author writes. The result of his research is a fun-to-read book of business lingo that will no doubt expand your vocabulary and make you smile.

Definitions From the Book:

  • Looky loo—A person who only wants to browse properties despite putting up the pretense of being a serious buyer. The term also applies to curious onlookers of traffic accidents and hardcore window shoppers.
  • Nibbled to death by ducks—A project getting killed little bites at a time. Problems can nibble, time can nibble, colleagues can nibble, and suddenly the project is no longer viable.
  • Green weenie—An unpleasant surprise discovered late in the course of a transaction.
  • Chipmunking—The act of holding a PDA or other handheld device and feverishly typing with your thumbs, usually sending a text message or entering data.
  • See-through—A home or building that has been vacant since it was constructed, allowing you to look in a window on one side of the building and see through a window on the opposite side.
  • Fish in the boat—Based on an old fishing saying, this refers to the notion that you don’t have the fish in the boat—i.e., you haven’t reeled in a customer—until you close the deal.
  • Cappuccino cowboy—You know who you are. This is a nickname for someone who makes a faithful stop at Starbucks for that venti skim latte every morning to start the work day.
  • Get pregnant—A situation in which the parties are so invested in the transaction that they can’t back out. You want a successful real estate transaction to get to this point.
  • Don’t change the dog food without talking to the dog—The act of going into the market without completely understanding what your customers want.