Just saying

I’m not one of those people who resist new words or usages just because they are new. I like neologisms. But there is one I’ve started hearing over and over lately that is absolute shit. “Impactful.” There are already dozens of ways of saying something has an impact. Many of them are a single word, so don’t say “impactful” is more concise the than the synonymous phrases it is presumably replacing (“has a great impact,” “is deeply affecting,” etc.). What’s wrong with “impressive,” “stunning,” “influential,” or “stimulating?” These all seem to be what people mean when they say “impactful,” in various contexts. Is it really helpful to have one portmanteau word that covers all those connotations?

If the idea of coining “impactful” was to reduce excessive verbiage of “has a great impact,” or “is powerful,” here’s another synonym with one fewer syllables: “forceful.” You’re welcome.

“Impactful” usually seems to be applied to an emotional or psychological impact, but there is something to be said for clarity. Is a meteorite impactful? If not, did you really mean to use the word “impact” in it?

Also, “impactful” generally brings to mind “impacted colon” or “impaction”: “Your low-fiber diet is impactful.”

Note that this rant is not specifically against the kids on my lawn, because I have heard this word being used by people of my generation and older. Although a few online dictionaries are recognizing this impacted neologism, it has not yet made it into the OED, so maybe there is still time to shame people into dropping this ugly coinage, or at least redefine it.

Impactful : (adj.) causing impaction. “The Adkins diet is really impactful.” Etymology: coined by bad business writers as a term to suggest “effectiveness” (“My impactful projects include…” and made popular by journalists with inferior judgment. Occasionally used as a lazier, buzzier form of “forceful” or “having impact.”

Advertisements
Published in: on March 21, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Comments (2)  
Tags:

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://mikemonaco.wordpress.com/2016/03/21/just-saying/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. The use of this word goes back to the fifties, near as I can tell. I think it’s a particular segment of the population that is going to jump to a direct word-association on this with our bowels, however. I get where you’re coming from, though, and I’ll stake my line at words such as “misunderestimated” which drive me nuts.

  2. Impactful: Don’t like this word at all. I would never use it, even if it was listed in the Oxford English Dictionary.

    ..


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

This Stuff is REALLY Cool

Young scholars enthusiastic to tell you about COOL RESEARCH STUFF

Fail Squad Games

Tabletop RPG Products

Cigar Box Battle

An online resource blog for gamers and geeks focused on wargames miniatures and board games and role playing games

terribleminds: chuck wendig

Chuck Wendig: Freelance Penmonkey

Save Vs. Dragon

"We are here on Earth to fart around. Don't let anybody tell you any different."--Kurt Vonnegut

POWER WORD KILL

Old School Roleplaying and related musings

Hobgoblin Orange

My return to the world of miniature figure painting and RPGs

booksandopinions.com

The Book Reviews You Can Trust!

Dawn of the Lead

Zombies and Miniature Wargaming

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

hosercanadian

Miniature Motivation

Take On Rules

Jeremy Friesen - a poor soul consumed by gaming.

Age of Dusk

Roleplaying, reviews and associated paraphernalia.

Roll to Disbelieve

"We are here on Earth to fart around. Don't let anybody tell you any different."--Kurt Vonnegut

A Book of Creatures

A Complete Guide to Entities of Myth, Legend, and Folklore

Making the Past

Diary of an apprentice swordsmith

Ancient & Medieval Wargaming

Using De Bellis Antiquitatis, with the odd diversion...

Riffing Religion

Prophets should be mocked. I'm doing my part.

Cirsova

An encyclopedia of the Cirsovan empire, thoughts on Gaming, Music and more.

2 Warps to Neptune

Surveying the Gen X landscape and the origins of geek

Inside the Shadowbox

Rolling the dice. Writing the words. Pushing the buttons. Eating the bacon. Smiling and waving.

daggerandbrush

Miniature painting, wargaming terrain creation and more

Fractalbat

A lair for gaming, sci-fi, comics, and other geekish pursuits.

tenfootpole.org

I bought this stuff and read it so you don't have to.

Role Play Craft

Crafting ideas, options, and modules for your role playing campaign.

The Rambling Roleplayer

A collection of advice, essays, and rambling rants about tabletop gaming and other geekiness. Often updated Monday-ishly.

Sheppard's Crook

The occasional blog of a closet would -be wargamer and modeller

10 Bad Habits

Probably not the Justin Howe you were looking for

The Weekly Sift

making sense of the news one week at a time

inthecitiesdotcom

Just another WordPress.com site

Lost in Time

"What happened to Claw Carver?"

chieflyill

gaming, graphics, and genrefication

Stuffed Crocodile

Mazes, Martians, Mead

%d bloggers like this: