A buzzword is a term which is ultimately meaningless, but is used to evoke a particular emotional response in the listener, or to falsely convey an impression that the speaker is knowledgeable about their subject. Many buzzwords are neologisms. Many are political in nature.
Examples of buzzwords include:
- Words redefined to promote political correctness, such as diversity and rainbow
- Terms common to postmodernism, critical theory, and leftist academia, such as "social construct", "narrative" (when used to denigrate accepted history as a mere "narrative" rather than established fact), "framing", etc.
- Politically loaded terms in general, such as "oppression" and "empowerment". These may be related to identity politics.
- Terms used by promoters of pop psychology, some of which has a basis in either the New Age movement or other non-Christian cults. These buzzwords have been criticized as psychobabble by critics.
- Marketing and advertising buzzwords.
- Business buzzwords, such as "diversity hiring", "global", and "best practices"
- Buzzwords are commonly found in futurism and Internet advocacy, where such neologisms as "information superhighway", "networking", "synergy", paradigm, meme and so forth are common.
In 1996, Al Gore's liberal use of buzzwords in his speeches became the target of a humorous prank by students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who distributed a "buzzword bingo" sheet containing Gore's most-used buzzwords in the form of a bingo card, which MIT students would mark upon Gore's use of each buzzword until 5 in a row were marked.
Gore's current favorite buzzword is "unified national smart grid", which he promotes in conjunction with his catastrophic global warming prophecies.