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Slang from Cubicle Land


Someone who is clueless. From the Web error message, “404 Not Found,” which means the document requested couldn’t be located. “Don’t bother asking John. He’s 404.”


The rarified organizational layers above the rank and file that makes decisions that are often profoundly inappropriate or irrelevant.

Alpha Geek

The most knowledgeable, technically proficient person in an office or work group. “I dunno, ask Rick. He’s our alpha geek.”

Arachnoleptic fit (n.)
The frantic dance performed just after you’ve accidentally walked through a spider web.


The process by which some people seem to absorb success and advancement by kissing up to the boss rather than working hard.


putting up emotional shields. Refers to the retracting armor that covers the Batmobile as in “she started talking marriage and he started batmobiling”

Beelzebug (n.)
Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.


The brief siezure people sometimes suffer when their beepers go off, especially in vibrator mode. Characterized by physical spasms, goofy facial expressions, and stopping speech in mid-sentence.


when a technology is overtaken in the market by inferior but better marketed competition as in “Microsoft betamaxed Apple right out of the market”


A group discussion of why a deadline was missed or a project failed and who was responsible.

Blowing Your Buffer

Losing one’s train of thought. Occurs when the person you are speaking with won’t let you get a word in edgewise or has just said something so astonishing that your train gets derailed. “Damn, I just blew my buffer!” (Synonym: “Head Crash”)

Body Nazis

Hard-core exercise and weight-lifting fanatics who look down on anyone who doesn’t work out obsessively.


To take note of a person for future reference. “After seeing his cool demo at Siggraph, I bookmarked him.”

Bozone (n.)
The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

Brain Fart

A byproduct of a bloated mind producing information effortlessly; a burst of useful information. “I know you’re busy on the Microsoft story, but can you give us a brain fart on the Mitnik bust?” Variation of old hacker slang that had more negative connotations.

Cashtration (n.)

The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.

Caterpallor (n.)
The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating.


A hard-core CGI script programmer with all the social skills and charisma of a plastic action figure.

Chainsaw Consultant

An outside expert brought in to reduce the employee head count, leaving the top brass with clean hands.

Chip Jewelry

Old computers destined to be scrapped or turned into decoration. “I paid three grand for that Mac and now it’s nothing but chip jewelry.”

Chips and Salsa

Chips = hardware, salsa = software. “First we gotta figure out if the problem’s in your chips or your salsa.”

(Career Limiting Move)

Used by microserfs to describe an ill-advised activity. “Trashing your boss while he or she is within earshot is a serious CLM.”


a WWW site that never changes


A badly written or profoundly useless Java applet. “I just wasted 30 minutes downloading that crapplet!”

Cube Farm

An office filled with cubicles.

Dead Tree Edition

The paper version of a publication available in both paper and electronic forms.

Decafalon (n.)
The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.


To be exploited and oppressed by your boss, as is Dilbert, the comic strip character. “Damn, I’ve been dilberted again! The old man revised the specs for the fourth time this week.”

Dopeler effect
The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

Dorito Syndrome

The feeling of emptiness and dissatisfaction triggered by addictive substances that lack nutritional content. “I just spent six hours surfing the Web, and now I’ve got a bad case of Dorito Syndrome.”


Scanning the Net, databases, etc., for one’s own name.

Elvis Year

the peak year of popularity as in “1993 was Barney the dinosaur’s Elvis year”

Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.


fast food joints, strip malls, sub-divisions as in “we were so lost in generica that I couldn’t remember what city it was”

Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.


Corporate-speak for sleeping with your eyes open; a popular pastime at conferences and early-morning meetings. “Didn’t he notice that by the second session half the room was glazing?”

All talk and no action.

Going Postal

totally stressed out and losing it like postal employees who went on shooting  rampages

Gray Matter

Older, experienced business people hired by young entrepreneurial firms trying to appear more professional and established.

Graybar Land

The place you go while you’re staring at a computer that’s processing something very slowly (while you watch the gray bar creep across the screen). “That CAD rendering put me in graybar land for like an hour.”

High Dome

egghead, scientist, PhD

Terminal coolness.

Idea Hamsters

People whose idea generators are always running.

A person who's both stupid and an asshole.
To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.
Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.


Entertainment and media spectacles that are annoying, but you find yourself unable to stop watching them. The O.J. trials were a prime example.

It’s a Feature

From the old adage, “It’s not a bug, it’s a feature.” Used sarcastically to describe an unpleasant problem you wish to gloss over.

It’s like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it’s like, a serious bummer.

Keyboard Plaque

The disgusting buildup of dirt and crud found on some people’s computer keyboards.

Link Rot

The process by which web page’s links become obsolete as the sites they’re connected to change or die.


the physical world (as opposed to the virtual) also “carbon community” “facetime” “F2F” “RL”

Mouse Potato

The on-line generation’s answer to the couch potato.


That minuscule fraction of time during which you realize you’ve just made a terrible error.

Open-Collar Workers

People who work at home or telecommute.

A degenerate disease.

Percussive Maintenance

The fine art of whacking the crap out of an electronic device to get it to work again.


To quit unexpectedly. “My cellular phone just perot’ed.”

Physmental (adj.)
The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating.


A new hire who doesn’t require training. “That new guy is totally plug-and-play.”

Prairie Dogging

When something loud happens in a cube farm, causing heads to pop up over the walls trying to see what’s going on.

Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

Ribs ‘N’ Dick

a budget with no fat as in “we’ve got ribs ‘n’ dick and we’re supposed to find 20K for memory upgrades”

Salmon Day

The experience of spending an entire day swimming upstream only to get screwed in the end. “God, today was a total salmon day!”

The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn’t get it.

Seagull Manager

A manager who flies in, makes a lot of noise, shits over everything and then leaves.


the coming convergence of movies, interactive TV and computers; also “Hollywired”


What yuppies turn into when they have children and one of them stops working to stay home with the kids. “Single Income, Two Children, Oppressive Mortgage”

Square-Headed Spouse


Squirt the Bird

To transmit a signal up to a satellite. “Crew and talent are ready...what time do we squirt the bird?”

Starter Marriage

A short-lived first marriage that ends in divorce with no kids, no property and no regrets.

Stress Puppy

A person who thrives on being stressed-out and whiny.

Swiped Out

An ATM or credit card that has been used so much its magnetic strip is worn away.


Those who take training classes just to take a vacation from their jobs. “There were only three serious students in the class; the rest were just tourists.”


Hacker slang for documentation or other printed material.


One with whom one has a sexual relationship; as in, “this is Dale,”

Under Mouse Arrest

Getting busted for violating an online service’s rule of conduct. “Sorry I couldn’t get back to you. AOL put me under mouse arrest.”


Euphemism for being fired. Also: decruitment.

World Wide Wait

The real meaning of WWW.

Xerox Subsidy

Euphemism for swiping free photocopies from one’s workplace.

Yuppie Food Coupons

Twenty dollar bills from an ATM