Brace yourselves: According to The Writer this is going to be the defining business word of 2017

 
Francesca Washtell
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General Election - Economy
No, we don't mean "pivot" like Ross Gellar meant on that episode of Friends (Source: Getty)

It's not long now before we'll be popping champagne, ushering in 2017... and dealing with a fresh new batch of business jargon.

While "post-truth" may have becoming the defining overall word of 2016, at least according to Oxford Dictionaries, for the business crowd the catchphrases are usually a bit stuffier and, let's face it, a bit more cringeworthy.

Next year should be no exception.

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According to the world's largest language consultancy, The Writer, the most important new word to echo around boardrooms next year will be: "pivot".

An "increasingly volatile business landscape" will drive the rise of pivot to the top of the City's linguistic pack. The Writer bases its predictions in part on the millions of words it reads and writes every year for clients, including Fortune 500 companies from across the world - so even if "pivot" doesn't become the word du jour in London, rest assured it will be taking off on Wall Street.

"When people use “pivot” in a business context, they rarely mean anything more than “change direction”. But because “pivot” comes from the world of physics, it sounds specific and thought-through, rather than random and panicky. And businesses love borrowing words with that kind of technical feel," said Neil Taylor, creative partner at The Writer.

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The term isn't exactly new, but got a boost this year when Blackberry used it to describe its u-turn when it announced it would stop making handsets three months ago. It also got a leg-up in the US election when pundits debated if and when Donald Trump would ‘pivot’ away from some of his more extreme positions.

And the runners up...

There were two runners up in the race to be the predicted 2017 word of the year, though these are a little bit kookier.

"Tiger teams", a set "of diverse expects that will develop solutions to problems", and "swim lanes", keeping workers apart so they don't encroach on each other's areas of responsibility, are also likely to be keywords you'll hear bandied around next year.

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"It [tiger teams] is another borrowed phrase. Nasa was using it in 1964, but you’re starting to hear it all over," said Taylor. "Obviously if you’re one of the “tigers” it makes you sound cool and go-getting right now, but the danger is that these words get bleached of their meaning if you hear them too much."

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