IT slang

code monkey

someone who sits and programs all day; someone who is only valued for their programming skills

The bad software architect said, "Tell the developers to stop thinking and start typing like good little code monkeys!"

early adopter

a person who likes new things and often buys them before they are proven

A geek is a typical early adopter, often trying the latest and greatest technology before their peers have even heard of it.

EOL (end of life)

the point when something is no longer useful or relevant

Do you think compiled languages have reached their EOL?


someone obsessed or devoted to a particular item or genre

Tom is such a fanboy he still uses his old Commodore Amiga as his main computer.


to write an intentionally abusive reply to a comment or forum post

Joe the sysadmin got sent to counseling because he started too many flame wars on the company intranet.


an individual with a passion for computers, to the exclusion of other normal human interests

The geek did not have a girlfriend, but he did have a computer named Lisa which he programmed to sing him love songs before bedtime.


completely broken in some mysterious way; corrupted

The web sites crashed because the server was completely horked.

killer app

a piece of software which redefines the industry, often causing people to rush out and buy new hardware so they can use it

Email was the first killer app of the Internet.

leading edge

at the forefront of a new technology; also referred to as "state-of-the-art"

Kyle's company is so leading edge they buy everyone new computers every six months.

pita (pain in the ass)

This is nerd slang for anything annoying

Installing and configuring a Linux wireless network card can be a real pita.

PHB (pointy haired boss)

This is a derogatory reference to a stereotypical IT manager who choose their technology platforms based on the latest TV commercial and have no knowledge at all of what their employees actually do

This is how the PHB is described on the Dilbert web site: "He wasn't born mean and unscrupulous, he worked hard at it."

spaghetti code

a derogatory term for poorly organized programming code.

The lead programmer threw his hands up in the air and screamed when he saw the 10,000 lines of spaghetti code that management asked him to debug by tomorrow.


someone who successfully defines a path for the rest of the industry to follow

Apple is a company of trendsetters, whom everyone else is just following like lemmings.


a person who writes intentionally controversial posts on a user forum in order to start a flame war.

The forum's popularity among serious users went down when the system operator refused to banish the trolls.


something sarcastic you can say to non-technical people when they tell repeatedly give you misguided technical instructions that are impossible, impractical, dangerous, or overly time-consuming

"Whatever, dude," replied the programmer when his manager asked him to work overtime to recover his deleted files.

common cold

a normally harmless viral infection of the nose, throat, and upper respiratory tract

The common cold spreads through droplets in the air when someone who is sick coughs, sneezes or talks.

contract an illness

formally catch or acquire a sickness

It is possible, but not likely, to contract an illness while visiting a sick relative in the hospital.


any one of a family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe pneumonia

You should avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of Coronavirus.


the name given to the 2019 novel coronavirus

Current evidence on COVID-19 suggests that children are not especially at risk from severe illness.


relieve symptoms of a disease or illness

There is no cure for the common cold because there are so many types and they mutate rapidly.

first manifested

first appeared

COVID-19 first manifested in Wuhan, China in December 2019.

flulike symptoms

patients presenting with sneezing, fever, runny nose, etc

Flulike symptoms include fever, runny nose, sore throat, chills, and body aches.


suffering from sickness or feeling unwell

The woman got ill from eating sushi at a dubious restaurant in Arizona.

immune system

bodily resistance to infection and toxins

Organs such as the thymus, bone marrow, and lymph nodes make up the immune system.

incubation period

the period from exposure to showing symptoms of an illness

In early 2020 the median incubation period of COVID-19 was thought to be 5 days.


under the influence of a disease-causing entity

The man's flesh wound got infected by the time he was home from the camping trip.

MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome)

a viral respiratory illness first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012

Since September 2012, there have been more than 850 MERS deaths recorded around the world.

mortality rate

a measure of the number of deaths per unit of time

Given enough time, the mortality rate in humans is 100%.

need be concerned about

worrisome, troubling

Lung cancer is definitely something tobacco smokers need be concerned about.

play a role in

have an active part in

Weather and social conditions can both play a role in the spreading of a virus.

SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome)

a viral respiratory disease of zoonotic origin which first occurred in 2002 in China and killed over 750 people

Chinese scientists traced the SARS virus to cave-dwelling horseshoe bats in Southern China.


a sudden involuntary expulsion of air from the nose and mouth

A sneeze is often caused by irritation of the nostrils brought about by particles of dust, pollen, or animal dander.

sore throat

pain or irritation of the pharynx which worsens when you swallow.

The first sign of a cold is often a sore throat which can last a few days.


after something else

Many widely-accepted medical practices have subsequently been found to be useless or even dangerous.


medical actions and handling

If a hospital is completely full then non-essential treatment can be delayed for hours or even days.

CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

US agency based in Atlanta, Georgia whose main goal is to protect public health and safety through the control and prevention of disease

The CDC does not generally issue advisories or restrictions for travel within the United States.


the spread of disease from one person to another by close contact

Hospitals are optimized to prevent the spread of contagions.

dodged a bullet

avoided a danger

The traveler really dodged a bullet when he missed the train that ended up crashing.

easily overtake

to overcome or pass without difficulty

A sports car can easily overtake a truck on the highway.

genetic material

DNA (or RNA in RNA viruses)

Some scientists believe that much of the human genome is composed of genetic material from viruses.


virus strain responsible for the 2009 flu pandemic known as "swine flu"

The H1N1 virus spread worldwide and has caused 18,500 laboratory-confirmed deaths.

had succumbed to

yielded to something they've tried to fight off such as a disease

The researchers found that after a tough struggle he had succumbed to pancreatic cancer.


an organism on which a parasite derives benefit such as food

A living cell is the host in which a virus multiplies.


to drive or force into

The doctor injected a painkiller into the patient's veins.


not visible with naked eye

Protozoa are microscopic, amoeba-like organisms that live in liquid.

miniscule amount of

extremely small number of something

A minuscule amount of rat excrement is found in common foods such as chocolate or peanut butter.


increase in quantity

Mammals multiply by means of sexual reproduction.


change or adapt in nature

Viruses sometimes mutate and grow resistant to vaccines.

new strain

a new breed, stock, or variety of something

A new strain of virus can be immune to treatment.


an individual life form

The study found that crawfish, frogs, and other organisms had been destroyed over a large area of the estuary.


prevalent over a whole country or the world

Life expectancy statistics from 1918 may have been skewed by an influenza pandemic.


the moving of something towards a more advanced state

Disease can halt the progression of a human from childhood to adulthood.

WHO (World Health Organization)

an international agency established in 1948 by the United Nations to promote health and control communicable diseases.

The WHO is a generally neutral and trusted authority in cases of pandemics.

balance sheet

a document which summarizes the assets, liabilities and equity of a business entity at a given time

The analysis of balance sheets for the last three months showed an increase in the value of the company.

CPA (certified public accountant)

the American and Australian equivalent of a Chartered accountant

After James passed his exams, he became a certified public accountant.

CFO (chief financial officer)

the most senior financial manager, responsible for overseeing the financial activities of the entire company

The board of directors were satisfied with the CFO's explanation of the unexpected loss reported in the accounts.


an entry showing the amount of money paid (or owed) to the company, entered on the right hand side

The sales ledger clerk totaled the credits and saw that the company was owed over $1 million.


an entry showing an amount owed (due to be paid by the company), entered on the left hand side

Before we can pay the invoice, we need to record the invoice as a debit in the accounting system.


the state for postponing the recognition of an asset or liability until a future time

As his accountant hadn't finished the tax calculations, he applied for a deferral.

double taxation

the state where income tax is paid twice (often to two different governments) on one income

A lot of countries now have double taxation agreements, so people should only pay the tax in the country where the money was earned.

due diligence

reasonable actions taken by a person to satisfy a law or regulation

The accountant suggested not signing the final contract until all due diligence was done to check that the company would be profitable.

foreign currency

the money used in another country.

Because the company had offices in Spain, Brazil and America, they had to deal with several foreign currencies including the euro.

in excess of

more than, greater than

The most recent set of accounts reported a net profit in excess of $5 million.

LLC (limited liability company)

a business entity where the debts of the company are separate from the debts of the share-holder

As it was a Limited liability company, the creditors couldn't get at John's private assets when the company went bankrupt.


to ensure that two figures agree with each other

A lot of accounting departments reconcile the bank account to the accounts every day.


a written account of a transaction

The auditors went through every record of sale over the last decade before they were satisfied.


a business which is owned and run by one person

Sole-traders don't have to meet such strict accounting requirements as larger corporations.

trial balance

a statement of all debits and credits in the double-entry account book, with any discrepancies shown

The company accountant spent two days trying to get the trial balance to agree.


small particles of cooked dough usually sprinkled on top of a dish or added to food as an inexpensive ingredient

The chef forgot my meal, that he had placed under the grill and when it arrived the breadcrumbs were burnt.


a piece of flat timber painted with matte dark paint, usually black or green, that can be written on; the writing can be rubbed out so it can be rewritten

The bar's chalkboard had so many different dishes it was difficult to choose which one to order.


the process of expressing that something is not right. A person who has done this is not happy with something

We were forced to complain about the waiter who took ages to take our order, even though we were in the restaurant before the other customers.


prepared and cooked ingredients made into an item on the menu, which is ready to be eaten

I order the seafood dish because my favourite food is prawns.


an architectural structure designed to contain a method of heating found in homes and restaurants and/or hotels

After our day skiing we were very cold, so we sat by the fireplace to warm up.


cooked in a way that involves an open flame (fire)

The salmon was delicious; it had been grilled to perfection.

house speciality

a dish that is only made in that particular restaurant; usually the recipes are kept secret so that no one else can make the dish

The house speciality was a dish made from beef, but the chef would not give me the recipe. He said it was a trade secret.


the name given to a food or liquid item that is added to a food recipe

I followed the recipe exactly, making sure that every ingredient was measured correctly.


a list of food and drink which are accompanied by prices and are available for the customer to read and choose their meal from, and then order their requirements from the waiter

The menu was four pages long; it took us nearly twenty minutes to choose.


the list of food ordered by a customer

When the waiter comes over to take our order, will you get me the fish?


the cost of an item, which is usually printed in one unit of currency but can be two depending on the location e.g. pound sterling and Euro will quite often be found on menus in Europe

The price of the meal was very reasonable and we will certainly visit this restaurant again.


a voluntary additional payment made for services rendered, usually given to a waiter/waitress by a customer if they were pleased with the service in a restaurant

The service was excellent; the food arrived on time and was delicious so we gave the waiter a large tip.


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