Browse Definitions :

Confusing jargon: Throw it over the wall

Writing for Business

Can you translate this business jargon?
The CEO sent a message to the project manager: “When you get all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed, go ahead and throw that over the wall.”

What did she mean?


Answer: She meant “send it to the client.” Which is what she should have said instead.

Explanation:

The concensus seems to be that “throw it over the wall” means to transfer something from one individual or group to another, with the implication that the first person or group has finished with it. I think the metaphorical reference must be to the act of lobbing things over the wall of a fortress, as seen in historical movies. In all the examples that I saw, things were thrown in an effort to drive off attackers, so it was things like boiling oil, or rocks, or flaming objects. However, the metaphor doesn’t seem to extend quite that far.

In its entry for “throw it over the wall,” Word Spy cites the earliest use :

“We need less of the grunt-and-grind applications systems which we’ve gotten so good at building,” he said. However, “putting tools out there isn’t enough,” he added. “You can’t just throw it over the wall and expect them to use it.”
—Bruce Hoard, “IBMer Calls Demand Processing Wave of Future,” Computerworld, January 19, 1981

On Forbes.com, authors Max Mallet, Brett Nelson and Chris Steiner include “over the wall” in The Most Annoying, Pretentious and Useless Business Jargon. The article recounts the story of a PR account executive whose boss asked her to throw a document over the wall. She eventually had to ask him what he meant. The article’s authors’ recommendation: “If you’re not wielding a grappling hook, avoid this meaningless expression.”

 Follow me on Twitter @tao_of_grammar

Dig Deeper on Writing for Business

SearchCompliance
  • pure risk

    Pure risk refers to risks that are beyond human control and result in a loss or no loss with no possibility of financial gain.

  • risk reporting

    Risk reporting is a method of identifying risks tied to or potentially impacting an organization's business processes.

  • risk exposure

    Risk exposure is the quantified potential loss from business activities currently underway or planned.

SearchSecurity
  • script kiddie

    Script kiddie is a derogative term that computer hackers coined to refer to immature, but often just as dangerous, exploiters of ...

  • cipher

    In cryptography, a cipher is an algorithm for encrypting and decrypting data.

  • What is risk analysis?

    Risk analysis is the process of identifying and analyzing potential issues that could negatively impact key business initiatives ...

SearchHealthIT
SearchDisasterRecovery
  • What is risk mitigation?

    Risk mitigation is a strategy to prepare for and lessen the effects of threats faced by a business.

  • fault-tolerant

    Fault-tolerant technology is a capability of a computer system, electronic system or network to deliver uninterrupted service, ...

  • synchronous replication

    Synchronous replication is the process of copying data over a storage area network, local area network or wide area network so ...

SearchStorage
  • gigabyte (GB)

    A gigabyte (GB) -- pronounced with two hard Gs -- is a unit of data storage capacity that is roughly equivalent to 1 billion ...

  • MRAM (magnetoresistive random access memory)

    MRAM (magnetoresistive random access memory) is a method of storing data bits using magnetic states instead of the electrical ...

  • storage volume

    A storage volume is an identifiable unit of data storage. It can be a removable hard disk, but it does not have to be a unit that...

Close