I am completely, deliriously, unabashedly in love with Anthony Bourdain, and have read the famous "Kitchen Confidential" more times than I can count. Having spent a good portion of my life working in restaurants, I particularly enjoy the chapter on the secret language of the kitchen. Although I suppose every career has its own internal language, there are few professions which have quite so much odd terminology, familiar only to those who work there. Here are the most common terms that might be thrown around in a restaurant throughout the course of the night: 86'ed: gone. Used to describe both food and employees. If an item has been 86'ed, it means that it has been sold out. An employee might say that they are "86'ed to let the staff know that he or she is leaving...voluntarily, or involuntarily.
Campers (also known as squatters): That one table in a restaurant who just...won't...leave.
In the weeds: This is the point of no return, familiar to anyone who has worked in a position where multitasking is the key to survival. When you find yourself running around in a sweat, panicked, with no control over what is going on in your section and ready to either run away or hide in the bathroom and cry...you are officially "in the weeds."
V.T. (aka verbal tippers): Verbal tippers are those people who rave about how wonderful your service was, search out your manager to talk about how great you are...and then leave you a 10% tip.
As an acupuncturist, I now find myself using a whole new set of terms that only those in my field can understand. The other day, I was having a conversation with a friend in a restaurant. I mentioned something about the waiter being "in the weeds", then proceeded to throw in some of my acupuncture lingo without being aware of it. By the end of our conversation, my friend was looking at me as if I had just lapsed into Swahili, mid-speech. It made me realize that I really need to hang out with other acupuncturists more, because at least they understand what the hell I'm talking about. Below are some of the terms that we tend to throw out in conversation. (Bear in mind that these terms, like most, have a different meaning depending on context...and depending on whether they are being used inside or outside of a clinical setting).
Shen-disturbed: basically, acting wacky. In clinical terms, it could be someone suffering from mental issues, but when we use it outside of the clinic, it refers to someone exhibiting odd or disturbing behavior.
Livery: a pain in the ass. That angry type A who keeps complaining that the line is too long, and that he should get to jump the line because he only has one item.
Deficient: used to describe someone who is clearly exhausted, worn out, or needs rest.
Yang: Outside of the clinic, this could be someone who is loud, energetic, and the life of the party.
Stagnant: used to describe someone who can't seem to get moving, physically or mentally.
Vampire: Energetically, these people are incredibly draining. This is someone who seems to suck the life out of everyone around them.
What terms do you hear in YOUR profession, that are unfamiliar to the general public?