An Engineer Says What?

The times they are a-changin’.

This post seems to be older than 11 years—a long time on the internet. It might be outdated.

Amanda sent me this list of Engineering Speak. Having used most of these phrases at one point or another, I can vouch for their accuracy1.


Engineer says: A number of different approaches are being tried
Engineer means: We are still grasping at straws

Engineer says: Major technological breakthrough
Engineer means: It works OK, but looks very hi-tech

Engineer says: Preliminary operational tests were inconclusive
Engineer means: The darn thing blew up when we threw the switch

Engineer says: Test results were extremely gratifying
Engineer means: We are so surprised that the stupid thing works

Engineer says: The entire concept will have to be abandoned
Engineer means: The only person who understood the thing quit

Engineer says: It is in process
Engineer means: It is so wrapped up in red tape that the
situation is hopeless

Engineer says: We’ll look into it
Engineer means: Forget it! We have enough problems for now

Engineer says: Please read and initial
Engineer means: Let’s spread the responsibility for the mistake

Engineer says: Years of development
Engineer means: One finally worked

Read the rest at

Found via Amanda Walton(@AmandaWalton /

  1. more or less