What it means:
- A fluent and prolific writer, especially one who writes professionally.
- An expert on words.
What my company thinks it means:
- To edit
Sentence used in my office:
"Wordsmith the [software design document] to follow the document template format. (pause) Actually, while you're doing that, incorporate our ideas for future-proofing the design going forward. Leverage [the document database] if you need to."
What that meant:
"I put a whole bunch of changes into the [software design document]. Because I'm a dumb-ass who can't be bothered doing anything correctly, I've decided to assign a peon below my pay grade to clean up my mistakes and, if need be, take any blame these unapproved changes will provoke. Today, that peon is you.
"Also, the complexities Microsoft Visio and Microsoft Word overwhelm me so much that I must dedicate all of my brain's capacities just to remember how to open these programs. My preoccupied mind then can not maintain my body's basic functions, causing me to accidentally shit myself from mental overexertion.
"Because you are able to type with all of your fingers while I am forced to hunt-and-peck with one index finger that I bring up to my face between each letter, it would be more efficient if you were to add my half-assed Rube Goldberg machine-esque ideas for "future-proofing" our software product. I will be too busy wiping myself due to the aforementioned accidental pants-shitting. Future-proofing is a good idea and always works well, which is why we still use software written in the 1970's. Right? Software updates and new versions will soon be a thing of the past.
"Use other documents that we have as sources to this document. Do not bother asking me. I am useless when the need for knowledge arises. That's why I get the big bucks."
As much as it pains me to say this, the original may be easier to say than the translated version. Also, I may be a little bitter.
When I heard "wordsmith" again today, I crossed it off my buzzword list and started writing this article. I noticed something about my list of over 40 buzzwords this time, though. There are a lot of terms that are just flowery nouns that are used as verbs in this office, including wordsmith. I have a friend who once said, "You can't just take any noun and verb it." I've found that this isn't only untrue, but there are people who have made entire careers from this concept. It seems that there exists strong correlation between the number of buzzwords spoken and pay grade.
Putting my tangential tirade aside, the term "wordsmith" seems to be a relative newcomer to my management's lexicon. I've only heard it commonly used for about 1.5 years. I don't know how or why this started. Given what I know about my job, the word was probably used once in a magazine, and whoever read it tried using the word at a meeting. Because no one wants to be behind the curve, the usage spread like wildfire. Either that, or someone collected seven Dragon Balls and wished for my office to be like this.
I'm choosing to believe the second theory. It gives me the illusion that something actually happens here.