A horrid task, the annual income tax filing, looms over me. As a self-employed individual, I must track every detail and report it based on official rules filled with bafflegab.

Oooh, what a fun word.

Normally, I would explain the etymology of the word back through centuries, but this one was coined in 1952. Milton A. Smith, an assistant general counsel for the US Chamber of Commerce, used the term to refer to the incomprehensible jargon of the Office of Price Stabilization.

As a slight aside, the fact that a lawyer was making fun of nonsensical language carries its own level of amusement.

A common synonym, gobbledygook, is only slightly older. Congressman Maury Maverick coined that phrase in 1944. The word maverick, by the way, is derived from Maury’s grandfather, so the family has created a couple of useful words.

With a long career in corporate finance and a veteran of thousands of corporate meetings, I’ve had my fill of bafflegab, gobbledygook, gibberish, rigmarole, song and dance, and double-talk. At least we have fun words to refer to it.

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