Microspeak: touch base


The verb phrase touch base is in general business jargon use, but it's quite popular at Microsoft.

To touch base with someone is to contact someone in a lightweight and mostly-informal sort of way. In other words, it takes the form of a piece of email or a brief office visit rather than a formal meeting with an agenda.

Bob, can you touch base with the Nosebleed team to verify that this design change won't affect them?

Bob is expected to contact a representative from the Nosebleed team, either by sending email, or by telephone, or by stopping by their office for a quick chat. If Bob sets up a one-hour meeting with a dozen engineers from both sides, then he's blowing the issue out of proportion.

Comments (5)
  1. Anonymous says:

    Really?  People have been saying this before Microsoft was even a company.  Yeesh.

  2. Anonymous says:

    @Keith: as Raymond says: in general business jargon use…

  3. Anonymous says:

    People have been saying that even here in South Africa for as long as I can remember.

    But now that you've mentioned it, it makes no sense in a SA or even English speaking context. Sounds American, like something that originated in baseball? We don't even play baseball here.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Microspeak: "Automobile"

    At Microsoft, the word "Automobile" is used to describe a form of motorised personal transport, usually with four wheels and a gasoline or electric engine.  They're widely used on campus at Redmond — mostly by employees to travel to and from their homes — to the extent that large expanses space are set aside for the "parking" of "automobiles" ("Parking" is Microspeak for the process of abandoning one's "automobile" in order to perform some function away from it).  At my trip to Microsoft UK, I discovered that "automobiles" are sometimes refered to as "cars", and these areas for "parking" are called "car parks".

    [The word "automobile" is not used at Microsoft significantly more frequently than in the general population, so mastery of the term does not "mark" you as a Microsoftie. -Raymond]
  5. Anonymous says:

    @Raymond – you know, that *might* have been my point.

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