Academic Buzzword Bingo

Why Play?

Academic Buzzword Bingo can help you get through even the most stupifying workshops, committee meetings, and seminars. When a speaker utters a particularly grating (often meaningless) academic buzzword, it will be an opportunity for scoring rather than a soul-sucking exercise in occupational ennui.

Rules of Academic Buzzword Bingo

The game is simple enough. Just generate a separate bingo card for each player. As a player, mark each square as you hear the buzzword it contains. Cough loudly whenever a new square receives its mark. The first player to get five in a row horiziontally, vertically, or diagonaly, has a loud coughing fit to announce his or her victory. Note: Shouting "Bingo!" is probably not a good idea.

Click the following button to go to the card generator:

The Academic Buzzword Bingo Card page has no graphics or menus so you can print clean bingo cards. Click the "RETURN" link to come back here.

Printing a Bingo Card

In some browsers, you can right click anywhere on the card page and select "print" to print that card. In others, you can press "Ctrl-P" or select "print" from the file menu. Be sure to generate a new card each time before printing. If you don't, everyone will win at the same time. The mass coughing fit will convince someone that there is a serious health problem in the room and there's a good chance that the CDC will get involved.

Note: Very rarely, the particular selection of academic buzzwords will cause the generator to produce an oversized card. If this happens, simply click the button again to generate a new card.

Non-Academic Buzzword Bingo

Several people have suggested other forms of buzzword bingo based on the offensive jargon of various occupations (e.g. computers, marketing, mortuary science, insurance, etc.). If you'd like to submit the buzzwords, I'll try to find the time to create a new generator for you.

It takes a minimum of 25 buzzwords to make a game, but it's better to have at least 30. Submit your buzzword list as a single column with one phrase per line and a comma at the end of each line. Each phrase should be in lowercase except for proper nouns with no quotation marks or punctuation other than the occasional hyphen. Try not to hyphenate unless the hyphen is appropriate (e.g. "brain-based learning").

The maximum length of a single buzzword is 17 letters. You can have up to two of these per buzzword phrase but remember that hyphenated buzzwords are not split so make sure that the hyphenated combo is not longer than 17 characters counting the hyphen.

Submit your buzzword list through the "contact" link at the top or bottom of this page. Don't forget to tell me what field your buzzwords are appropriate for. Check the bottom of this page for links to new buzzword games.

About the Bingo Card Page

The original ColdFusion source code for the page is at I've re-written the code in php using a slightly different algorithm.

There are about 75 academic buzzwords stored in a MySQL database. Sixty-five of those words came from the brochure for a single academic conference (four of them came just from the title and sub-title of the conference).

A random selection of 24 buzzwords are selected and arranged each time you click on the "Generate New Board" button.

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  —  Bob Ray