Lucy Kellaway’s dictionary of business jargon and corporate nonsense
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Spike out

Translation into plain English Elaborate on

Perpetrator Multiple analysts on Anthem Inc conference call

Usage example “Just wanted to go into the items that you had spiked out as helping the MLR in the quarter. I was wondering if you could try and quantify a little bit more exactly how much of the benefit was from the expense timing, how much of the benefit was from the retro Medicaid, and some of the other things that you highlighted?” (Spotted by Colm Friel)

Lucy’s commentary To spike out is acceptable, though rare, when referring to the first green growth out of a hyacinth bulb. To spike out things that relate to an obscure acronym on a conference call is less acceptable. It can only be understood as a valiant attempt to make these points sound a little less deadly. It does not succeed.

Related: Ladder offDe-grow

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