Funny Sounding Manufacturing Terms

A meme starting with the text: "When somebody says 'Boring Bar'" followed by an image of two people bored at a bar with the text "What your friends think". The next image is a boring bar from a machine with the text "What you think".

Funny Manufacturing Words

We could all use a little laugh now and again, right? Quite a few psychologists have even studied and recommend to implement laughter in your daily routine to help with health. It’s time that those in manufacturing, from the shop floor machinist to the guy working in the corner office, learns to laugh at themselves.

Manufacturing is serious business. It is an expensive industry full of skilled workers who want the industry to regain more footing in the American economy. But come on now – there are some funny factors about our business!

We have created a comic called “Shop Floor Man Presents” to help bring this community together through humor, but why stop there? Here is a list of terms familiar to our industry that, if you think about it for a moment, sound quite funny:

DONGLE – Aside from sounding funny, a dongle is a USB with a license on it. Many consumers are likely familiar with the term “dongle” with the latest “no headphone jack in phones” movement, and CNET is having a good laugh about it, as well.

DIP SWITCH – Not something you call someone with no common sense. It’s an arrangement of switches still used on industrial equipment, even though consumer electronics have veered away from them.

FLOPPY DISK – It’s not really floppy at all, is it? The misleading name actually means that it is a flexible magnetic disk that can be removed. The disk is surrounded by hard plastic and stores crucial data on it. For the last few years, it’s been able to be replaced by USB flash drives and alike hardware devices (AHEM, which we have plenty of in different varieties).

WORM – Stands for “Write Once Read Many.” Can also catch fish, as well as a familiar term for early birds.

BRAT – It doesn’t just explain a petulant child. It can have two manufacturing meanings: “Bi-drive Recreational All Terrain” OR “Business Risk Advisory Team.

WHACK-A-MOLE – A euphemism in manufacturing that states while one problem will be solved, another one is bound to pop up. (PS – we can help your shop floor stop feeling like this, but keep reading on!)

POKA-YOKE – While it sounds like something you would do when making over-easy eggs, this is the act of making a manufacturing process fail-safe and a process in which an error cannot be made. Detecting and preventing errors in this process falls into three stages. (AKA Baka-Yoke)

funny machine shop signs

Funny signs on display in a maker’s lab

No one is perfect. Check out our Shop Floor Automations blooper reel and subscribe to our YouTube channel! We also have tutorials and other useful info there.

BISCUIT – A ceramic that was fired, but not glazed. In terms of carbs, isn’t a glazed biscuit that was baked a scone? (AKA bisque)

BMS LOAD – It’s not an insult you hurl at someone on the manufacturing shop floor. It’s the input of resource estimates, charges and committed money in an engineering program.

CATCHBALL – Not something you do with a company sports team. It’s the process of back and forth communication between different organization levels in the workplace.

YOYO – Stands for “You’re on your own”. Hopefully, when someone says this to you, you don’t have a YOLO (“you only live once”) attitude about it.

If you can use more laughter in your life, follow our manufacturing humor related accounts on Twitter and Instagram. If you have serious business regarding your shop floor, we invite you to call us at (877) 611-5825 and or fill out our contact form.

Thanks to for help with explaining some of these terms!