Machine Code - Also known as Machine Language. A computer language, which consists only of numbers, that can be read and interpreted by a computer's central processing unit (CPU).
Macro - In a computer, a single instruction which results in a complete series of more detailed instructions being put into effect.
Magic bullet - A simple effective solution to a serious or complex problem, especially in medicine, for example a cure for a disease. The simplicity is for users, not necessarily for the developers. See also Silver Bullet, basically the same meaning.
Magalog - A catalogue which appears to be a magazine, used for marketing purposes.
Magnetic Media - Disks and tapes which are used to record and store computer data.
Mail Merge - The process of automatically personalising a customised letter or document by using a list of individual names and addresses, so the same letter can be sent to many people.
Mail Order - The purchasing or selling of goods over the Internet, telephone, from catalogues, etc., which are delivered to the customer by mail.
Mainframe - Also known as 'Big Iron'. A large powerful central computer to which a network of smaller computers are connected, used commonly by large organisations.
Mainstream - A term applied to activities, ideas, products/services, etc., that are used/followed/supported by most people. Mainstream basically means 'commonly used by people'. Mainstream as a marketing term is the opposite to 'niche' or specialised. Interestingly while 'mainstream' seems like a relatively modern word, it's actually existed in this sense since about 1830.
Majority Interest - Owning more than 50% of the total shares in a company, and therefore more than 50% of the voting interest.
Makegood - In advertising, a free advertising slot given to a company by a TV station, magazine, etc., if the company's advert was previously run incorrectly.
Make To Stock - In manufacturing, products which are made and stocked before customers orders have been received.
Maladministration - In business or government, the act of incompetence or running a system in a dishonest way.
Managed Economy - An economy in which goods, allocation of resources and prices are determined by the government.
Managed Hosting - A type of Internet hosting in which the hosting supplier deals with technical issues and problems related to the website, in addition to the basic hosting of the website.
Management Buy-In - When a management team from outside a company acquires more than 50% of the company, so they become the majority shareholders, and then manage the company themselves.
Management Buy-Out - MBO. The purchase of all or part of a company by the company's existing managers.
Management By Exception - A management style in which managers give employees the authority to run projects, etc., by themselves and managers only become involved if the employees fail to meet certain criteria or standards.
Manager - A person who is in charge of a project, department, group, team, etc.
Mandatory Convertible Bond - Bonds that must be redeemed in shares by the company which issues them, usually by a specified date.
Mandate - Technically a legal or official document giving an order or instruction. More loosely it refers to a permission or approval. In politics or democratic situations such as trade unions it refers to an authorisation for leadership to act based on election or vote. Derived from Latin mandatum meaning 'something commanded', from manus (hand) and dare (give). Mandate is also a verb, meaning to empower someone to take action.
Margin - The difference in the price of producing a product and the price it sells for, calculated as a percentage, i.e., profit margin.
Margin Account - An account held by an investor with a broker in which the broker lends the investor money to purchase shares, etc., which are then used as collateral against the loan.
Marginal Productivity - The additional output of a product, etc., which is produced as a result of adding one unit of a resource, for example labour input, in the production process.
Margin Call - A demand by a broker for an investor to bring his margin account up to the minimum level required by depositing additional money, shares, securities, etc.
Market - The commercial activity of buying and selling goods and services. The customers who buy goods and services.
Market Basket - A way of measuring the cost of living. A collection of products or services which consumers buy on a regular basis, and the prices which are paid for them.
Market Clearing Price - The price of a product or service at which the level of demand equals the level of supply.
Market Control - A situation in which the quantity and/or price of goods or services is influenced by buyers or sellers.
Market Economy - A situation in which businesses operate in a free market, i.e., they are in competition with each other and are not under government control.
Market Forces - Influences, such as the availability of raw materials for the production of goods, or customer numbers, which affect supply, demand and prices of products and services.
Marketing - The promotion and/or selling of a company, product, service, etc.
Marketing Mix - A set of marketing tools used by a company to sell its products and/or services to a target market.
Marketing Myopia - When a business is being shortsighted regarding the needs of its customers, only focusing on its products or short range goals and missing marketing opportunities.
Market Leader - A company or brand which has the highest sales of a particular product. A best-selling product.
Market Orientation - A business strategy whereby a company focuses on meeting the customers needs and wants regarding products and services.
Market Penetration Price - A low price at which a new product is offered when it first comes onto the market, in order to attract customers, after which the price is usually increased.
Market Research - The process of gathering and analysing information about customers, competitors, etc., in order to make decisions and solve problems connected with selling products or services.
Market Sector - Competing businesses which produce or buy similar goods and/or services. The customers for which certain goods and services are marketed.
Market Test - The testing of a product or service in several areas of the country to see if customers will like it and want to buy it.
Market-To-Market - The process of valuing a security, share, etc., on a daily basis to assess its current price, rather than its acquisition price or book value.
Market Segment - A subgroup within a larger market in which people share certain characteristics and require similar products or services.
Market Segmentation - The process of identifying and dividing consumers into groups according to their purchasing behaviour.
Mark-up - The amount a producer, retailer, etc., puts on the price of the goods or services they are selling in order to make a profit. To raise the price of an item which is for sale.
Marque - A brand name or model of a well-known manufactured product, especially an expensive car.
Maslow's Hierarchy Of Needs - Developed by Abraham Maslow in 1943. A fundamental motivational theory describing five stages of human needs which must be met in a particular order.
Mass Market - Describes products or services which have mass appeal and are aimed at large numbers of people or a whole population.
Mass Marketing - Marketing a product or service to the general public through the mass media, for example, TV, radio, newspapers and magazines.
Master Franchise - Allows companies or individuals the right to purchase a sub-franchise business which can be developed in a particular area or country.
Material Requirements Planning - (MRP) The use of computer software to plan and manage a production process, for example the amount of materials or parts required, calculation of workload, delivery schedules, etc.
Maternity Leave - The time a pregnant employee is entitled to take off from her job before and after the birth of her baby. Entitlement to Maternity Leave depends on how long the woman has been with her employer.
Maternity Pay - An employee benefit paid to pregnant women when they take time off from their job to have their baby. Entitlement to Maternity Pay depends on how long they have worked for their employer and varies from country to country.
Mates Rates - To sell a product or service to a friend or family member at a discounted or reduced rate on the normal price.
Matrix Management - Also known as Dotted Line Responsibility. A system of management in which people from different departments in an organisation work together, so that each individual employee has two bosses, one functional and one operational. This is common in project management.
Maven - An expert, often self-proclaimed, in a particular field.
Maverick - An independent thinker who does not conform to accepted opinion on certain matters and takes a stand from other people.
Mediagenic - A tendency (for a person or activity, etc) to convey a favourable impression when reported by the media.
Meltdown - A situation in which something, or someone, suddenly dramatically ceases to function properly.
Meme - Originally a biological term referring to a behavioural characteristic which transfers non-genetically between people, meme increasingly refers more widely to other non-human characterstics or examples which arise as imitations of or variations on a particular theme.
Memo - Usually used for communication within an organisation. Memos can be formal letters or informal notes to colleagues.
Memorandum and Articles Of Association - a legal document drawn up when a company is formed containing details such as company name, type, objectives, and number and value of shares, etc.
Memorandum Of Understanding - MOU. A, sometimes informal written agreement between two or more parties which establishes each party's responsibilities and requirements.
Menial (work, job, task) - Unskilled typically poorly paid work.
Mentor - Someone who is experienced and gives guidance and support to a person less experienced to help them develop and grow and achieve their goals.
Menu Bar - On a computer screen, the strip at the top of each open window that contains pull down menus with functions, for example file, edit, etc.
Mercantile - Relating to trade or commerce.
Merchandising - The practice of promoting and selling goods. Commercial products which are associated with a film, pop group, TV show, celebrity, etc., such as toys, clothing, food products, household items, etc.
Merchant Bank - Known in the US as an Investment Bank. A financial institution which offers financial advice and services to large businesses and wealthy individuals.
Merge-Purge - The process of combining two or more lists or files of names and addresses etc., typically databases, and removing duplicated and/or unwanted items, to produce one new clean list or database.
Merger - The joining of two or more companies, organisations etc.
Meritocracy - In business, a system in which people advance because of their abilities rather than their connections or wealth, etc.
Merlin - TV/Movie term for a visual mistake in a film or TV show, derived from the accidental inclusion of a beer can in a TV drama scene featuring Merlin, in the days of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.
Mesne Profits - Compensation or penalty charges instead of, or 'in lieu' of, rent claimed by a landlord against a person illegally occupying land or property and subsequently evicted, commonly arising from a court order.
Meta/Metatags/Metadata - Meta means an additional useful part of the whole thing, usually data or communication of some sort, and usually hidden or underlying and coded. The original sense is from the Greek word meta, loosely meaning 'with' and arises now commonly as a prefix in computing and communications terminology, for example referring to meta tags (increasingly 'metatags') within website or computer code, which are typically hidden in normal use but which carry useful or vital information about the material or functionality concerned - specifically useful for computerised automated functions and analysis, data search, retrieval, organization and display, etc. The similar term meta data (increasingly 'metadata') refers more generally to information or code which is usually hidden in normal use or communications but which carries important meaning towards understanding or using the whole message or instruction, or other form of data.
Mezzanine Finance - A high interest, usually unsecured, loan in which the lender often has the right to obtain shares in the business which has acquired the loan. Sometimes used in management buy-outs.
Microblogging - A type of blogging allowing users to post or broadcast pictures and/or short messages or articles typically in the range of 140-200 characters.
Microcap - In the US, small companies on the stock exchange that have shares which are very low in total value.
Microcredit - The loaning of very small sums of money to entrepreneurs, especially in the developing world, typically enabling the start-up of small business activities, especially social enterprise. See small business start-ups.
Microeconomics - A branch of economics which studies individual parts of the economy, such as households, industries and businesses, and how they make decisions about spending money, use of goods and services, etc.
Microsite - A small separate part of a larger website which is designed to be used for a particular purpose, e.g., advertising or selling. Often co-branded or 'white label', i.e., run by a larger website organisation for a smaller website acting as an agent or affiliate.
Middleman - A person who arranges business or political deals between people, usually for a commission or fee, or, more generally, any person or company buying goods from a supplier and selling them to customers, usually at a profit.
Middle Management - In organisations and business, managers who are in charge of small departments and groups of people while reporting to upper management.
Midsession - On the stock exchange, the middle period of trading during the day, usually around noon.
Milk Round - In the UK, a term used when large companies visit universities each year to advertise job opportunities to students.
Mindshare - In advertising, the development of consumer awareness of a product or brand.
Minimax Strategy - In Game Theory and strategy generally, a method which seeks to minimise the maximum potential losses, which usually equates to 'playing safe'.
Minimum Wage - The legal lowest wage an employee can be paid by an employer.
Minister without portfolio - A government minister who has not been appointed to any specific department, and who has no specific departmental responsibilities. Also refers metaphorically to an executive or director or manager in an organization who has authority and rank but no responsibility for specific activity.
Minion - A low-ranking loyal and often favoured servant or worker.
Mirror Site - On the Internet, an exact copy of a popular website. This is done so that some of the traffic can be diverted from the original website to the Mirror Site when the original site becomes very busy. Alternatively a copy website whose purpose is to attract and direct additional visitors towards the original site, regarded as unacceptable SEO (search engine optimisation) or 'cheating' by most search engines.
Misery Index - Created by economist Arthur Okun, an economic indicator of a country which adds the inflation rate to the unemployment rate.
Mission Creep - Originally applied to military operations, a gradual expansion of a project that goes beyond original aims, so things turn out differently than planned, often resulting in undesirable consequences.
Mission Statement - A brief statement which sets out the activities and objectives of a company or organisation.
Mitigate - To make something less severe or dangerous, e.g., using 'Mitigating Circumstances' as an excuse to try to make an offence seem less serious than it appears.
Mixed Economy - A country's economic system which has both private and state owned enterprises in operation.
Mnemonic - A technique or mechanism, popularly called a 'memory-aid', for helping to remember something (a rule, process, concept, theory, etc., or simply a job to do or mental note). Examples of types of mnemonics are acronyms(including 'bacronyms') stories, quotes and rhymes. A knotted handkerchief is a traditional and iconic mnemonic (because it served to remind the owner that he/she should remember something, although amusingly gives no clue as to what exactly should be remembered). The phrase 'Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain' is a mnemonic for the colours/colors of the rainbow in order, matching the first letters to Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Indigo Violet. The word is pronounced 'nemonic' and is commonly misspelled ('numonic'). It's from Greek mnemon, mindful. The study of the development and assistance of memory is called mnemonics or mnemotechnics. Most mnemonic devices operate by association, i.e., by linking the thing to be recalled (which is typically lacking in memorability or pattern or imagery) with something such as an acronym, phrase or rhyme (which ideally contain strong memorability, pattern, imagery, etc) and which correlates or matches the key words in some way. Some mnemonics can become very deeply embedded into the brain, especially those which are learned in formative childhood years, so that they can be recalled effortlessly after several decades of not being used.
Mob - A crowd of people - usually unruly and agitated. Mob is actually a shortened version of the full Latin phrase, mobile vulgus, meaning excitable crowd. The term was abbreviated in English first as 'mobile', in the 1600s. In more recent times the meaning of mob has become much wider - notably slang for gangsters (hence 'mobsters'), and in modern times to expressions such as'flash mob', whose full technical meaning (aside from its earliest underworld meaning) is a secretly planned, surprising and quickly-formed excitable crowd.
Modem - From MOdulate and DEModulate. An electronic device which is used to connect computer systems using a telephone line for transmitting data.
Moderator - An arbitrator or mediator. Someone who presides over a debate. On the Internet - a person who presides over a website forum to make sure that rules and guidelines are adhered to.
Mogul - Also called a tycoon. A very rich, powerful business person.
Mojo - Magical or special power, referring to a charismatic person, or a product with unusually seductive qualities. Such people can be said to have their 'mojo working', an expression popularised by blues singer Muddy Waters in his 1957 hit song 'Got My Mojo Working'.
Mom-and-Pop/Mom-and-Pop Shop - Chiefly and originally an American term for a small shop or business (e.g., Mom-and-Pop Business) that traditionally was and frequently nowadays still is run by a married couple, who are often the main staff too. These small businesses are characterized typically as being small in economic terms, and usually old-fashioned, slow to adapt, resistant to change and new technology, ideas, etc., with little or no ambition to grow. As such, marketing executives, managers and sales people of much larger organizations tend to regard 'mum-and-pop' businesses with a degree of disdain. While plentiful in numbers across many sectors and therefore overall accounting for potentially big market shares, mom-and-pop businesses are extremely difficult to profile, assess, and target in sales and marketing, which combined with a reputation for stubbornness (based often on mom and pop having very good knowledge and experience of their own industries), makes them very challenging for suppliers to reach, engage in dialogue, and to convert to new products and services. Small order values and high maintenance expectations commonly associated with mom-and-pop businesses add to the difficulties faced by corporations attempting to sell and serve them. Many mom-and-pop shops/businesses might in more modern times also be described as 'lifestyle businesses', where the owners quite intentionally maintain a small simple and easily manageable scale of operation, so as to fit with a happier work-life balance. Some suggest this adds to the (arguably envy-driven) resentment which can be felt and displayed by large corporations and staff trying to market to mom-and-pop shops.
Mondeo Man - A derogatory term used to describe the average British man, who is depicted as boring, living in a semi-detached house in Kent with a wife and two children. Also used to describe travelling salesmen, a large number of who drive Mondeo cars.
Monetary Base - Also known as Narrow Money in the UK. The total amount of a country's currency which is in circulation, for example, coins, notes, etc. - held by individuals and in bank deposits.
Money At Call - A loan or debt which must be paid upon demand.
Money Spinner - A product or project that generates a lot of earnings.
Monopoly - A situation in which one company or organisation has complete control of all, or nearly all, of the market for a particular type of product or service.
Monopsony - Also known as Buyers Monopoly, a market in which there is only one customer for a product or service being sold by several sellers.
MOOC - Acronym for 'Massive Open Online Course' - conceivably the future of most higher/further education globally - see MOOC on the acronyms page.
Moore's Law - Founder of Intel Gordon Moore's theory that the power of computing has the potential to double every two years (often quoted as every 18 months).
Moral Hazard - The situation in businesses and organisations when people are protected, e.g. by insurance cover, so they are more likely to take risks.
Mortgage - A loan acquired from a bank, building society, etc., with which to buy property or land, usually to be paid back with interest over a specified number of years at regular monthly intervals. To borrow money from a bank, etc., using your property as collateral, giving the lender the right to own your property if the loan is not repaid.
Mothball - In business, to stop using a piece of equipment or building, etc., for a period of time, but keep it in good condition for when work can resume.
Motherboard - Also known as the Logic Board. The main circuit board of a computer which has all the components to make everything in the computer work together, such as the monitor, keyboard, mouse, DVD drive, etc.
Motivational Research - A type of market research used to investigate the reasons why people buy specific products or brands.
Mountweazel - A fictitious entry in a reference source or listing, traditionally an act of mischief, but also used to catch copyright cheats or those who obtain and use a database without a licence or a fee. Logically mountweazel entries are removed from legitimate authorized versions. Mountweazel is supposedly named after a false entry Lillian Virginia Mountweazel in the 1975 New Columbia Encyclopedia. Also called a nihilartikel, from the Latin nihil meaning nothing, and the German word artikel. A fictitious 'trap street' is the equivalent used to combat map copyright theft. (NB This is entry is not a mountweazel, probably..)
Mouse Potato - Amusing modern slang term for a person who sits for long periods in front of a computer, especially using the internet, instead of engaging in more active and dynamic pursuits. Mouse Potato is a clever adaptation of the older 1970s slang 'couch potato', referring to a person who spends too much time sat watching TV, eating and drinking too. Both terms originated in the USA, although these lifestyles are certainly not restricted to the USA.
Multilateral - Involving or agreed upon by three or more groups, nations, companies, etc. See Bilateral and Unilateral.
Multinational Corporation - MNC. Also known as Transnational Corporation. A company which operates in several countries outside the country in which it is based.
Murphy's Law - Humorous saying: Anything that can possibly go wrong will go wrong.
Mutual Company - A type of organisation, business, etc., which is owned by members and has no shareholders. The members usually have a share of the profits.
Mulct - A fine or financial penalty, or the verb form, to cheat or swindle someone out of money or penalize someone by imposing a fine, from the Latin word multare, to fine.
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator - (MBTI) A psychometric questionnaire or personality test in which people answer questions about themselves, which helps identify strengths and personal behavioural/behavioral preferences. Seepersonality styles and models.
Mystery Shopper - A person hired by market research companies or manufacturers, etc., to visit or telephone shops or service providers anonymously in order to assess the quality of goods, helpfulness of staff, layout of premises, etc.
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