Microspeak: Locked and loaded

Raymond Chen

Today’s Microspeak term is locked and loaded, which is also a general idiom in American English. Microspeak is not merely about jargon exclusive to Microsoft, but also jargon that you need to know in order to survive at Microsoft. In this case, the phrase is not in widespread use, but you do hear it from time to time, so you should know what it means.

The phrase locked and loaded means in its most general sense “Ready for deployment.” It is used to describe an event that is staged and ready to go, and is just waiting for a go-ahead signal or a release date to arrive.

The term “lock and load” means to prepare a firearm for firing, and according to the Internet, the phrase “locked and loaded” dates back to the eighteenth century. One of the sources of its popularity in the United States is apparently the movie The Sands of Iwo Jima, in which John Wayne’s character uses it both in its literal meaning as well as metaphorically to mean “prepare for action”.

Here are some citations, suitably redacted.

This code may not have shipped in a strict technical sense, but it’s present in the Nosebleed release, which is locked and loaded for a November release.

And this citation from a status update presentation:

Employee evaluations: Locked and loaded.

The phrase locked and loaded carries the implication that even though the release of the product or information has not yet occurred, it will be difficult if not impossible to make any changes because the staged release will have to be recalled, and a new release staged with the changes.

1 comment

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  • Shawn Van Ness 0

    Not sure that counts as Microspeak .. more of a general english idiom.

    The concept of “ask mode” vs “tell mode” is closely related Microspeak, though..

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