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Performant is not a word

dunceI read a bunch of articles and talk to developers about software performance and the word performant comes up quite a bit. You'll hear it mentioned conversationally (in technical conversations) like I've heard that kind of sql query isn't very performant or To make this code more performant, you should do xxx. The problem is that performant is not a word. I know this is a bit silly, but it does seem to grate on me (more than it should).

I'm not a big fan of made up jargon words in general, but sometimes they are helpful in describing something specifically. This is not the case with the word performant. The problem with performant is that it no different from saying performs well or speedy or possibly efficient, depending upon the context. Immediately after someone says blah blah blah is/is not performant, someone will have to ask in what way does it [not] perform well? or in idiot speak what do you mean that it is/isn't performant? Then the first person will go on to describe how blah blah blah is too slow or takes too long to return, or uses too many resources, etc.

This is one reason why it sucks as a word, it has some generic meaning in the realm of goes faster but doesn't exactly mean that in all cases. In fact, we already have a word that suffers from the same ambiguity and contextual dependency: performance. Most people use the phrases higher performance and lower performance in the same ways that people use more performant and less performant. Do we really need a different similar length phrase to refer to the same ambiguous concept?

Then it gets even better when things become more or less performant. As in the classic: well if you do that to the query it will become more/less performant. I mean how is this any better than saying well if you do that to the query it will make it take longer or ... it will make it less efficient or ... it will make it faster. I mean really, the word has no value at all.

I know, I shouldn't care. I know it is totally pedantic, but it really is like fingernails on a chalkboard for me. Thankfully, the dictionaries do not list it as a word:

or only define it as something archaic:

  • lists the word as meaning a performer.. like in a play.

Normally, I don't care about these things, and maybe writing this rant has been cathartic because now I feel like a dumb ass for writing about it. Sorry to have wasted your time.Eye-wink