Lean? I’d rather be Healthy!

by Lorne Mitchell on 01/03/2011

I was talking to a friend the other day about Lean and Six Sigma and all that – and I felt I did not know the word “lean” – so I looked it up on synonym.com and this is what I found for the adjective:

Synonyms (Grouped by Similarity of Meaning) of adj lean
4 senses of lean

Sense 1:

thin (vs. fat), lean
anorexic, anorecticbony, cadaverous, emaciated, gaunt, haggard, pinched, skeletal, wasteddeep-eyed, hollow-eyed, sunken-eyedgangling, gangly, lankylank, spindlyrawbonedreedy, reedliketwiggy, twiglikescarecrowishscraggy, boney, scrawny, skinny, underweight, weedyshriveled, shrivelled, shrunken, withered, wizen, wizenedslender, slight, slim, svelteslender-waisted, slim-waisted, wasp-waistedspare, trimspindle-legged, spindle-shankedstringy, wirywisplike, wispy

Also See: ectomorphic; thin

Sense 2:

lean (vs. rich)

Sense 3:

lean, skimpy
insufficient (vs. sufficient), deficient

Sense 4:
lean
unprofitable (vs. profitable)

And this got me thinking….How is it that we ascribe so many negative connotations to a single idea – anorexic, anorecticbony, cadaverous, emaciated, gaunt, haggard, pinched, skeletal, wasteddeep-eyed, hollow-eyed, sunken-eyedgangling, gangly, unprofitable……etc. etc.
Isn’t it time for a new word to describe what is, essentially, keeping an organisation healthy?  All better ideas for words and terms gratefully received!
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