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In French, one occasionally describes a senior-level exec as having a "titre ronflant", which is to say someone whose title is clearly senior all while sarcastically denoting that it's basically super-sized and lavish.

Is there any equivalent US/UK expression, or is the more neutral sounding senior-level exec the only one that's commonly used?

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    This isn't clear. Do you mean the title is much more important sounding than the actual duties? Or that one keeps ones duties the same and a new title is given that is more grandiose? – Mitch Jul 4 '16 at 21:54
  • @Mitch: that the title is much more important sounding than the actual duties, e.g. "technicien de surface" for a cleaning staff, or "Director" or VP in some large corporate environments (e.g. Finance). – Denis de Bernardy Jul 5 '16 at 11:36
  • Denis, your explanation gives mostly examples, which are not necessarily defining so it is still difficult to know exactly. But I still think I know what you mean. In many organizations, they label even the lowliest entry-level sales person a 'VP of customer relations' or 'director of client engagement' to make them sound so much more important than what they really were. But maybe you're talking about someone who has been promoted many times to a high position but they actually don't do anything important? – Mitch Jul 6 '16 at 1:48
  • @Mitch: "the lowliest entry-level sales person a 'VP of customer relations' or 'director of client engagement' to make them sound so much more important than what they really were" - precisely. – Denis de Bernardy Jul 6 '16 at 9:00
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Colloquially, you just say someone's title is fancy, or that they have a fancy-sounding or impressive-sounding title. The latter formulation is a little sarcastic (saying impressive-sounding rather than impressive).

A related issue in US corporate settings is giving low-level staff fancy titles, like administrative services technician for secretaries. US labor law (until very recently) allowed you to avoid paying someone for overtime work if their duties were technical, administrative or professional.

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  • Fancy-sounding seems like what I was looking for in tone, yes. Thank you! And fun trivia around technical, administrative, or professional duties. – Denis de Bernardy Jul 4 '16 at 20:43
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I worked at a place where a half of 100,000 employees all over the world were carrying a business card titled vice president. That is usually called "(job) title inflation" and it is used to refer to a title that sounds very high, but not that high in reality.

Actual usage:

KIM JONG IL, the North Korean dictator, is not normally a trendsetter. But in one area he is clearly leading the pack: job-title inflation. Mr Kim has 1,200 official titles, including, roughly translated, guardian deity of the planet, ever-victorious general, lodestar of the 21st century, supreme commander at the forefront of the struggle against imperialism and the United States, eternal bosom of hot love and greatest man who ever lived.

[Economist.com]

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  • True, but you wouldn't snark at someone saying they've a "job title inflation" problem. Saying they've a fancy-sounding title seems more spot on. (Thanks for the reply, though!) – Denis de Bernardy Jul 4 '16 at 20:47
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    @DenisdeBernardy Contrast "fancy-sounding title" vs "(over)-inflated title". Well, it's your choice. – user140086 Jul 4 '16 at 20:59
  • @DenisdeBernardy Please don't get me wrong. It is entirely up to you to accept an answer. :-) – user140086 Jul 5 '16 at 4:00

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