I don’t quite understand the "Ad Land" cartoon by David T. Jones. Could you explain the meaning to me?

I will attach the screenshot of this cartoon, but you can also find it here: https://news.yahoo.com/blogs/advertising/ad-land-cartoon-most-important-word-advertising-191018989.html.

From what I can see, this cartoon mocks the people for using words with “ish” too often. But why is “ish” called the most important word in advertising? Is it really that common in this industry?

Ad Land cartoon by David T. Jones

  • 2
    "Word" is not the proper term; "ish" is merely a suffix (except at the end, where it is an adverb (Umm…ish?).
    – LPH
    Jun 3 at 12:29
  • 4
    You can't say "explain me" in English. That verb simply does not permit an indirect object like that. That means you are not a native speaker nor yet a fully fluent one, someone who would likely do better at our sister site for English Language Learners.
    – tchrist
    Jun 3 at 12:38
  • 1
    @LPH - Not anymore. If I ask my 26yo if he's going to arrive for dinner at 6:00, he's capable of responding, "ish." Jun 4 at 4:48
  • It's often used weaselly, so your back is covered when the $1·3m cost you mentioned escalates to $5 million. Jun 4 at 13:35
  • Personally I can't make sense of the last frame without more context, so I think "ish" still must be a suffix. For example if someone had suggested "one month", then responding with "ish" would make sense as a suffix attached to that thing that was just said.
    – Brandin
    Jun 9 at 10:34

1 Answer 1


This is basically "Exaggeration, Pandering to a Certain Audience" or "Inside Joke".

Here, the "AD LAND" Cartoon is geared towards Advertisement Industry. Like all Industries, here too there are Stereotypes and Jargon. The Cartoonist is making a joke that too many agents use "ish" too many times, making it look like "ish" is the Most Important Word in Advertising.

Outsiders may or may not find it funny. It is uncertain whether Insiders find it funny. Some may read it and go "Sheesh". Or not-ish.

Answering your two Questions: Here, "ish" is neither the Most Important Word, nor even a Proper Word. It is not too common-ish, except among certain users of that suffix.

  • I'm not in advertising and I found it funny ... ish.
    – Brandin
    Jun 9 at 10:17
  • @Brandin , that removes some (but not all) uncertainty, that this is Funny-ish !!
    – Prem
    Jun 9 at 10:50

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