The semantics of the possible government shutdown are getting complicated.

The old terms used to distinguish which employees would still come to work if the government runs out of funding — “essential” workers work, “non-essential” ones don’t — is apparently being phased out in favor of less judgmental terms.

As our colleague Eric Yoder notes, the preferred nomenclature is “excepted” and “non-excepted.” Those more neutral terms comes from official Office of Management and Budget Policy. Seems feds found it a slap in the face to be labeled non-essential. Don’t we all feel essential?

But being nicer comes with some confusion. “Excepted” employees work through a shutdown (since they are excepted from furloughs); “non-excepteds” stay home. But “excepted” sounds a lot like “accepted” and telling workers they’re not accepted feels a bit insulting, too.

Anyway, it would appear there’s an opening for a new term, should someone like to coin one. It will probably come in handy.