Inclusive Future

An Inclusive Future Requires Inclusive Language

Doing Our Part

Updated July 2020

Language Matters

“This seemingly entrenched technical terminology is relatively recent and can be replaced with alternative metaphors that are more accurate, clearer, less distracting, and that do not offend their readers. Language matters and metaphors matter.”

- Ron Eglash, 2007

“…it is important for Authors to consider the kinds of terms or language conventions that may inadvertently get in the way of effective communication. Complex and subtle configurations of sexist, racist, or ethnocentric language use in technical documents can derail or interfere with readers’ ability and desire to comprehend and follow important information.”

- Heather Brodie Graves, 1993


Cisco’s purpose is to power an inclusive future for all. With our purpose at the heart of everything we do, you can count on Cisco to be bold, brave and deliberate about our role  and the actions we will take in support of social justice.

We are proud to join the technology community in evolving the language we use. Rethinking the words we use is just one of the ways to reduce barriers to equity and respect.

As a matter of policy, Cisco content should be free of offensive or suggestive language, graphics, and scenarios. We are changing terms, as noted below, to more  appropriate alternatives.


Recommended Replacements






control/data (for clustering)


permit (list)/block (list)


allow (list)/block (list)

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We aim to change how we communicate internally and externally, including our products, online, and other materials. This is an ongoing process, with teams working to resolve any instances of these terms, identifying new phrases that need to be changed, and sharing our learnings with the community as a whole*.

Learn more about how Cisco is powering an Inclusive Future.

Cisco is changing language except in places where we are unable, or terminology changes could break network automation and present an operational challenge to our customers. While we update our portfolio of products and content, users may see differences between some content and a product’s user interface or command syntax. Please use your product’s current terminology as found in its documentation.