Venugopal concludes that the term neoliberalism “bundles together a proliferation of eclectic and contradictory concepts (…) [which] serves as a rhetorical tool and moral device for critical social scientists outside of economics to conceive of academic economics and a range of economic phenomena that are otherwise beyond their cognitive horizons.”
So, it's like "heat" for critical social scientists: the term heat encapsulates all those complicated thermodynamic processes beyond human analysis. If we were smarter we might break it down into hundreds of other phenomena; and then perhaps a term similar to heat will be used to describe the part least understood. Even though we can't understand it in full, we can at least understand it statistically.
(I'm not being especially original here. I lifted this description of "heat" from a recent interview with Yann Lecun by Lex Fridman.)
One example of the contradictory meaning attached to "neoliberals" is that they favor large corporations and also almost totally free markets. But...
Note first the obvious contradiction between these two accounts. If neoliberalism favors deregulation and free markets, large corporations should oppose it. As put by Venugopal, “neoliberalism as an agenda of the capitalist class rule rests on a crucial assumption that capitalists favor markets and that markets benefit capitalists (…) but this is not always the case.”
In effect, incumbent firms on the market don’t like competition. The creative destruction process typical of market economies forces businesses to be constantly alert not to lose their market position, something that happens very often (ask Yahoo, Kodak, or Nokia about it). Therefore, either neoliberalism follows the ideas of Hayek and Friedman, or it’s an agenda of economic elites. Both positions are incompatible.