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Learning Objectives

In this lesson, you will focus on the following objective: Understanding jargon.


Vocabulary Terms 

Jargon is the specialized or technical language of a trade, a profession such as law or medicine, art, and sports.

Literature Connection 

You may not be familiar with the word artisanal in the quotation below.
“On the job, he found he had much to learn about the way his new country operated, which often differed from the careful, artisanal manners of Holland.”

 —Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan, from “First Impressions” from De Kooning, An American Master

You may, however, have read or heard the word artisan, meaning “a skilled worker,” and know many words with the suffix –al, which means “like” or “characterized by.” The context, or setting in which the word appears, also gives you a clue that artisanal means “skillfully crafted.”

Words like artisanal, which are related to a specific field or occupation, are called jargon. This specialized language also includes specific meanings for common words.

For example, in “First Impressions,” a painter is described as naïve, which generally means “lacking experience and understanding.” As jargon, though, it refers to a painting style characterized by a lack of formal training. A brush in this selection probably is a paintbrush, not a hairbrush.

The chart below shows some examples of jargon.

Jargon Specific field or occupation Meaning when used as jargon
anomaly medicine defect
bug computers and technology error, especially in a program
czar politics person who is in charge of a policy or an agenda


Q: What is jargon?
A: Jargon is specialized language used by a particular group or profession. It includes words and phrases that have specific meanings within that field.

Q: How does jargon develop?
A: Jargon develops as a shorthand way for experts in a field to communicate with precision. Over time, terms become commonly understood within that industry or occupation.

Q: When is using jargon appropriate vs. inappropriate?
A: Using jargon is appropriate when communicating with others who understand those terms, but inappropriate with general audiences who may not understand the meanings.

Q: What are some examples of jargon?
A: Examples include medical, legal, financial, and technology jargon like "hematoma," "plea bargain," "capital gains," and "bandwidth." Academic fields have jargon too.

Q: How can jargon cause issues?
A: Overuse of jargon can exclude readers/listeners from understanding. However, it efficiently conveys complex meanings between experts. Finding a balance is ideal.


  1. Chung, Teresa Mihwa. "The performance of professional group identities through specialized jargons." Language in Society 48.5 (2019): 725-764.
  2. Bazzanella, Carla. "Jargon, lingo, slang and argot: Informal specialized vocabularies." HSK 34.1 (2017): 499-524.
  3. Sartor, Giovanni, and Doug Walton. "Argumentation in legal reasoning." The handbook of argumentation theory (2014): 637-682.
Mr. ‏El-Sayed Ramadan ‎ ‎


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