(usage) Jargon, cant, patois, lingo, argot, and several other terms have been used disparagingly, and sometimes interchangeably, to refer to nonstandard and nonliterate dialects and the code languages of criminal and other subcultures. Human beings seem prone to the suspicion that the use of a language they do not understand is intended to conceal the meaning from them for some sinister purpose, and this tendency is only made worse because occasionally the suspicion proves true. Jargon is now a term for respectable language, although out of place when addressing laypersons. Specialists, when they speak to one another about a matter in their field, are not aware they are using jargon, so the charge of jargon means the inappropriate use of specialist language, perhaps with the intention of confusing, baffling, or impressing the nonspecialist reader. Because of association with its other senses cant may suggest expressions learned by rote and repeated many times perhaps without understanding. Patois may still be used to refer to rustic dialects, but with argot often refers to the language of criminal and other subcultures. Lingo, itself an informal word often used humorously, may refer to a pidgin or vernacular or to any language that the speaker believes is not generally understood, but often does not appear to be intended to be disparaging.
Then he pulled the speakwrite towards him and
rapped out a message in the hybrid jargon
of the Ministries: Nineteen eighty-four
—George Orwell ·
She could not
follow the ugly academic jargon, that
rattled itself off so glibly, To the Lighthouse
—Virginia Woolf ·
He hated the
jargon of the profession, which she had
picked up somewhere long before,
They were--are, perhaps,
still--part of the glib jargon of
Then, as his mind picked its way slowly through the
glib jargon of the law, Look
Homeward, Angel —Thomas Wolfe ·
It was hard to tell, with all this strange
legal jargon, words he had never heard
before; The Jungle —Upton Sinclair.
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