Weird Words

Weird Words: Jargon

Most professions seem to have their own specialized language that the uninitiated have difficulty understanding. The word for this, because of course there is one, is jargon.

the technical terminology or characteristic idiom of a special activity or group”

Merriam Webster definition for Jargon

The hair stylist talks about “clarifying” shampoo. To me, “clarifying” is explaining, making ideas and words more readily understandable. We speak the same language on the surface, but a closer examination shows we are talking about entirely different things.

To the scientist the word “theory” is quite specific. “Theory” to a scientist implies something highly tested, so well-studied as to be nearly certain. A scientist’s theory is a grand thing, an explanation that has withstood much careful examination. The rest of the world, though, may theorize about anything. Even about things they have not tested and have no intention of testing. The same word, but vastly different meanings.

Occasionally people talk to me of cars, engines, and other mechanical items. There, it becomes clear to me that they, too, have a language all their own. My cookbook is full of jargon as well, though perhaps that is more reflective of my inexperience than the complexity of the topic. Regardless, it comes in handy to have a more experienced translator in the kitchen, lest I spend more time looking up techniques than cooking.

Most of us have a jargon that we use specific to a profession or a hobby. I find it never hurts to ask for a little clarification (though perhaps with the hair stylist, one ought to specify which kind!).

What words or phrases do you know that the rest of us don’t (but should)?

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