We all come across jargon examples in everyday life. However we rarely pay attention to how much of our speech is peppered with phrases that wouldn’t have made sense a few decades back. The very funny English language will never cease to amaze one with how much it evolves, and how phrases that were limited to a particular profession or even a demographic can become examples of jargon over time.
“Jargon is the verbal sleight of hand that makes the old hat seem newly fashionable; it gives an air of novelty and specious profundity to ideas that, if stated directly, would seem superficial, stale, frivolous, or false.”
– David Lehman
Jargon is a term used to describe words that are specific to a particular subject; which are incomprehensible to persons unacquainted with the topic or subject. Jargon is generally related to a specific profession, which is why it sounds like gobbledygook to people outside that occupation. In many cases, jargon comprises word abbreviations.
Most times, it’s often confused with the use of slang, or colloquialisms in everyday language. The following are some examples of jargon and the different ways it’s used.
Jargon and Slang
The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines slang, as “an informal nonstandard vocabulary composed typically of coinages, arbitrarily changed words, and extravagant, forced, or facetious figures of speech.” Essentially, slang is synonymous with phrases that are used in such a way that their significance is different from what they literally mean. Slang may also be peculiar to a region or a community, and therefore unintelligible outside it.
For example, the slang ‘Down Under’, as the country of Australia is commonly known, is practically unintelligible to people from other parts of the world.
Jargon, however, can be categorized broadly as per profession or subject, since in its technical avatar, it would fall into a specific classification.
Slang and jargon are often used loosely in the same sense, though there is a thin line of difference.
The following are some examples to differentiate between jargon and slang:
- Did you hook up with him? (Slang)
- Get me his vitals. (Medical jargon)
- She’s an ace guitarist. (Slang)
- I really HTH. (Computer jargon)
Examples of Jargon
These are some examples of commonly used medical abbreviations and terminology.
➠STAT – Immediately
➠ABG – Arterial Blood Gas
➠Vitals – Vital signs
➠C-Section – Cesarean Section
➠Claudication – Limping caused by a reduction in blood supply to the legs
➠CAT/CT Scan – Computerized Axial Tomography
➠MRI – Magnetic Resonance Imaging
➠BP – Blood Pressure
➠FX – Bone Fracture
Most of these examples are abbreviations, which can be likened to a shorthand code for the computer literate and the Internet savvy.
➠FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions
➠CYA – See you around
➠RAM – Random Access Memory
➠GB – Gigabyte
➠ROM – Read-only Memory
➠Backup – Duplicate a file
➠BFF – Best Friends Forever
➠HTH – Hope This Helps
The following are some military jargon examples.
➠AWOL – Away without official leave
➠BOHICA – Bend over, here it comes again
➠SOP – Standard Operating Procedure
➠AAA – Anti-aircraft Artillery
➠UAV – Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
➠11 Bravo – Infantry
➠WHOA – War Heroes of America
➠Fatigues – Camouflage uniforms
➠TD – Temporary Duty
➠SAM – Surface-to-Air missile
Law Enforcement Jargon
The following are some examples.
➠APB – All Points Bulletin
➠B&E – Breaking and Entering
➠DUI – Driving Under the Influence
➠CSI – Crime Scene Investigation
➠Clean Skin – A person without a police record
➠Miranda – Warning given during an arrest, advising about constitutional rights to remain silent and the right to legal aid.
➠Perp – Perpetrator
➠Social – Social Security Number
The corporate world isn’t far behind when it comes to developing words and phrases that mean little to others. Business jargon includes a lot of words and abbreviations, which change even from department to department. Here are a few.
➠Ear to Ear – Let’s discuss in detail over the phone
➠In Loop – Keep me updated continuously
➠Helicopter view – Overview
➠Boil the ocean – Try for the impossible
Other Common Examples of Jargon
➠UFO – Unidentified Flying Object
➠Poker face – A blank expression
➠Back burner – Something low in priority, putting something off till a later date
➠On Cloud nine – Very happy
➠Sweet tooth – A great love of all things sweet
➠Ballpark figure – A numerical estimated value
➠Gumshoe/Private Eye – Detective
➠Shrink – Psychiatrist
➠Slammer – Jail
Jargon examples in literature are spotted especially in the works of authors (Shakespeare, Dickens) that echo speech, characteristic of that period. Speech patterns in past times are markedly different from patterns that are prevalent, as will be the case in a few decades from now. Language evolves, just like everything else. Business jargon examples similarly, also demonstrate the evolution of language. This is the category that gave rise to words like ‘actionable’ (anything on which action can be taken) and ‘deintegrate’ (to disassemble) which until a few years ago, didn’t even exist.
Using slang and jargon has become such an everyday part of life that we rarely pay attention to how much of our speech is peppered with phrases that wouldn’t have made sense a few decades back. The very funny English language will never cease to amaze one with how much it evolves, and how phrases that were limited to a particular profession or even a demographic can become examples of jargon over time. Change is the only constant as the saying goes!