About Contact Register Store
The last word in words Let our linguistic PhD's help you find a name.
Let our world-wide network of translators translate for you
AdJuggler Join the discussion in our online forums!

We are testing new software for sending out the yourDictionary.com Word of the Day. If the message doesn't display correctly, please contact us through our Contact Page, and make sure to mention which email program, operating system and version you are using, and some details about the problem. We are still in the process of fixing some issues. Thank you for your help.

spacer spacer spacer
 Word of the Day

Today's Word:
Jargon (Noun)

Pronunciation: ['jah(r)-gn] Listen

Definition: (1) The twittering and chattering of birds; (2) a specialty dialect, such as medical jargon and legal jargon; (3) unintelligible gibberish.

Usage: Today's word is often replaced by the suffix –ese: Newspaper jargon becomes "journalese" while legal jargon becomes "legalese." The connection that English-speakers see between jargons like these and languages like Chinese and Japanese—the origin of the suffix—should be clear.

Suggested Usage: Henry W. Longfellow wrote in The Return of Spring (1830) "With beast and bird the forest rings, Each in his jargon cries or sings." Since Longfellow, however, this word has seldom been used in this sense (1). No odium, however, attaches to the use of this word in referring to the "sociolect" of a professional (2), "I came in with an ingrown toenail but when I heard the doctors discussing it in medical jargon, I almost had a heart attack." You can see from this example where the pejorative sense (3) originated.

Etymology: We borrowed today's word immediately from Old French jargon (also spelled "gargon" and "gergon") "the warbling of birds, prattle, chatter," akin to Italian "gergo," and Spanish "gorjeo." The [g] would be pronounced [j] before [e] but not [a]. The alternation of the [j] with [g] in French, however, suggests it might be akin to gargouiller "to gurgle or gargle," which comes from an ancestor o f gorge "throat." The root of this word shows up everywhere: German "gurgeln," Swedish "gurgla," Dutch "gorgelen," Italian "gorgogliare," all meaning pretty much the same thing (note also Russian gorlo "throat"). (Pamela McInnes of St. Paul, Minnesota, thought some clarification of a word that stands for a lack of clarity would be of interest to us all.)

   –Dr. Language, yourDictionary

Never Stop Learning!

Einstein Discover KnowledgeNews, the web's new home for people who never stop learning. Sign up as a FREE introductory member now, and KnowledgeNews will bring the fascinating world of history, science, and culture right to your inbox every week.

Become a free introductory member today! Click here.

"He who adds not to his learning diminishes it."
--The Talmud

Spread the Word
Like what you see? Why not share us with a friend? We've made it easy for you, just click here.

YDC Word of the Day
To have the Word of the Day sent to you every day, to unsubscribe, or change your subscription, please enter your email address below and click send.

See our Privacy Policy

The last word in words

Home | The Dictionaries: Language | Specialty | Multilingual | Translation | Brand Naming
'Nyms & such | Grammars | Language Identifiers | Research | Library | Gameroom | More
About YDC | Lookup Button | Store | Register | Endangered Languages | Search | Contact us
©1996-2004 yourDictionary.com Inc. All Rights Reserved.