Today's Word "Jargon"

A specialty dialect on

Published in Vocabulary

jargon \JAH(r)-gn\ (noun) - The twittering and chattering of birds; 2 : a specialty dialect, such as medical jargon and legal jargon; 3 : unintelligible gibberish.

"Mr. Taber, as I said, your brief was very clear, but I'd like you to explain to me, without all of the legal jargon or computer jargon, or any other kind of jargon..." -- Matthew Jarpe, 'Radio Freefall'


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 of 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").


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