Is there a word for a shared idiolect or a dialect understood by only two people?

  • "Code", "secret language"? That's what we called it when I was a kid.
    – oerkelens
    Feb 26, 2014 at 19:40

2 Answers 2


"cryptolect" or "cant" would fit.

cryptolect (linguistics) A secretive language form used by a subculture; an arcane cant.

A cant (or cryptolect) is the jargon or argot of a group, often implying its use to exclude or mislead people outside the group.

And there is "argot" also:

An argot is a secret language used by various groups — e.g. schoolmates, outlaws, colleagues, among many others — to prevent outsiders from understanding their conversations.

  • Very interesting! Thank you. This probably means there is no specific word for an 'argot/cryptolect/cant' used by exactly two people without any intention toward secrecy? Feb 27, 2014 at 2:50
  • @Kinnard Hockenhull: We can consider two people a group also. And it is mentioned that an argot can be between schoolmates. So they can always be applied to two people.
    – ermanen
    Feb 27, 2014 at 14:50

The phrase secret language is commonly used.

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