Though this subject is somewhat discussed at Difference between “jargon” and “technical terms”, what are the differences?

From Merriam-Webster online:

Jargon: The technical terminology or characteristic idiom of a special activity or group.

Terminology: The special words or phrases that are used in a particular field.

Lexicon: The words used in a language or by a person or group of people. (Also: The vocabulary of a language, an individual speaker or group of speakers, or a subject.)

Can you please give examples where it is appropriate to use only one but not others.

3 Answers 3


A lexicon is just a catalog or dictionary of terms. Terminology is the set of specialized terms in my field of study. These items are clearly understood by others in my field of study.

Jargon is a set of terms used by people in other fields of study. These terms are confusing, ambiguous and frustrating.

  • 3
    I disagree that a jargon must be ambiguous. It is just that the precise meaning in that field does not match the dictionary definition outside the field. When a particle physicist uses "strangeness" or "charm" it has a precise meaning to them and others in the field.
    – Oldcat
    Commented Apr 22, 2014 at 20:33
  • 1
    Me too. And I disagree that jargon is something that only others use. In my groups we have our own jargons. Similarly, a physicist's terminology is no less such, just because I am not familiar with it.
    – Drew
    Commented Apr 22, 2014 at 21:10

Although not stated in the dictionary quotations above, I would say that jargon has a derogatory association, whilst terminology is neutral. hence:

My partner might say to me "stop speaking jargon", not "stop speaking terminology". Whilst I might ask an expert on a subject "what is the correct terminology for..." and not "what is the correct jargon for..."

  • Jargon can be local or informal additions to technical terminology; terms used in a certain field in one location, but not necessarily used in the same field in another location. Technical terminology for mechanics can be generally understood from place to place; but local jargon from a shop in New York might not be understood in Seattle.
    – Davo
    Commented Mar 19, 2017 at 23:22

Jargon may be used for the special language developed by sailors, soldiers, pilots, students or any other special group. It 's a language that normal speakers don't understand. Mostly the term is negative, a neutral term would be "special group language.

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