Please suggest the word which means "understandable by specific group". I just forgot that.

  • 1
    Are you looking for "classifiable?" maybe a little more context would help explain which word you seek.
    – snumpy
    Mar 26, 2011 at 15:53
  • 2
    More context is needed to give a meaningful answer.
    – tenfour
    Mar 26, 2011 at 16:04

4 Answers 4


There are lots of words covering the general concept, but they're usually used by people who are not members of the "specific group", so they tend to be pejorative.

Esoteric strikes me as somewhat less value-laden than most.

  • Esoteric is the word i was looking for :) Mar 26, 2011 at 17:11
  • There's also arcane, which wouldn't really be pejorative. If someone suggested I had arcane understanding, I would not be offended.
    – kojiro
    Mar 26, 2011 at 21:34
  • 3
    "Esoteric" implies that it is only understandable by a specific group. It may be the answer sought but I don't feel it matches the question that well. To me, "Domain-specific" may be more fitting but Rakesh is happy.
    – dave
    Mar 26, 2011 at 21:42
  • Depending on context, colloquial could be appropriate.
    – JustinC
    Mar 26, 2011 at 22:15
  • arcane certainly bucks the trend by normally having positive associations for non-group-members - but it's a bit archaic / quaint, and is often used jocularly nowadays. Mar 27, 2011 at 1:50

While not a direct answer to your question, the term jargon refers to language (words and phrases) that are common in one specific group but not used that way outside the group.

For example, in medical jargon, a heart attack is called a myocardial infarction.

  • I think this may be exactly what the asker wants, he just didn't phrase it particularly clearly.
    – Marthaª
    Mar 26, 2011 at 16:51
  • @Martha, no it is not jargon Mar 26, 2011 at 17:10

An "in-joke" is a term used describe an event that is humourous only to a small group of insiders to whom the full history leading up to the event is known, thereby allowing them to find humour in the situation that would otherwise to an outsider not appear to be humourous.


You may be looking for the word shibboleth. From Wikipedia:

A shibboleth ( /ˈʃɪbəlɛθ/ or /ˈʃɪbələθ/) is any distinguishing practice that is indicative of one's social or regional origin.

It is also used to mean words used by a members of a group to distinguish themselves as members of that group. When used this way, it is being used metaphorically.

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