I'm thinking of things like general relativity or the Dow Jones Industrial Average. You have a general idea about what context the name belongs to but probably don't understand it well enough to explain what it is to someone else. Is there a word or phrase to express that?

  • 1
    Obscure jargon?
    – NVZ
    Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 6:52
  • This could include just about anything in the modern-day environment. Apart from an engineer, who can explain how a cell phone or computer or even a TV works? Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 16:24
  • I think jargon is a good one @NVZ! Although I can't explain how it works I can tell you what a cell phone or a TV is or what it does. Does that make sense @Cascabel?
    – nickflynn
    Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 16:40
  • I guess it depends on what your idea of "understanding well enough to explain" is. I would not call your examples "jargon". Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 17:32
  • Thank you for your response. I have edited the question to be more clear.
    – nickflynn
    Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 17:36

3 Answers 3


Jargon -- ODO

noun 1. Special words or expressions used by a profession or group that are difficult for others to understand.

Example: legal jargon, medical jargon

  • I'd upvote this, but I don't know if you're going for the Tenacious badge. :)
    – Davo
    Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 19:35

You should consider rocket science.


rocket science



[mass noun, usually with negative]
Something very difficult to understand.

‘we want you to get out and vote—it's not exactly rocket science’




known or knowable only to a few people

I consider this a better answer than jargon, which is terminology peculiar to a field. General relativity does have jargon such as gravitational lensing but it is the concepts that are difficult rather than the words that express them.

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