Jargon is the specialized terminology associated with a particular area of activity. Jargon is normally employed in a particular communicative context and may not be well understood outside that context. The context is usually a particular occupation (that is, a certain trade, profession, vernacular, or academic field), but any ingroup can have jargon. The main trait that distinguishes jargon from the rest of a language is special vocabulary—including some words specific to it, and often different senses or meanings of words, that outgroups would tend to take in another sense—therefore misunderstanding that communication attempt. Jargon is sometimes understood as a form of technical slang and then distinguished from the official terminology used in a particular field of activity.
The terms jargon, slang, and argot are not consistently differentiated in the literature; different authors interpret these concepts in varying ways. According to one definition, jargon differs from slang in being secretive in nature; according to another understanding, it is specifically associated with professional and technical circles. Some sources, however, treat these terms as synonymous. In Russian linguistics, jargon is classified as an expressive form of language, while secret languages are referred to as argots.
Jargon is "the technical terminology or characteristic idiom of a special activity or group". Most jargon is technical terminology (technical terms), involving terms of art or industry terms, with particular meaning within a specific industry. A main driving force in the creation of technical jargon is precision and efficiency of communication, when a discussion must easily range from general themes to specific, finely differentiated details without circumlocution. Jargon enrichess everyday vocabulary with meaningful content and can potentially become a catchword.
While jargon allows greater efficiency in communication among those familiar with it, a side-effect is that it raises the threshold of comprehensibility for outsiders. This is usually accepted as an unavoidable trade-off, but it may also be used as a means of social exclusion (reinforcing ingroup-outgroup barriers) or social aspiration (when introduced as a way of showing off). Some academics promote the use of jargon-free language, as an audience may be alienated or confused by the technical terminology, and thus lose track of a speaker or writer's broader and more important arguments.