Difference Between Jargon and Slang

Jargon vs Slang

When you are writing, and not speaking, your intention is to write as clearly as possible and to avoid making use of words that are not universal in nature or at least not spoken or understood by everyone in society. It is indeed a tempting thought to include words that are used in spoken language but considered improper in written language. These are words that are considered proper in conversation but not fit for formal use. These are called slang words that are a part of every language and culture and seen included in the conversations of people but not found in formal writing. Then there is jargon that is also not to be used while writing as it is full of words that are incomprehensible to common people. Many people remain confused between slang and jargon. This article makes clear the meaning of slang and jargon and why one should avoid using them in formal writing.


What are the words you use when you want to curse someone? There you are quickly remembering a number of words suitable for the purpose. However, if you think deeply, you will find that none of the curse words is made use of in books and newspapers. These are slang words that are considered improper in written language though they may have become a part of our lives and culture. However, not all slang words are used for cursing others as there are many more that act as synonyms for other things and object but considered improper for use in written language and also are not included in dictionaries. It is believed that a desire to express one’s feelings or emotions in a new way rather than using age old words leads to the development of slang words. When a new word becomes common and people start making use of it in their conversations, it is referred to as a slang until it is ready to be included in the dictionary. Slangs are found in every language and, in fact, every trade or profession in a society.


Jargon is the language or the terminology that is specific to a particular trade or profession. If someone is a genetics scientist and trying to explain the process how a newborn acquires a genetic disease, he is likely to make use of jargon when he is writing for a journal as he is assured of his readers knowing all about the words he is using. However, the same writer would make use of words that are found in the dictionary and used and understood by common people when he writes the same article for common people. Jargon consists of technical words that are incomprehensible to common people. Jargon is sweet for the insiders but completely alien and foreign for people who are outsiders to a trade or a profession.

What is the difference between Jargon and Slang?

• Slang is words that are commonly used by people and accepted as a part of the culture but not considered fit enough or rather those are improper to be used in formal writing.

• Jargon is a terminology that is comprised of specialized words belonging to a particular trade or profession and hard to understand for an outsider.

• The words used by doctors such as oncology for the study of cancer are not understood by common people, but these words find their place in the dictionaries.

• SMS and Internet make heavy use of jargon and slangs, but they are not seen in formal books.

• Slang is found in street language, whereas jargon is found in the speech of the specialists such as a computer engineer, doctor, and so on.