Fun with Jargon

Every profession has its share of jargon.  These are words that are used by people in the field that outsiders probably won’t understand.  They are words from many sources: product names, acronyms, even words that are being used in a totally different context.  It isn’t even just professions that have jargon; hobbies have them, too!  If you don’t knit, you probably won’t understand if I tell you I “frogged” a project.

Today it’s time for Fun with Jargon.  I want to hear your favorite jargon.  If you’re a nice person, you’ll define it for us, but at least tell us the context so we can find it ourselves.  Below are some of my favorite jargon terms:

Tinking – slowly taking stitches out by un-knitting them.  (TINK is KNIT backwards…)

Clicker – I am obsessed by TV, but this isn’t your remote.  It’s a little plastic and metal contraption that makes a clicking sound, and it is used as a bridge in animal training.  And that leads to…

Bridge – this is something (typically a sound) used to tell an animal that it did something right and a reward is coming.  Learning the exact moment to bridge an animal is one of the trickiest bits of training for many people.

GISS – a naughty-sounding bit of birding jargon, this means “General Impression of Size and Shape” and it refers to the first impression you get from a bird before you identify it.

Fallout – another fun birding term.  This one refers to the rare moments when huge flocks of migrating songbirds will literally “fall out” of the sky.  It usually happens along the coast, after birds have been flying into a headwind crossing the Gulf of Mexico.  (One of the common places to hear this word is at High Island, Texas.)

And, of course, a writing one:  Slushpile – the collection of unsolicited query letters and manuscripts received by a publisher.

Now it’s your turn!!


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. deshipley
    Oct 15, 2011 @ 20:01:08

    Probably the jargon I’m most familiar with is music-related (and, therefore, largely Italian or alphanumeric).

    crescendo = a gradual increase, especially in the volume or intensity of sound in a passage

    ritardando = gradually slowing in tempo

    pianissimo, piano, mezzo-piano, mezzo-forte, forte, fortissimo = an example of a crescendo, actually — very soft, soft, medium-soft, medium-loud, loud, very loud!

    G 6/3 = a G-major triad in which the second note is played as the bass

    Goodness, I’m taking myself right back to college music theory. Somebody stop me before I start talking about mixolydian scales!
    It’s startling, now that I think about it, how very many of these little terms that I take for granted will sound Greek to people whose studies never forayed in the musical realm — much like how I never would have guessed what “tinking” had to do with knitting. X)


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