Difference Between Jargon and Slang

When learning a new language, you’ll often encounter words and phrases that are not used in everyday conversation. These specialized words can be grouped into two categories: jargon and slang. Both jargon and slang have specific uses. Understanding the difference between jargon and slang can help you communicate more effectively.

What is Jargon?

Jargon is a set of words or phrases used by a specific group of people in a particular field. These could be professionals like doctors, lawyers, or engineers. Jargon is like a shortcut for these people to communicate complex ideas more quickly. However, for those not in the field, jargon can be confusing.

Example of Jargon:

  • In medical terms, “cardiovascular” refers to the heart and blood vessels.

What is Slang?

Slang is informal language used by a group of people to express themselves in a more relaxed way. Unlike jargon, slang is not usually used to discuss complex ideas. It’s more about making the conversation casual and engaging. Slang can change quickly and may not be understood by people outside of a particular group or region.

Example of Slang:

  • “Cool” is a slang term that means something is very good or impressive.

Difference Between Jargon and Slang


  • Jargon is for a specialized audience, often professionals in a field.
  • Slang is for a general audience and is often used among friends or people of the same age group.


  • Jargon aims to make communication more precise in a professional setting.
  • Slang makes communication more relaxed and informal.
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  • Jargon is more stable and changes less over time.
  • Slang can change quickly, with new words coming in and old ones falling out of use.


  • Jargon often involves complex ideas and terms.
  • Slang is usually simpler and easier to understand.

Why Understanding the Difference Between Jargon and Slang Matters

Knowing when to use jargon or slang is important. Using jargon in a casual conversation can make you seem out of touch or pretentious. On the other hand, using slang in a professional setting may make you appear unprofessional.


Jargon and slang serve different purposes and are suited for different audiences. Jargon is specialized language for professionals, while slang is informal language for casual conversations. Understanding the difference between the two can help you choose the right words for the right situation.

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