J is for jargon

Sin#9: Another word for…

Who doesn’t like a bit of argot*? Maybe it will spice up your novel, lend it a sense of credibility. Or maybe it will acerbate* readers and make you look magniloquent* and vainglorious*.

Jargon can soon turn into gobbledygook* and potentially confuse the reader, so it is always best to use it sparingly. You should never use jargon just to show off…

It’s not capacious* and it’s not sagacious*.

Ok, I’ll stop now! I think you get my point, if you have to constantly refer to a dictionary in order to understand a book then it’s going to drag you from the comfort of the story and back into the real world. The same goes for just ignoring the words and continuing to read on, you may not need to understand every single world but after a while you’re going to start feeling pretty stupid!

A crime novel doesn’t have to be full of police jargon and a techno thriller doesn’t have to keep referring to scientific and technical information as if it was part of a speech at CERN.

It is possible to write about something which people don’t encounter everyday without bamboozling them into shutting your book and reaching for ‘Spot Goes to the Circus’ just to make them feel better about their English reading skills!

Argot – special language used by a particular group of people
Acerbate – annoy or irritate somebody
Magniloquent – employing impressive words and an exaggeratedly solemn and dignified style
Vainglorious – excessively proud or boastful
Gobbledygook – language that is difficult or impossible to understand, especially nonsense or technical jargon
Capacious – big
Sagacious – clever


Sorry for the short post today, people but I’m suffering from some variation of man-flu!!


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    • Áine Tierney on April 12, 2011 at 12:26
    • Reply

    Ah, get well soon. Enjoyed the post.

    • Sue H on April 12, 2011 at 13:23
    • Reply

    Poor you, with your 'man flu' – must be tough being a bloke!
    Still – we women soldier on doing the housework, raising the kids ….meanwhile keeping the world turning with our other hand….. ;-p
    Seriously – hope ya feel better soon! (and while you're laying on your sickbed you'll have plenty of tome to concoct your post for 'L' !)

    • Steven Chapman on April 12, 2011 at 13:28
    • Reply

    Thanks, Áine 🙂

    Can I not do 'K' first, Sue?

    • Sue H on April 12, 2011 at 14:53
    • Reply

    Why, Steven – I was assuming you already had 'K' under your belt! ;-p
    (I tell a lie – this darn iPhone keyboard has the keys too small – I realised the mistake as I sent it!)


    • Ju Dimello on April 12, 2011 at 16:41
    • Reply

    Hope you get well soon ! Thanks for the great post..and all those new words !!!

    Following you from A-Z challenge!

    • Ellie on April 12, 2011 at 18:55
    • Reply

    Man-flu? Hope you get better soon!

    Ellie Garratt

    • ttofee on April 12, 2011 at 22:10
    • Reply

    Get well soon – man flu can be a terrible affliction 🙂
    Jargon – my pet hate – both in my day job and in writing if its overdone!

    • Sarah Allen on April 12, 2011 at 23:04
    • Reply

    Fun new words 🙂 Always glad to add to my vocabulary…er, jargon.

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

    • nutschell on April 13, 2011 at 06:07
    • Reply

    must be all that jargon you've been hearing. hope you get better soon and great meeting you through the a-z!

    • Steven Chapman on April 15, 2011 at 10:54
    • Reply

    On the mend from man-flu, thanks! Now I just need to get some writing done…and comment on all your blogs. I'm making a list as we speak. Cheers guys.

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