AskDefine | Define argot

Dictionary Definition

argot n : a characteristic language of a particular group (as among thieves); "they don't speak our lingo" [syn: cant, jargon, slang, lingo, patois, vernacular]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A secret language or conventional slang peculiar to thieves, tramps, and vagabonds.
  2. The specialized vocabulary and terminology used between people with special skill in a field, such as between doctors, mathematicians or hackers.
    The conversation was in the argot of the trade, full of acronyms and abbreviations that made no sense to the uninitiate.


secret language of thieves, tramps, and vagabonds
specialized vocabulary and terminology of a field
  • Finnish: slangi, ammattislangi, ammattikieli



fr-noun m
  1. cant (secret language)
  2. slang

Derived terms

Extensive Definition

Argot (French and Spanish for "slang") is primarily slang used by various groups, including but not limited to thieves and other criminals, to prevent outsiders from understanding their conversations.
Victor Hugo was one of the first to research argot extensively He describes it in his novel, Les Misérables, as the language of the dark; at one point, he says, "What is argot; properly speaking? Argot is the language of misery."
Bruce Sterling defines argot as "the deliberately hermetic language of a small knowledge clique... a super-specialized geek cult language that has no traction in the real world." For example: "He philosophized and recited baseball statistics in a Brooklyn argot that was fast-fading."
argot in Breton: Luc’haj
argot in Bulgarian: Таен говор
argot in Czech: Argot
argot in Danish: Argot
argot in German: Argot
argot in Spanish: Argot
argot in French: Argot
argot in Italian: Argot
argot in Georgian: არგოტიზმი
argot in Hungarian: Tolvajnyelv
argot in Japanese: 業界用語
argot in Polish: Slang
argot in Portuguese: Argot
argot in Romanian: Argou
argot in Russian: Арго
argot in Slovak: Argot
argot in Slovenian: Argo (zvrst jezika)
argot in Swedish: Argot
argot in Ukrainian: Арґо

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Aesopian language, Babel, Greek, babble, cant, cipher, code, cryptogram, double Dutch, garble, gibberish, gift of tongues, glossolalia, gobbledygook, jargon, jumble, lingo, mumbo jumbo, noise, patois, patter, phraseology, scatology, scramble, secret language, slang, taboo language, vernacular, vocabulary, vulgar language
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