The town's selectmen decided to hire a consultant to sort through the bureaucratic argot of the community development grant application.
"What makes the play work, though, is that the rich insider's argot spoken by Mr. Leight's characters is used not to show how much he knows, but to set the scene for a stinging tale of youthful hope and bitter disappointment, one whose implications are universal." From a theater review by Terry Teachout in The Wall Street Journal, April 13, 2012
- DID YOU KNOW?
We borrowed "argot" from French in the mid-1800s, although our language already had several words covering its meaning. There was "jargon," which harks back to Anglo-French by way of Middle English (where it meant "twittering of birds"); it had been used for specialized (and often obscure or pretentious) vocabulary since the 1600s. There was also "lingo," which had been around for almost a hundred years, and which is connected to the Latin word lingua" ("language"). English novelist and lawyer Henry Fielding used it of "court gibberish" -- what we tend to call "legalese." In fact, the suffixal ending "-ese" is a newer means of indicating arcane vocabulary. One of its very first applications at the turn of the 20th century was for "American 'golfese.'"
Test Your Memory: What is the meaning of "cachinnate," our Word of the Day from May 2? The answer is ...
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Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP