Definition of argot
- He has been bombarded by thousands of scathing messages—known as being "flamed" in the argot of cyberspace.
- —Peter H. Lewis
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
groups communicating in their own secret argots
used the argot of figure skaters
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'argot.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
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.'"
First Known Use: 1842See Words from the same year
What made you want to look up argot? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).