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Hillwalking / Hiking / Mountaineering Slang Dictionary

Introduction / Disclaimer

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Of Slang, Jargon, and Techspeak

Language experts usually refer to informal language as `slang' and reserve the term `jargon' for the technical vocabularies of various activities. However, there is also technical slang that is often confused with `the jargon'. When talking about slang, there is no convenient way to distinguish it from what a 'linguist' would call technical jargon --- the formal vocabulary learned from articles, textbooks, papers, manuals or even the internet.

To make a confused situation worse, the line between slang and the vocabulary of technical slang is fuzzy, and shifts over time. Further, this vocabulary can be shared with a wider expert culture, many of whom are not enthusiasts, and do not speak or recognise technical slang.

Accordingly, this dictionary will not even try to be precise as to the facts of usage of these three categories:

The jargon/techspeak distinction is the delicate one. A lot of techspeak originated as jargon, and there is a steady continuing uptake of jargon into techspeak. On the other hand, a lot of jargon arises from over-generalisation of techspeak terms

In general, techspeak refers to any term that communicates primarily by a denotation well established in textbooks, technical dictionaries, or standards documents. Some other techspeak senses of jargon words are included in order to make the jargon senses clear; where the text does not specify that a straight technical sense is intended.

I’ve included (where known) the possible origins of terms. This is probably the least reliable information in the dictionary, for several reasons. As a result specialist, lexicographers will find most of the notes more than seriously misleading.


The words and phrases in this collection have been gathered from sources too many to mention or remember. If however you feel that the collection is either inaccurate (highly likely) or incomplete (certainly), then I welcome your contributions which will be acknowledged to:


Thank you for your interest!

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