Slang and Jargon: Can You Use Them in Business Writing?

Beth Gramling Sanders
4 min readApr 15, 2021

What is Slang?

… I have christened slang — and I am sure, quite consciously, that this is to do with that world of the ’60s, which was known as the ‘counter-culture’ — for me, I call it ‘the counter-language’.
— Jonathon Green, slang specialist and lexicographer

Oxford Languages, the world’s leading dictionary publisher and provider of Google’s English dictionary, defines slang as:

… a type of language that consists of words and phrases that are regarded as very informal, are more common in speech than writing, and are typically restricted to a particular context or group of people.
“grass is slang for marijuana”

Just about every hobby, interest, field of work or study, and profession has its own slang and jargon.

Slang vs. Jargon

Slang and jargon are two different types of language. Jargon is specialized terminology that is used by professional or avocational groups, and only understood by those in these groups.

To illustrate, here’s a bit of baseball jargon that any serious fan would know, but a casual fan might not:

Uncle Charlie was really working for him today.