Practical tip: Jargon - Terms - Expressions

new jargon joke


Scientific writing, whether it is for a journal article or in lecture notes, involves a precision in the use of words not common in other writing situations.

The writing is not usually for general consumption, so scientific writers often use “jargon”, technical terminology, to communicate more precisely and efficiently to their more specialised readership / audience. These readers / listeners expect clear, precise language.

When introducing specialised vocabulary, be precise; define your terms.

  • Technically a term can be a word or group of words that designate a specific notion or concept in a particular field.
  • Terms have exact meanings.

When many terms are being introduced, I often use “expression” to denote terms containing several words to avoid being overly repetitive. Especially in technical and scientific writing, expression has a more rigorous and precise mathematical connotation.