Pub. date: 2005 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952514 | Print ISBN: 9780761927310 | Online ISBN: 9781412952514| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Argot is a 19th-century French word originally derived to classify meaning or jargon among criminals. Beggar and thieve guilds used this type of language to communicate within their particular subgroups. More generally, argot is a vocabulary and group of idioms, with semantic meanings used by a specialized group of people, within a social system. These are organized, professional groups, particularly members of the criminal subculture who operate outside the boundaries of the law. This language is not considered part of the standard cultural vocabulary. It is determined by social factors and used with the specific intention to render communications unintelligible to those outside the group. Prison argot is a complex and ever changing vocabulary that is used by inmates or former inmates to communicate both inside and outside the prison walls. Examples of this language can be demonstrated in terms such as crushing or crushing out , which were coined ...