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[ahr-goh, -guh t] /ˈɑr goʊ, -gət/
a specialized idiomatic vocabulary peculiar to a particular class or group of people, especially that of an underworld group, devised for private communication and identification:
a Restoration play rich in thieves' argot.
the special vocabulary and idiom of a particular profession or social group:
sociologists' argot.
Origin of argot
1855-60; < French, noun derivative of argoter to quarrel, derivative Latin ergō ergo with v. suffix -oter
Related forms
[ahr-got-ik] /ɑrˈgɒt ɪk/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for argot
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "That looks good to me," said Peter, delighted that the argot fell so aptly from his lips.

    The Vagrant Duke George Gibbs
  • "It is a kind of argot which belongs only to Americans," I answered in an undertone.

    Esmeralda Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • It is only argot anyway, and it doesn't mean sotte, but nave.

    Love in a Cloud

    Arlo Bates
  • This dialect is termed in English slang, in French argot, in Italian gergo.

    The Criminal Havelock Ellis
  • The which, in Parisian argot, at once means everything and nothing.

    Zut and Other Parisians Guy Wetmore Carryl
  • You are really not at all sure that the white face belonged to argot, are you?

    The House Opposite Elizabeth Kent
British Dictionary definitions for argot


slang or jargon peculiar to a particular group, esp (formerly) a group of thieves
Derived Forms
argotic (ɑːˈɡɒtɪk) adjective
Word Origin
C19: from French, of unknown origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for argot

1860, from French argot (17c.) "the jargon of Paris rogues and thieves," earlier "the company of beggars," from Middle French argot, "group of beggars," origin unknown. Gamillscheg suggests a connection to Old French argoter "to cut off the stubs left in pruning," with a connecting sense of "to get a grip on." The best English equivalent is perhaps cant. The German equivalent is Rotwelsch, literally "Red Welsh," but the first element may be connected with Middle High German rot "beggar." Earlier in English was pedlar's French (1520s) "language of thieves and vagabonds."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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