[ahr-goh, -guh t]


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 formsar·got·ic [ahr-got-ik] /ɑrˈgɒt ɪk/, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for argot

Contemporary Examples of argot

  • The inseparable Thingumy and Bob speak an argot of spoonerisms (“Nake no totice” and so on), and carry a secret ruby.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Tove Jansson, Queen of the Moomins

    John Garth

    August 9, 2014

  • For those unfamiliar with the argot, a “buffalo” is a “nickel” uh, five years?

    The Daily Beast logo
    Prison’s Cheap Health-Care Secret

    Mansfield Frazier

    June 23, 2011

  • In the argot of the wonks and wizards of geopolitics, Latin America has rarely been a game changer.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Why Obama's Trip Will Pay Off

    Mac Margolis

    March 21, 2011

  • Heymann had little trouble adapting to the argot of the show.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Kennedy Fantasies

    Andrew Goldman

    July 24, 2009

Historical Examples of argot

  • "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.


    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

British Dictionary definitions for argot



slang or jargon peculiar to a particular group, esp (formerly) a group of thieves
Derived Formsargotic (ɑːˈɡɒtɪk), adjective

Word Origin for argot

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

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