Technical terminology or term of art is the specialized vocabulary of any field of knowledge. Within each field, terms have one or more specific meanings that are not necessarily the same as those in common use.
An industry term is a type of technical terminology that has a particular meaning within a specific industry. The phrase implies that a word or phrase is a typical one within a particular industry or business and people within the industry or business will be familiar with and use the term.
Precise technical terms and their definitions are formally recognised, documented, and taught by educators in the field. Other terms are more colloquial, coined and used by practitioners in the field, and are similar to slang. The boundaries between formal and slang jargon, as in general English, are quite fluid. This is especially true in the rapidly developing world of computers and networking. For instance, the term firewall (in the sense of a device used to filter network traffic) was at first technical slang. As these devices became more widespread and the term became widely understood, the word was adopted as formal terminology.
Technical terminology evolves due to the need for experts in a field to communicate with precision and brevity, but often has the effect of excluding those who are unfamiliar with the particular specialized language of the group. This can cause difficulties as, for example, when a patient is unable to follow the discussions of medical practitioners, and thus cannot understand his own condition and treatment. Differences in jargon also cause difficulties where professionals in related fields use different terms for the same phenomena.
Examples of technical terminology (specific fields)
- Language of mathematics
- Computer hardware
- Corporate jargon
- International scientific vocabulary
- Economics terminology that differs from common usage
- Technical standard
- Specification (technical standard)
- Critical vocabulary
- Register (sociolinguistics)
- Three-letter acronym
- Variety (linguistics)
- Mathematical Words: Origins and Sources (John Aldrich, University of Southampton) Discusses the technical vocabulary of mathematics.