Inside The Most Lingo-Heavy Businesses

March 24, 2023
Photo by Chase Clark on Unsplash

Typically, it takes a few months (or even years) to get acquainted with a new job. Aside from learning the ropes and getting a handle on daily responsibilities, one aspect of fitting into a new job is learning the lingo. 

From restaurants to retail to executive offices, there are specialized terms that insiders use often. Normally, this type of lingo means nothing in the outside world; for example, only financial technology professionals know what 3D secure means, while only a physical therapist would use acronyms like MHP or Min A.

The longer a person stays in a position, and the more specialized that position becomes, the more entrenched this type of language is. In many cases, it becomes a facet of identity. For example, only runners would understand what a Clydesdale means in terms of certified racing, and some may wear the badge proudly. 

Some hobbies and professions lean on specialized terms even more. In certain cases, they’ve been invented to simplify communication, while in others, they’ve evolved naturally over time. Let’s take a closer look at five of the most lingo-heavy businesses.


Since the late 1960s, poker has slowly become a worldwide gaming staple. Each year, professionals flock to Vegas for massive tournaments, while even more try their hand online. Given any player can go pro with enough dedication and skill, poker terms are some of the most varied and interesting in the world.

Some lingo is used to describe card values (‘air’), while others will convey the importance of position in terms of how players are seated around the table (‘under the gun’, ‘lojack’). Others describe types of players (‘loose-aggressive’), or strategies (‘angle’). The list literally goes on and on.


Professionals working on production sets face grueling and long days in highly specialized positions. Given the insular nature of Bollywood and Hollywood (it’s tough to get in), there are dozens of terms that cover a variety of positions.

Many of these describe equipment (‘baby legs’, ‘banana’), while others will describe the time of day or nature of a shot (‘martini shot’, ‘golden hour’). Some spell disaster (‘bogey’), while others are simplified for simplicity’s sake. For example, shouting ‘What’s your 20?’ is simply asking for an exact location. 


Most medical terms stem from Latin, which means medical professionals often have a general knowledge of the language so that they can understand common terms. This has led to a long series of abbreviations that only those in the industry will recognize. In fact, these are so specialized that they trickle down to every level; even transcriptionists will need a background in medical terminology to perform their job.

From edema and embolism to suffixes like -pathy and -plasty, there’s a lot to keep track of—and it’s sometimes a matter of life and death. For this reason, most professionals are tested extensively on their knowledge of terms, abbreviations, and prefixes/suffixes.


Sports Broadcasting

As mentioned above, the more niche and evolved a hobby or profession becomes, the more unique terms are attached to it. One of the most specialized positions in broadcasting is a color commentator, who closely follows live-action for listeners and viewers.

As such, broadcasters rely on lingo and abbreviations to describe the action accurately and quickly. Most broadcasters develop their own unique phrases over time. For example, Walt Frazier, broadcaster for the NBA Knicks team, uses the term ‘posting and toasting’ to describe hanging out close to the basket to sink points.


Some might argue that programmers have the most specialized form of lingo—one that they use to write programming with, from JavaScript to Pascal Language. Unsurprisingly, this has led to a highly nuanced list of terms that only programmers are familiar with.

For example, an ‘arg’ is short for ‘argument’, but means something very different to a programmer. The same goes for ‘bug’ and ‘boolean’, which cover unexpected errors and the creation of true or false prompts. Unlike other sectors, these terms are less likely to evolve naturally over time.

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