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Encyclopedia > Technobabble

Technobabble (a portmanteau of technology and babble) is a form of prose using jargon, buzzwords and highly esoteric language to give an impression of plausibility through mystification and misdirection. This is not to be confused with jargon itself, but rather technobabble is a conscious attempt to deliver jargon to outsiders, without insight or comprehensive explanation, to make unsound or unprovable arguments appear to have merit. Look up Portmanteau word in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Jargon is a type of terminology which is used in conjunction with a specific activity, e. ... A buzzword (also known as a fashion word) is an idiom, often a neologism, commonly used in technical, administrative and political environments, consisting of an over-used word or phrase. ...


Various fields of practice and industry have their own specialised vocabularies (jargon) that are intended to convey specific features in a conscise manner to those educated within that industry, which would otherwise appear confusing or nonsensical to an outside listener. Whereas the sound use of jargon quickly conveys accurate information (even if that information is not fully understood by the listener) the primary function of technobabble is to disguise a lack of true information within a flood of false information.


Authors and others who wish to convey a feeling of technical sophistication may write or talk in technobabble. They may use the jargon without considering what it actually means in order to give an impression that they know things that their readers or listeners do not. However, if the jargon is decoded it becomes apparent that the originator does not really understand what has been said or is deliberately being unclear. When used in this way, technobabble is considered pretentious and often unacceptable. If used inappropriately even novice listeners can often detect that nonsense is being spouted forth.


There are two forms of technobabble. The first form, mostly used in fiction, depends on jargon terms and story features that are specific or even exclusive to the story's universe. Stringing together a series of these elements to explain a problem or solution allows the author to easily craft a situation without having to depend on real-world laws to correlate to or confirm it. A specialised form known as Treknobabble can be found in the various Star Trek television programs and movies. Other science fiction movies and literature have their own form of technobabble. This is often done because the concepts and items being talked about are fictional but necessary for the story. This form of technobabble is amusing to some viewers and off-putting to others. Treknobabble is a portmanteau of Star Trek and technobabble (itself a portmanteau of technology and babble). It is used humorously by fans of the various Star Trek television series, and disparagingly by its critics, to describe the infamous amount of pseudoscientific gibberish inserted seemingly at random into many episodes of... Star Trek collectively refers to a science-fiction franchise spanning six unique television series, 726 episodes and ten motion pictures in addition to hundreds of novels, video games, fan stories and other works of fiction all set within the same fictional universe created by Gene Roddenberry in the mid-1960s. ... Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology, or both, upon society and persons as individuals. ...


The second form of technobabble comes from the practice of taking an otherwise simple concept and describing it in an scientifically-overworked manner to mask its inherent simplicity. One well-known example is the Dihydrogen Monoxide hoax, describing the supposedly dangerous characteristics of ordinary water by labelling the substance with an esoteric chemical name. Another example can be found in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home as Spock explains a theory that "high energy photons" from a nuclear fission reactor may allow them to repair their ship's engine. Since the "high energy photons" in a nuclear fission reaction are commonly known as gamma rays, a form of radiation assumed to be easily producible by 23rd Century starship technology, the vague description used is intended to disguise what should be an easily solved problem. Dihydrogen monoxide (DHMO) and hydrogen hydroxide (HOH) are technically accurate but rarely-used names for water. ... Water (from the Old English word wæter; c. ... Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (Paramount Pictures, 1986; see also 1986 in film) is the fourth feature film based on the popular Star Trek science fiction television series. ... The name Spock can refer to: Mr. ... This article is about electromagnetic radiation. ...


See also

A neologism is word, term, or phrase which has been recently created (coined) —often to apply to new concepts, or to reshape older terms in newer language form. ... The Sokal Affair was a famous hoax played by physicist Alan Sokal upon the editorial staff and readership of a leading journal in the academic humanities, in 1996. ... Igor and Grichka Bogdanov The Bogdanov Affair is a controversy regarding the merit of a series of theoretical physics papers written by French twin brothers Igor and Grichka Bogdanov (or Bogdanoff). ...

External links

  • TechnoBabble Generator
  • Another definition

  Results from FactBites:
 
Technobabble - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (538 words)
Technobabble (a portmanteau of technology and babble) is a form of prose using jargon, buzzwords and highly esoteric language to give an impression of plausibility through mystification and misdirection.
This is not to be confused with jargon itself, but rather technobabble is a conscious attempt to deliver jargon to outsiders, without insight or comprehensive explanation, to make unsound or unprovable arguments appear to have merit.
Various fields of practice and industry have their own specialised vocabularies (jargon) that are intended to convey specific features in a conscise manner to those educated within that industry, which would otherwise appear confusing or nonsensical to an outside listener.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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