The Jargonator

It's quite common to hear people using jargon.

Jargon is described in the Collins English Dictionary as "specialised language concerned with a particular subject, culture of profession".

Sometimes jargon includes abbreviations. It can help people who work on the same issues discuss things quickly (for example, a GP is easier to refer to than a General Practitioner). Jargon can also be useful when referring to legal issues or very specific issues, for example a "secure tenant" has a specific meaning in law, it's not just a person who rents and feels safe and secure in their home.


This may not be a problem when everyone understands the terms being used, but if someone strays into another group, terminology can be mind-boggling and easily creates a barrier to understanding and participation.

When we try to cut through boundaries between professional groups; when we want to help everyone understand and share in a problem and its solution, we may need some help with "translation".

Introducing... The Jargonator

The Jargonator

The Cambridgeshire Insight Jargonator is our first step trying to help people understand the jargon being used.

It's a first step because initially, we are just providing links to various jargon busters, for readers to look up terms and or compare how the same term may be used differently by differnt partners. Eventually (with help!) we may be able to build some kind of function which cuts across the various issues and agencies... Watch this space!

The list provided here gives links to various jargon-busting websites, apps and documents. It includes web addresses and twitter account names to help you link to these networks in whatever way you find most useful!

The list is not exhustive, there are many other jargon busters "out there". We are happy to add links if people send us links other jargon busters and glossaries.

You are advised to check when each jargon-buster was created and how recently it was last updated, as jargon can change over time!


Voluntary and charity

Charities Evaluation Service

Charities Evaluation Sevices jargon buster

The Charities Evaluation Services is the UK's leading provider of support and advice on quality and evaluation systems for the voluntary sector.

Twitter: @CESonline



NAVCA provides a list of acronyms and jargon used across the voluntary and charity sector. Like the NHS confederation's acronym buster, this may not give full explainations but it does provide a great starting point when faced with a lot of initials.

"NAVCA believes voluntary and community action offers solutions to the challenges we face. Action rooted in communities brings local people together to campaign, volunteer and provide services. Uniquely, NAVCA is a national membership organisation with a grassroots view. Our membership network of over 350 local support and development charities keeps us in touch with the views of local charities and community groups from across the whole of England."

Twitter: @NAVCA

Citizens Advice Bureau advice guide 

The CAB advice guide includes a huge number of fact sheets, some focussing on explaining jargon in plain language. Links to the CAB web page are provided here, so if you follow these links you should find the most up-to-date jargon busters.

Website: CAB advice guide here  
Twitter: @CambridgeCAB
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Tenant Participation Advisory Service

TPAS guide to housing jargon for tenants.

The Tenant Participation Advisory Service promotes excellence in resident involvement & empowerment through training, advice & accreditation, representing 1900 tenant groups and 250 landlords. "We believe in tenants and landlords working together to build great communities."

Twitter: @tpasengland


Housing Care / Elderly Accommodation Service

The Elderly Accommodation Services on-line glossary of terms.



Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust

Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust jargon buster

Twitter: @theJRHT

Communities and Local Government

The government's Department of Communities and Local Goverment provides definitions of general housing terms which are very handy in helping understand terms like

  • dwelling
  • household
  • tenure
  • housing association
  • local authority
  • public and private sector
  • social and affordable housing.
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Social care

Think Local Act Personal

Think Local Act Personal socal care jargon buster

Think Local Act Personal: a partnership of more than 30 organisations committed to personalisation in health and social care. The partnership is endorsed by representatives from across the social care sector including local government, health, private, independent and community organisations.

Twitter: @TLAP1

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The Guardian glossary of healthcare jargon and acronyms

Published in 2011, this glossary of healthcare jargon and acronyms may still prove useful.

NHS local

NHS local jargon buster directory, last updated 2012 but a great guide to some of the more medical terms used.

NHS local delivers products and services that transform healthcare by changing the conversation between patients and the NHS. It uses digital tools - informative websites, interactive applications, learning products and social media – to help put patients at the centre of their care. it was originally funded and commissioned by the NHS in the West Midlands. NHS local is “transforming healthcare by changing the conversation between patient and the NHS”. The jargon buster has about 70 explanations, many to do with maternity services. The consortium is based in Birmingham and includes Maverick Television, NHS West Midlands, Warwick University, Illumina Digital and Clever Together.

Twitter: @NHSlocal


Cambridgeshire JSNA glossary

There is a useful glossary of terms used in the Cambridgeshire Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (this link takes you to a page within Cambridgeshire Insight).

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Health and social care

The National Casemix Office Jargon Buster

This on-line jargon buster is produced by the Health and Social Care Information Centre, who describe themselves as "The national provider of information, data and IT systems for health and social care". The jargon buster is pretty technical but it helps unravel some of the more intricate parts of the health and social care world. But please, do be warned!

Twitter: @hscic
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Leicestershire's IT jargon buster

The Leicestershire Health Informatics Service IT jargon buster

In the ever changing world of information technology, it can often be hard to keep up with all the terminology. This IT jargon buster lists commonly-used words and their meanings. It's in the form of a blog by a Communications and Marketing Officer in Leicestershire NHS explains about 30 Information Technology terms used in the NHS. Helpful information about the language used by another specialist group that will be of benefit to those who don’t work in IT or need an introduction to it.

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Got any more?

Got a jargon buster to contribute? Please do get in touch to become part of The Jargonator!

Credit where it is due!

Many thanks for help, advice and contributions from

  • Shirley Ayres @shirleyayres
  • Chris Bolton @whatsthepont
  • Karen Freya at East Cambridgehsire District Council for the original idea!

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